The Lunar Trilogy
Trylogia Księżycowa (The Lunar Trilogy or The Moon Trilogy) is a science-fiction series written by the Polish writer Jerzy Żuławski between 1901 and 1911. It has been translated into Russian, Czech, German and Hungarian, and has been reprinted several times in Poland.
The Lunar Trilogy comprises three volumes: Na Srebrnym Globie (On the Silver Globe; first book edition: Lwów, 1903), Zwycięzca (The Conqueror or The Victor; first book edition: Warsaw, 1910) and Stara Ziemia (The Old Earth; first book edition: Warsaw, 1911).
The first volume, written in the form of a diary, describes the story of a marooned expedition of Earth astronauts who find themselves stranded on the Moon and found a colony. After several generations, they lose most of their knowledge and are ruled by a religious cult.
The second volume focuses on their expected Messiah, another astronaut who arrives from Earth, but after initial successes fails to meet their expectations and is killed in an allegory to the death of Jesus Christ.
The third volume describes the visit of two Lunar colonists to the 27th-century Earth.
Żuławski has been likely influenced by H. G. Wells and Jules Verne. His work is seen as a major milestone in the development of science fiction and fantasy in Poland, gaining great popularity and having been well received by critics since. Atkinson has called the trilogy second most famous work of Eastern European sci-fi after the works of Stanisław Lem. Jasińska-Wojtkowska and Dybciak note that it was the first well developed Polish work of science-fiction, and would not be surpassed till the works of Lem few decades later.
It has been described as Żuławski's take on the philosophy of history and interpreted as a critique of a socialist, egalitarian utopia. Żuławski's story shows the unpredictability of human nature as victorious over the concepts of utilitarianism and social regulation. He is critical of religion, arguing that they are a social construct that can have destructive influence on humanity. He is also concerned with the political uses of scientific knowledge, and is critical of the pursuit of "pure science", and is also critical of the notion of technological progress, which Żuławski sees as leading to greater conflict and inequality. Instead, Żuławski argues, the humanity should focus on the moral progress. The work has been described as "poetic and tragic", combining "scientific fantasy with skeptical reflection", and an anti-utopian vision of humanity's future. It has been classified as a social utopia-type science fiction or simply a dystopia.
Director Andrzej Żuławski, who is Jerzy Żuławski's great-nephew, attempted to adapt On the Silver Globe into a film in the late 1970s. After about three-quarters of the movie had been completed, however, Poland's Ministry of Culture became disturbed by the footage that had been shot thus far, and shut down the production, ordering that the unedited film and all related materials be destroyed. They were preserved in spite of this directive, and when the Communist government's power began to decline in the late 1980s, Żuławski was convinced to edit the existing footage into movie form. He did shoot some new footage, but only for the purpose of bridging the scenes that had been filmed previously, and he did not intend that the film be shown commercially. On the Silver Globe premiered at the 1988 Cannes Film Festival.
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- (Polish) Ebooks of the trilogy (public domain)
- Elżbieta Banulska, Jerzy Żuławski’s "Trylogia Księżycowa" and Andrzej Żuławski's "Na srebrnym globie" - different arts, different views, common message (master thesis)
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- (Polish) Book entries in the Encyklopedia Fantastyki, including cover galleries: , ,