The Lunar Trilogy

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1903 cover of the first volume, On the Silver Globe

Trylogia Księżycowa (The Lunar Trilogy[1] or The Moon Trilogy[2]) is a trilogy of science fiction novels by the Polish writer Jerzy Żuławski, written between 1901 and 1911.[3][4] It has been translated into Russian, Czech, German and Hungarian, and has been reprinted several times in Poland.[4] They are his best-known works.[5]


The first volume, Na Srebrnym Globie (On the Silver Globe; first book edition: Lwów, 1903) describes, in the form of a diary, 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, Zwycięzca (The Conqueror or The Victor; first book edition: Warsaw, 1910), focuses upon the colonists' anticipated Messiah, another traveler from Earth. After initial success, he fails to meet their expectations and is killed in an allegory to the death of Jesus Christ.[4] The third volume, Stara Ziemia (The Old Earth; first book edition: Warsaw, 1911).[6] describes the visit of two Lunar colonists to 27th-century Earth.[4]


Żuławski has been likely influenced by H. G. Wells and Jules Verne.[1][4] 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.[4][7] Atkinson has called the trilogy second most famous work of Eastern European sci-fi after the works of Stanisław Lem.[2] 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.[8]

It has been described as Żuławski's take on the philosophy of history[9] and interpreted as a critique of a socialist, egalitarian utopia.[10] Żuławski's story shows the unpredictability of human nature as victorious over the concepts of utilitarianism and social regulation.[10] He is critical of religion, arguing that they are a social construct that can have destructive influence on humanity.[10] 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.[10] Instead, Żuławski argues, the humanity should focus on the moral progress.[4] The work has been described as "poetic and tragic", combining "scientific fantasy with skeptical reflection", and an anti-utopian vision of humanity's future.[11] It has been classified as a social utopia-type science fiction[12] or simply a dystopia.[13]


Director Andrzej Żuławski, who is Jerzy Żuławski's great-nephew, attempted to adapt the trilogy into a film in the late 1970s. After about three-quarters of the movie had been completed, 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 foley in order to provide a bridge between the scenes that had been filmed previously. He did not intend that the film be shown commercially. On the Silver Globe premiered at the 1988 Cannes Film Festival.[2][14] Despite its title, the film adapts the whole trilogy.


  1. ^ a b Andrew Milner (2012). Locating Science Fiction. Liverpool University Press. p. 167. ISBN 978-1-84631-842-9. Retrieved May 6, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c Michael Atkinson (2008). Exile cinema: filmmakers at work beyond Hollywood. SUNY Press. pp. 82–83. ISBN 978-0-7914-7861-5. Retrieved May 10, 2013. 
  3. ^ Łukasz Ronduda; Barbara Piwowarska (2008). Polish New Wave: the history of a phenomenon that never existed. Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle. p. 75. Retrieved May 10, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Artur Hutnikiewicz; Andrzej Lam (2000). Literatura polska 20. wieku. Wydawn. Nauk. PWN. p. 447. ISBN 978-83-01-13028-2. Retrieved May 10, 2013. , see also mirror
  5. ^ Polish Perspectives. 1969. p. 31. Retrieved May 10, 2013. 
  6. ^ Donald Sassoon (2006). Culture of the Europeans: From 1800 to the Present. HarperPress. p. 686. ISBN 978-0-00-255879-2. Retrieved May 10, 2013. 
  7. ^ Marek Adamiec (August 9, 1915). "Jerzy Żuławski". Retrieved 2013-05-10. 
  8. ^ Maria Jasińska-Wojtkowska; Krzysztof Dybciak (1993). Proza polska w kręgu religijnych inspiracji. TN KUL. p. 274. ISBN 978-83-85291-48-0. Retrieved May 10, 2013. 
  9. ^ Rocznik. Zakład Narodowy im. Ossolińskich. 1988. p. 83. Retrieved May 10, 2013. 
  10. ^ a b c d Andrzej Niewiadowski (1992). Literatura fantastycznonaukowa. Wydawn. Naukowe PWN. pp. 43–44. Retrieved May 10, 2013. 
  11. ^ HALINA LERSKI (January 30, 1996). Historical Dictionary of Poland, 966-1945. ABC-CLIO. p. 696. ISBN 978-0-313-03456-5. Retrieved May 10, 2013. 
  12. ^ University of Melbourne. School of Languages (1997). Literature in times of crisis: conference. University of Melbourne. p. 33. Retrieved May 10, 2013. 
  13. ^ Uniwersytet Jagielloński (1986). Prace historycznoliterackie. p. 70. Retrieved May 10, 2013. 
  14. ^ "NA SREBRNYM GLOBIE". Festival de Cannes. Retrieved May 14, 2013. 

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