Most of us are familiar with the Strugatsky Brothers and one or two other Russian writers—but most of the science fiction produced in Russia during the 20th century remains a mystery. That’s about to change.
Cornell University Professor Anindita Banerjee and University of Richmond Professor Yvonne Howell are putting out a whole book of Russian SF called Red Star Tales: A Century of Russian and Soviet Science Fiction. They had a successful Kickstarter campaign this fall, which raised more than the stretch goal, and the book is out soon. And you can still get a copy!
Here’s the video from the Kickstarter campaign:
Talking to the Cornell Chronicle, Banerjee explains why these stories are so great and worth reading:
“What I find particularly compelling about Russian SF – and it’s true of all non-Western traditions of SF – is this dynamic where it is hyper aware of science and technology’s role in global modernity, but then it remakes that relationship and produces its own specific models,” says Banerjee.
In Russia, science fiction writers were public intellectuals with considerable influence, according to Banerjee. “Their parallel role was as thinkers of contemporaneity, showing people how to read the present and future and how to imagine the U.S., Russia and the rest of the world – and they were prominent as voices of conscience.”