Dmitry Glukhovsky, METRO 2033

Information and Questions for Reading

Dmitry Glukhovsky (born in Moscow in 1979) is a journalist, radio announcer, TV announcer - and writer. He has studied and worked abroad for extended periods (including time in Israel, France and Germany) and speaks five languages. He published the novel Twilight (Сумерки) in 2007, and Metro 2034 (Метро 2034, already available in French and German translations) in 2009 - the latter not a continuation of Metro 2033, but a parallel story with different characters. Still more recent works include the collection Stories of My Homeland (Рассказы о родине, 2010), The Gospel According to Artyom (Евангелие от Артема , 2011), and The Future (Будущее, 2013).

Metro 2033 (Метро 2033) was first published in 2005, with a second edition from another publisher coming out in 2007. The post-apocalyptic novel won the "Best Debut" prize from Eurocon in 2007. Out cover calls the book an "underground cult best-seller," but its best-sellerness was not all that underground: according to Wikipedia.ru, the first printing (of 100,000 copies!) sold out in less than 3 months, and was followed by a second printing of 100,000 copies, and a third printing of 50,000. (Okay, maybe "underground" is meant to be a pun.) As you know, the novel is the basis of a video game which has its own Wikipedia page. Despite the book's commercial success, critics received it coolly; one commented that the book was neither good nor bad and was unimpressed by its attempts to engage in philosophical discussion. In 2009 he began to host a popular science show on internet radio, "Fantastic Breakfast" ("fantastic" in the sense of "nauchnaya fantastika," remember). 

Questions for Reading:

  1. What associations does the word "metro" bring up for you?
  2. How is a metro different from a subway (if at all)? If you have any experiene of underground public transit, how does it differ from what this book suggests about the Moscow metro? (Post-apocalyptic scenario aside.)
  3. How old will Glukhovsky be in 2033?
  4. Even if you don't play video games, or haven't played this one, what elements of the story as it opens would seem to make it adaptable to a video game?
  5. What elements of Russian culture are conveyed in the book?
  6. Pay attention to gender and racial as well as political alignments. How does bringing political parties into the post-apocalyptic scenario as Glukhovsky does allow potential commentary on the current situation (if not another example of "Aesopian" commentary on matters too close to home to be discussed openly)?
  7. What is the effect of so many characters being known by nicknames rather than by name?
  8. What do the inhabitants of this world value?