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Other Resources

Some of there are available in Tripod

"unearthly stranger"

Other Resources for Reading:

Some criticism and pre-texts will be on Blackboard. Not all of these additional sources are in Tripod, but they could all be helpful for this course. Check the Reference section (under PG especially) for info on authors you don't know well.

Anindita Banerjee, We Modern People: Science Fiction and the Making of Russian Modernity (2013) – looks at how SF functioned as a laboratory for social and political discussion in late pre-Revolutionary and early Soviet Russia. NB: The author will be visiting our class in February!

Edith W. Clowes, Russian Experimental Fiction: Resisting Ideology After Utopia (1993) – mostly concerned with utopian and meta-utopian works, but looks at several works of science fiction (and, Darko Suvin would say, SF and utopias are the same family). 

Thomas M. Disch, The Dreams Our Stuff Is Made of: How Science Fiction Conquered the World (1998) - about movies and television as well as books.

Loren R. Graham, The Ghost of the Executed Engineer: Technology and the Fall of the Soviet Union (1993) - a biography of Pëtr Palchinsky, executed in 1929 as alleged head "wrecker" of the "Industrial Party."

John Griffiths, Three Tomorrows: American, British and Soviet Science Fiction (1980) - helpful plot summaries, interesting juxtapositions of authors, some opinionated commentary. Despite its publication date, most of the book was written in the late 1960s.

Yvonne Howell, Apocalyptic Realism: The Science Fiction of Arkady and Boris Strugatsky (1994) - places the two authors in a broader Russian literary and cultural context.

Frederic Jameson, Archaeologies of the Future: The Desire Called Utopia and Other Science Fictions (2005/2007) - Jameson is a hotshot Marxist literary theorist. The book touches lightly on some EE stuff - mentions Lem, Čapek, Zamyatin, and the book is dedicated to Darko (Suvin), among others.

Stanisław Lem, Microworlds (1984) - essays and criticism by the great, cranky Polish author.

Carl D. Malmgren, Worlds Apart: Narratology of Science Fiction (1991) - This (barely) post-Soviet study includes consideration of some works by Zamyatin and Lem.

Rosalind J. Marsh, Soviet Fiction Since Stalin: Science, Politics and Literature (1986) - about science and fiction as well as (a bit of) science fiction.

Patrick Parrinder, ed., Learning from Other Worlds: Estrangement, Cognition, and the Politics of Science Fiction and Utopia (2001) - a collection of articles and other materials, with various contents as usual with an anthology.

Steven M. Sanders, The Philosophy of Science Fiction Film (2008) - only about Western films, but a selection of interesting chapters.

Matthias Schwartz, Die Erfindung des Kosmos. Zur sowjetischen Science Fiction und populärwissenschaftlichen Publizistik vom Sputnikflug bis zum Ende der Tauwetterzeit.(Berliner Slawistische Arbeiten, Bd. 22), Berlin 2013. Surely great if you can read German!

David Seed, American Science Fiction and the Cold War: Literature and Film (1999) - interesting analysis and list of works, perhaps useful for formulating a second (longer) paper topic. (And he clarifies why Philip K. Dick was paranoid about Lem.)

Richard Stites. Revolutionary Dreams: Utopian Vision and Experimental Life in the Russian Revolution (1989) - an overview of various projects and ideas, including some science-fictional ones.

Darko Suvin, Metamorphoses of Science Fiction (1979) - Suvin has an Eastern European background himself (he was born in Croatia, in former Yugoslavia), and the book is an erudite, ground-breaking classic of science fiction scholarship. The book treats SF in general, but has chapters on Russian SF and Čapek in particular.

J. P. Telotte, A Distant Technology: Science Fiction Film and the Machine Age (1999) - has chapters on Soviet science fiction film, as well as French, German, American, and British.

Let me know if you find sources I should add!

Movies to consider as you consider your papers and other work:

Yakov Protazanov, Aèlita, Queen of Mars (1924)
Andrei Tarkovsky, Solaris (1972; based on Lem's book)
Steven Soderburgh's more recent version of Solaris (2002)
Andrei Tarkovsky, Stalker (1980, based on the Strugatskys' Roadside Picnic)
Vzlyot ("The Take-Off"), 1979, with Soviet poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko playing Konstantin Tsiolkovsky (see

Some of our authors have inspired multiple TV and film treatments:

IMDB site for Mikhail Bulgakov:
IMDB site for Kir "Bulychyov":
IMDB site for Karel Čapek:
IMDB site for Jozef Nesvadba:
IMDB for Arkady Strugatsky:
IMDB for Boris Strugatsky:
IMDB for "Yevgeni Zamyatin":

For background on Russian and EE Literature:

Neil Cornwell, ed., Reference Guide to Russian Literature (PG2940 .R44 1998, in McCabe Reference)
Victor Terras, ed., Handbook of Russian Literature (PG2940 .H29 1985 in McCabe Reference)
Harold B. Segel, ed., The Columbia Guide to the literatures of Eastern Europe since 1945 (PN849.E9 S44 2003 in McCabe Reference)
Robert B. Pynsent, ed., Reader's Encyclopedia of Eastern European Literature ( PN849.E9 R38 1993 in McCabe Reference)
I've included the call numbers in part because there are other useful reference sources beside these on the shelves; PG is the Library of Congress code for Slavic literatures.

Other Swat professors interested in SF:

Nathalie Anderson (English Literature and Creative Writing) is an avid reader of science fiction and teaches creative writing (poetry).

Timothy Burke (History), among other things, co-wrote the book Saturday Morning Fever: Growing Up With Cartoon Culture and has taught a course on History of the Future with lots of great SF readings.
Gregory Frost (English Literature and Creative Writing) writes science fiction and teaches creative writing (prose).
William Gardner (Japanese Language and Literature) works on modernism, cinema and anime. He translates from Japanese into English, including some science fiction (Tsutsui Yasutaka).
Bob Rehak (Film and Media Studies) is a specialist in animated cinema, including science fiction.
Sunka Simon (German Studies; Film and Media Studies; Gender and Sexuality Studies) works on popular culture and has taught a class on Cyborgs.

Jamie Thomas (Linguistics) works on all kinds of issues of language and discourse.
Craig Williamson (English Literature) has taught science fiction as well as a course on Beowulf and Tolkein.

Other Swat professors who teach about Russia and East Europe:

David Harrison in Linguistics

Brian Johnson in Russian

Allen Kuharski in Theater (especially re Polish)

Barbara Milewski in Music

Maya Nadkarni in Anthropology

Robert Weinberg in History

Tsvetelina Yordanova in Russian


Viktor Pelevin, Omon Ra

Omon Ra


Viktor Pelevin, Omon Ra

Viktor Pelevin (or Victor, in his English translations) was born in 1962, so grew up during the period of Stagnation. He attended aviation college in Moscow but has been a full-time writer since 1991. He is the first post-modern writer on our syllabus, and you'll see difference, though Omon Ra presents its questions about reality in a pretty realistic style. In her article about Pelevin in Neil Cornwell, ed., Reference Guide to Russian Literature (1998), Sally Dalton-Brown notes that his work is "characterized by fragmentation, conscious artificiality (i.e. the construction of 'hyperrealities'), and game-playing." Interesting to note that one of his stories is entitled "The Ninth Dream of Vera Pavlovna" - referring back to Chernyshevsky. Omon Ra was written in 1992, making it one of his earlier works; before 1991 he was better known as a writer of short stories. He often chooses to write science fiction, and you'll see the references to earlier (Soviet) SF in this book; he also moves into adjacent genres (fantasy, etc). He has written 14 novels or novellas, plus lots of essays. One short novel has the title "Prince StatePlan" (Принц Госплан), so this is not the only place where a character is named for a piece of Soviet realia - a name that no one would ever give a child.


Stanisław Lem, The Cyberiad

Stanisław Lem, The Cyberiad: Fables for the Cybernetic Age

Lem's Cyberiada (1967) was beautifully, amusingly, brilliantly translated by Michael Kandel (whose PhD in Slavics is put to the best possible use in his inventive and impressive work on Lem, and I hope he can wallow in the royalties - though I don't mean to dis the other translators), and it has been in print ever since it appeared in 1974. Note also the wonderful original illustrations by Daniel Mróz (some still labeled in Polish).


Zoran Živković, Time Gifts

Time Gifts

Zoran Živković, Time Gifts

Zoran Živković (born 1948) is one of the best-known SF authors in the West from former Yugoslavia, thanks largely to very good translations of his work into English. (Alica Copple-Tošić, who translated Time Gifts, is not just a native speaker of English with a good style, but a sensitive reader of the original. I have the book in Serbian - with some melting Dalí clocks on the cover! - so let me know if you have questions about the original of any passages.) Some of Ž's works refer to well-known figures from Western culture (such as a plot line about Sherlock Holmes in his The Fourth Circle). His other books are listed on the back of our edition, so check there first if you would like to know and read more. He has a career as a publisher as well. Note: the first syllable of his last name suggests the adjective živ ('live' or 'lively') or the noun život ('life').


Karel Čapek, War with the Newts

War with the Newts

Karel Čapek (1890-1938) - Information and questions for reading War with the Newts

An introduction by Ivan Klíma mentions Faust, I quote (p. xii): "A man who feels equal to the creator labors under the delusion that he can and should make the world confirm to his own idea." 


Vladimir Nabokov, Invitation to a Beheading

Invitation to a Beheading

Vladimir Nabokov, Invitation to a Beheading

Invitation to a Beheading (Приглашение на казнь) was drafted in 1934 and completed in 1935-6, after Nabokov had already written several novels in Russian. It is more political than his earlier work had been, and its speculative elements remained a departure for him. Scholars consider it a response at once to the Stalinization of the Soviet Union and the rise of the Nazis in Germany (you can imagine how Nabokov scorned them!). He was researching the life of our friend Nikolai Chernyshevsky for what became his finest novel in Russian, The Gift (Дар), and you should recognize traces of Vera Pavlovna's fourth dream in many of its angles. 


Mikhail Bulgakov, "The Fatal Eggs"



Mikhail Bulgakov, "The Fatal Eggs"

Mikhail Afanas'evich Bulgakov (1891-1940) was born in Kiev. He trained and practiced as a doctor, but in 1920 he decided to quit and become a writer. He is best known for his plays ("Days of the Turbins," "Zoyka's Apartment," "The Crimson Island," "Molière," and others) and his novel The Master and Margarita (left not quite finished when he died), but he wrote some shorter fiction as well. "The Fatal Eggs," written in 1924, was published in the collection Diavoliada ('The Diaboliad') in Moscow in 1925 and fairly enthusiastically received. Bulgakov was skeptical of the Bolshevik revolution, and as a result he experienced all kinds of unpleasant censorship - indeed, by 1927 (a year before most of the action in "Fatal Eggs" takes place!) Bulgakov's prose was banned, and he never published any more prose in his lifetime. His success as a dramatic author lasted a bit longer, but Stalin did not let him emigrate when he asked to in 1930. Bulgakov's third wife preserved his archive after his death from nephrosclerosis, and when The Master and Margarita was finally published in the 1960s - in a censored edition! - it was a big surprise for readers everywhere.



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