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Red Star Tales: A Century of Russian and Soviet Science Fiction

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For over a century, most of the science fiction produced by the world’s largest country has been beyond the reach of Western readers. This new collection aims to change that, bringing a large body of influential works into the English orbit. A scientist keeps a severed head alive, and the head lives to tell the tale… An explorer experiences life on the moon, in a story wri For over a century, most of the science fiction produced by the world’s largest country has been beyond the reach of Western readers. This new collection aims to change that, bringing a large body of influential works into the English orbit. A scientist keeps a severed head alive, and the head lives to tell the tale… An explorer experiences life on the moon, in a story written six decades before the first moon landing... Electrical appliances respond to human anxieties and threaten to crash the electrical grid… Archaeologists discover strange powers emanating from a Central Asian excavation site… A teleporting experiment goes awry, leaving a subject to cope with a bizarre sensory swap… A boy discovers the explosive truth of his father’s “antiseptic” work, stamping out dissent on distant worlds… The last 100 years in Russia have seen an astonishing diversity and depth of literary works in the science fiction genre, by authors with a dizzying array of styles and subject matter. This new volume brings together 18 such works, translated into English for the first time, spanning from path-breaking, pre-revolutionary works of the 1890s, through the difficult Stalinist era, to post-Soviet stories published in the 1980s and 1990s.


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For over a century, most of the science fiction produced by the world’s largest country has been beyond the reach of Western readers. This new collection aims to change that, bringing a large body of influential works into the English orbit. A scientist keeps a severed head alive, and the head lives to tell the tale… An explorer experiences life on the moon, in a story wri For over a century, most of the science fiction produced by the world’s largest country has been beyond the reach of Western readers. This new collection aims to change that, bringing a large body of influential works into the English orbit. A scientist keeps a severed head alive, and the head lives to tell the tale… An explorer experiences life on the moon, in a story written six decades before the first moon landing... Electrical appliances respond to human anxieties and threaten to crash the electrical grid… Archaeologists discover strange powers emanating from a Central Asian excavation site… A teleporting experiment goes awry, leaving a subject to cope with a bizarre sensory swap… A boy discovers the explosive truth of his father’s “antiseptic” work, stamping out dissent on distant worlds… The last 100 years in Russia have seen an astonishing diversity and depth of literary works in the science fiction genre, by authors with a dizzying array of styles and subject matter. This new volume brings together 18 such works, translated into English for the first time, spanning from path-breaking, pre-revolutionary works of the 1890s, through the difficult Stalinist era, to post-Soviet stories published in the 1980s and 1990s.

30 review for Red Star Tales: A Century of Russian and Soviet Science Fiction

  1. 4 out of 5

    Goodbye

    An essential read for anyone who is into either science fiction or Russian literature, or both. So much Russian literature is unavailable for those who do not speak the language, so this is a nice anthology that gives its reader a glimpse into what they're missing. It's not perfect, though: there are quite a few typos, and I would have preferred more complete short stories than the few excerpts that are included in this collection; I'm guessing that those excerpts were deemed important enough or An essential read for anyone who is into either science fiction or Russian literature, or both. So much Russian literature is unavailable for those who do not speak the language, so this is a nice anthology that gives its reader a glimpse into what they're missing. It's not perfect, though: there are quite a few typos, and I would have preferred more complete short stories than the few excerpts that are included in this collection; I'm guessing that those excerpts were deemed important enough or significant in the sense that they give the reader an understanding of Russian/Soviet science fiction at that particular period in time, which makes sense seeing as over the last century so much has happened in Russia. Still, the majority of the complete short stories here are worth reading and might just prove that, overall, no one does science fiction quite like a Russian writer.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kay Smillie

    A mixture of interesting and tedious. Was tempted to give a score of two points but the introduction to me (apart from the Strugatsky brothers) of new sci-fi authors was worthy of the extra point. Worth obtaining, even if only to check out sci-fi from Russia. Ray Smillie

  3. 5 out of 5

    Paul Morisset

    Ratings: 'Jubilee-200' by Kir Bulychev - 4 stars. 'Spontaneous Reflex' by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky - 3 stars. 'On the Moon' by Konstantin Tsiolkovsky - 3 stars. 'Professor Dowell's Head' by Alexander Belyaev - 3 stars. Ratings: 'Jubilee-200' by Kir Bulychev - 4 stars. 'Spontaneous Reflex' by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky - 3 stars. 'On the Moon' by Konstantin Tsiolkovsky - 3 stars. 'Professor Dowell's Head' by Alexander Belyaev - 3 stars.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Darren

    An odd book this. Some of the tales were potentially very interesting, but ended abruptly. Or were they just exceprts?

  5. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Cordasco

  6. 5 out of 5

    Taylor Genovese

  7. 5 out of 5

    Slavko Orsolic

  8. 5 out of 5

    Alan Kilpatrick

  9. 5 out of 5

    Will Cullen

  10. 5 out of 5

    Spenser A.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Madelyn

  12. 4 out of 5

    Laura Freed

  13. 5 out of 5

    JS

  14. 4 out of 5

    Anupama Mishra

  15. 5 out of 5

    Gordon Wells

  16. 5 out of 5

    Maria

  17. 4 out of 5

    Paul Richardson

  18. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Tunbridge

  19. 5 out of 5

    Phedias Christodoulides

  20. 4 out of 5

    Reb

  21. 5 out of 5

    Duane Bindschadler

  22. 5 out of 5

    Noah

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mark

  24. 5 out of 5

    Alex French

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ailish

  26. 4 out of 5

    Teun van Kasteel

  27. 4 out of 5

    Dan

  28. 4 out of 5

    Holly

  29. 5 out of 5

    Louis-Jean Levasseur

  30. 5 out of 5

    Heather Hodge

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