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Science Fiction a la Russe: Hoity-Toity by Alexander Belayev...Spontaneous Reflex by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky. A Visitor from Outer Space by Alexander Kazantsev. The Martian by Alexander Kazantsev. Infra Draconis by Georgy Gurevich Professor. Bern's Awakening by Vladimir Savchenko. Soviet Science Fiction offers a rare opportunity to read first-rate science fiction from Science Fiction a la Russe: Hoity-Toity by Alexander Belayev...Spontaneous Reflex by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky. A Visitor from Outer Space by Alexander Kazantsev. The Martian by Alexander Kazantsev. Infra Draconis by Georgy Gurevich Professor. Bern's Awakening by Vladimir Savchenko. Soviet Science Fiction offers a rare opportunity to read first-rate science fiction from a country that until only recently condemned most writings of this genre. Although the scope of these inventive and suspenseful stories is universal, the flavor is distinctly Russian. The unpredictable protagonists range from a temperamental professor who deep-freezes himself and comes back to life 18,000 years later, to a moody Martian who wants to go home to Mars, to a dancing, vodka-drinking, human-brained elephant named Hoity-Toity. The stories they set in motion, in the finest tradition of good science fiction, make the fantastic seem astonishingly possible and the possible utterly fantastic. And they offer a unique glimpse of the Russian view of life in the future - a life not far off, but very far out.


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Science Fiction a la Russe: Hoity-Toity by Alexander Belayev...Spontaneous Reflex by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky. A Visitor from Outer Space by Alexander Kazantsev. The Martian by Alexander Kazantsev. Infra Draconis by Georgy Gurevich Professor. Bern's Awakening by Vladimir Savchenko. Soviet Science Fiction offers a rare opportunity to read first-rate science fiction from Science Fiction a la Russe: Hoity-Toity by Alexander Belayev...Spontaneous Reflex by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky. A Visitor from Outer Space by Alexander Kazantsev. The Martian by Alexander Kazantsev. Infra Draconis by Georgy Gurevich Professor. Bern's Awakening by Vladimir Savchenko. Soviet Science Fiction offers a rare opportunity to read first-rate science fiction from a country that until only recently condemned most writings of this genre. Although the scope of these inventive and suspenseful stories is universal, the flavor is distinctly Russian. The unpredictable protagonists range from a temperamental professor who deep-freezes himself and comes back to life 18,000 years later, to a moody Martian who wants to go home to Mars, to a dancing, vodka-drinking, human-brained elephant named Hoity-Toity. The stories they set in motion, in the finest tradition of good science fiction, make the fantastic seem astonishingly possible and the possible utterly fantastic. And they offer a unique glimpse of the Russian view of life in the future - a life not far off, but very far out.

30 review for Soviet Science Fiction (Collier books)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Michaela

    These were really fun! I think my favorite was Infra Draconis and then Professor Bern’s Awakening. That was a good one to end the collection on as well

  2. 5 out of 5

    Michael Burnam-Fink

    I picked this up at a used bookstore based on the cover alone, and for the chance of a glimpse into the Soviet mindset. From a literary perspective, there's not much to recommend these stories. They're fairly standard Golden Age scifi, with all the clumsiness that that entails, plus the added awkwardness of being a work in translation. Sadly, of the six stories only two are of any interest; a pair of linked stories theorizing that the Tunguska explosion was a spacecraft from Mars. The theory tha I picked this up at a used bookstore based on the cover alone, and for the chance of a glimpse into the Soviet mindset. From a literary perspective, there's not much to recommend these stories. They're fairly standard Golden Age scifi, with all the clumsiness that that entails, plus the added awkwardness of being a work in translation. Sadly, of the six stories only two are of any interest; a pair of linked stories theorizing that the Tunguska explosion was a spacecraft from Mars. The theory that the Martians must be advanced Socialists come to peacefully trade for Greenland's icecap is a rather nice antidote to the standard alien invasion story, but aside from the names, there's little that's particularly "Soviet" about these stories. The only recognizable name in collection are the Strugatsky brothers, and they're wasted with a bog standard 'robot gains self-awareness/goes berserk' golem fable. On the other hand, as a historical artifact this collection is quite neat. Released in 1962, at the height of the Cold War, and with a decent introduction by Isaac Asimov, it serves a reminder of an attempt to build international bridges at a time of immense paranoia.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Miramira Endevall

    I really, really enjoyed 5/6 of these stories, they were utterly delightful. I also particularly enjoyed Asimov's thoughtful introduction. I confess it was strange to see a character remark, "The world has enough Hitlers, Trumans and Roosevelts; we need no more tyrants." It was also strange to read just how much farther advanced the Soviet writers believed American technology to be.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Aathavan

    The story that made the book worthwhile for me is 'Professor Bern's awakening'. It is an unsophisticated yet thrilling look at a professor who freezes himself to survive past the nuclear winter and the next ice age - insights at many levels.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Denise

    This collection of short stories is an interesting artifact of another time. Written in the 50s and 60s, these stories were written in a society somewhat isolated from the rest of the world. When other countries were contentedly reading American science fiction, writers in the USSR were independently developing their own science fiction as they were making great strides in actual applied science. The result was science fiction that, though similar in some ways, had distinct differences in style This collection of short stories is an interesting artifact of another time. Written in the 50s and 60s, these stories were written in a society somewhat isolated from the rest of the world. When other countries were contentedly reading American science fiction, writers in the USSR were independently developing their own science fiction as they were making great strides in actual applied science. The result was science fiction that, though similar in some ways, had distinct differences in style and content from American works in the same genre. One notable characteristic is that all six of these stories included long passages of characters explaining and discussing the scientific basis and theories that feed the plot and drive the story. It is worth noting that fantastic plots and storylines that often manifest in American literature are absent here. The science, though somewhat dated at this point, was plausible at the time these stories were written. Even the story of a brain transplant into an elephant's body may seem fantastic on the surface, the science explained is sound biology and human physiology. Occasionally, the social and ideological perspective of Soviet culture is displayed, however such political antagonism and subtle proaganda only presents itself in two of the stories, and then only briefly and in passing. No worse than a Captain America comic. The short introduction by Asimov is well worth the read. The stories kept my interest, for the most part. They were well written and clever, with unexpected humor and cleverness, and did not suffer too much in translation. It was an interesting read that left me wishing more collaboration was possible between the US and Russia, in both the sciences and literature. What a shame ruthless dictators, much like the current president of Russia, made (and continue to make) this impossible.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Danny

    Interesting selection of science fiction from the Soviet Union!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Erik Graff

    While visiting the family in Norway in 1962, aged ten, I had a lot of time on my hands. We were constantly visiting relatives and friends of Mother. There were lots of parties. The grownups drank and smoked every night, chatting among themselves--in Norwegian. Although I'd grown up in a bilingual household, Mother being from Oslo and Father knowing the language from his studies there after the war, and had gone to Norwegian pre-school, first grade in the States had caused me to forsake further us While visiting the family in Norway in 1962, aged ten, I had a lot of time on my hands. We were constantly visiting relatives and friends of Mother. There were lots of parties. The grownups drank and smoked every night, chatting among themselves--in Norwegian. Although I'd grown up in a bilingual household, Mother being from Oslo and Father knowing the language from his studies there after the war, and had gone to Norwegian pre-school, first grade in the States had caused me to forsake further use of the language. The problem was the accent, my inability to pronounce the "th" or the hard "j", the administration's decision that this was a speech impediment and their placement of me in a special class for the disabled. That only lasted until they met Mom, but it was humiliating. By age ten, the refusal to speak or respond to Norwegian had led to my loss of all fluency. Thus, during the summer of sixty-two, in such diverse places as aboard the HMS Milora with its foreign crew, in Montreal, in Germany, Denmark, Iceland and Norway I was the typical, monolingual American. In all the various circumstances where I was the only kid, I had to find something to do. Often, that was reading, most persons not having televisions, and reading what was available, which wasn't all that much. At the time my interests were science, technology, science fiction and, furtively, sex. The space race being in full swing, there was a lot of material available about the Soviet Vostok program and I saw one of their launches on a family friend's television while there. Meanwhile, while scanning the shortwave frequencies for English language programming, I was also exposed to the jamming of U.S. propaganda. Russia wasn't far, sharing a border with Norway to the north. Thus, the finding of Soviet Science Fiction was a happy event. I certainly knew Asimov, having read a bunch of his stuff, and I was beginning to get interested in the Soviets who were amassing space firsts, one after the other. Unfortunately, I found the short stories contained in this collection to be boring, focussing as they did on near-future technologies with very little interesting in terms of plot or characterization. A typical story would be about the breakdown of some vital equipment and an engineer-cosmonaut's desperately clever efforts to effect repair. With only a few exceptions, such as Stanislaw Lem, I avoided most Eastern European science fiction afterwards.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Keith Bell

    Don't know why this is listed with Violet L. Dutt as author, she has nothing to do with the book. Read this many years ago. I have the original 1962 edition, not the cover shown here.

  9. 4 out of 5

    John

    A nice selection if a little dry

  10. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Zissou

    Interesting but largely uncaptivating for the most part. Worth it though for the final story: Professor Bern's Awakening.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Gary A

  12. 4 out of 5

    Антон Пономаренко

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kat

  14. 5 out of 5

    Heather

  15. 4 out of 5

    Joseph

  16. 5 out of 5

    BOB RUST

  17. 5 out of 5

    TrumanCoyote

  18. 4 out of 5

    Neil Fein

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kostiantyn

  20. 4 out of 5

    Yulia Bekulova

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tim

  22. 5 out of 5

    Tim

  23. 4 out of 5

    Amber

  24. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Zulauf

  25. 5 out of 5

    Pat

  26. 5 out of 5

    Chris

  27. 5 out of 5

    Y.X. Acs

  28. 5 out of 5

    Steve Fernie

  29. 4 out of 5

    jennet wheatstonelllsl Proc

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jaclyn

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