The 1970’s, the golden years of the space age, it was only a few months ago in July of 1969 that the Americans had put two men on the moon. With these significant technological innovations and a great deal of growing imagination, the people of the U.S.S.R began to think about life among the stars and the types things we could encounter. In a sense, science fiction writing was socialist in nature, as socialism as primarily founded on the idea of creating that science applied to history would produce a utopian, atheist future. Where the nature of the bourgeois would be discovered, and everything would be grand. With these thoughts many of these young people put those dreams and aspirations of the future into writing, creating a boom in Soviet Sci-Fi books and films. Some of the most influential writers were the brothers Strugatsky their works became world-renowned, with many of their early writings like Noon: 22nd Century (1962) and The Way to Amaltheia (1962) offering bright visions of the future, that was heavily monitored by the state. However, with increasing cultural openness, much of their later works were darker and more filled with more psychological depth, that focused more on individualism, so much so that they became considered social critiques. For instance, Solaris (1972) and Stalker (1979) which would both be turned into popular films by director Andrei Tarkovskii. They both eschewed the childlike awe of science that had characterized early science fiction, with its fantastic adventures, fancy technological, and dreams of a better future, for a more dark world in which human flaws were still prevalent. (Geldern) To show just how widespread this type of writing became, the films both spawned revitalization and spin-offs. Solaris was remade in 2002 staring John Clooney, and Stalker became the basis for a series of Video games in the early 2000’s. The Strugatsky Brothers were deeply inspired by the earlier works of Stanislaw Lem. A native of Poland where the culture sensitivity wasn’t as strict, allowed him to write novels and books which “questioned scientific rationalism was an effective way to question the rational principles of socialism.” (Geldern) This in its self-became a form of dissidence. They challenged people to think about adventures of the spirit and not the body.
(This post earned a “red star” award from the editorial team.)
Yevg. Brandis and VI. Dmitrevsky. “Notes on Science Fiction: TAKEN FROM REALITY” Current Digest of the Russian Press, 27 Sep. 1978, https://dlib.eastview.com/browse/doc/13630883.
Freeze, Gregory L. “From Stalinism to Stagnation 1953-1985.” Russia a History. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009. 409-416. Print.
Von Geldern, James. “Strugatsky Brothers: Science Fiction.” Soviet History, http://soviethistory.msu.edu/1973-2/strugatsky-brothers/. Accessed 22 April 2018.