A Bright New Future?

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.)

Work Cited:

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.

8 thoughts on “A Bright New Future?

  1. This was a great post! I like how you described the association of socialism with science fiction and space exploration– this is definitely a narrative that the Soviet Union would have emphasized. I think it’s interesting that as the brothers continued writing, they strayed from the Soviet narrative– do you think this is applicable to any other aspects of Soviet society?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a really interesting post. The time of science in the 70s really was one of futuristic hope and the novels of the era really reflected that. But as time goes on and they become more darkly inspired, it reflects the disparity between the promised and the actualized I think. If you’re promised a bright new future and things do not turn out to be totally sunshine and roses, I think some disillusionment with the image of utopia would be bound to appear.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You’ve given us a lot to think about in this post, which discusses how speculative fiction could both affirm and question the paradigm of socialist realism. I really like the discussion of Solaris and Stalker. I hope Emma and Nick read this post.
    P.S. Do have a look at the first couple of sentences. The thoughts are great, but the prose needs a bit of help (and more careful punctuation.)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ethan Claybrook

    Cool post! I feel like sci-fi is the perfect area for Soviet writers to explore the furthest extents of a Communist utopia, showing both the good and bad of the system. I wonder if this trend was international, and if American writers were having the same questions and thoughts as the Soviet ones.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. pgiovannini

    I really enjoyed this post and how space inspired writers. Space is a mystery so its understandable how Russia wanted to make one believe there are countless adventures to be held out there.

    Like

  6. Overall, I really enjoyed the topic of this post – this is something that I really haven’t heard much about. The inspiration behind the Soviets’ writing various works around space have some mystery to it. It makes you wonder how these works influenced other nations around the world.

    Like

  7. awpeake12

    I thought your post on Soviet sci fi and the Strugatsky brothers was really informative. It is cool to see how they were remade years later into video games and movies. Also I think it makes sense that sci fi would be so popular in the Soviet Union given the heave emphasis placed on science

    Like

  8. Really interesting post. The role that Science fiction began to play at this time was really cool and its interesting to see how the Soviets began to regulate this science fiction as well. There is a general trend of the Soviet government regulating a lot of the new things that were coming out around this time period, like Rock and Roll. It’s also interesting how this spread to western culture as well in spin offs.

    Like

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