The third guest post in my series SF Short Stories by Women Writers pre-1969 (original announcement and list of earlier posts) comes via Kaggsy (you can follow her on twitter), the proprietor extraordinaire of Kaggsy’s Bookish Ramblings. A connoisseur of Russian literature (among other things) and a long-time commentator on the site, I got wind of her interest in Soviet SF reading her review of Kirill Bulychev’s collection Half a Life (1975, trans. 1977) and her acquisition posts of various Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow editions — Alexei Tolstoi’s Aelita (1923) and Destination: Amaltheia (1963), ed. Richard Dixon (image below).
Her post focuses on stories by three Soviet Women SF authors — Olga Larionova, Marietta Chudakova, and Valentina Zhuravlyova. One story is from the cutoff date of 1969.
(Valentina Zhuravlyova’s “The Astronaut” can be found in Destination: Amaltheia, ed. Richard Dixon (1963), Cover: Nikolai Grishin)
Review of “The Useless Planet” (1967) by Olga Larionova, “The Astronaut” (1960) by Valentina Zhuravlyova, and “Life Space” 1969) by Marietta Chudakova
When I was approached by Joachim with a view to writing about three favourite short stories written by women writers pre-1969, I confess I did think twice. Although I’ve dipped in and out of sci fi over the years, specifically short stories and specifically written by women isn’t a demographic that necessarily fits Continue reading
In the late 70s and early 80s a wide range of Soviet SF—from the famous Strugatsky brothers to lesser known authors—was translated and introduced to the American market. As I have decided to start collecting the Best of Soviet Science Fiction Collier Books series of paperbacks (hardbacks were published by Macmillan), my dad gave me three for my birthday. My first collecting experiment! I want to read more SF from outside of the USA and the UK… This batch is in addition to the only other one I have acquired so far: Half a Life, Kirill Bulychev (USSR 1975, USA 1977). Unfortunately, the vast majority of the series fetch hefty prices (especially those by the two Strugatsky brothers) online. And, other than The Ugly Swans (below), I have never encountered them in used book stores… and The Ugly Swans was not cheap (I have my wife to thank!).
The back cover of The Unman/Kovrigin’s Chronicles provides a blurb about the series that I thought I would reproduce: “In the Soviet Union, as in the U.S.A., the fascination with the possibilities of science and technology has led to a rich and long tradition of science fiction. Macmillan’s BEST OF SOVIET SCIENCE FICTION is now presenting the major works in lively, readable translations, allowing the American reader to explore—for the first time—the wide range of visions of space, time and man’s future in the other major SF tradition.”
As always, thoughts?
1. The Ugly Swans, Arkady and Boris Strugatsky (USSR 1972, USA 1979)
(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1979 edition) Continue reading
6.75/10 (Average — worth watching for those interested in foreign silent films)
Bed and Sofa (1927) was directed by Abram Room and remains his most well-known film. It tells the story of a ménage à trois (a very daring plot for Soviet cinema in the 1920s) between one woman (Liuda) and two men (Volodia and Kolia). Continue reading