Soviet Science Fiction - Late 19th - Early 20th Century

Early 20th Century

The second half of the century, particularly the 1860-80s are defined by a growing interest in realism. However, literary fantasies with a scientific rationale by Nikolai Akhsharumov and Nikolai Vagner stand out during this period, as well as Ivan Turgenev's "mysterious tales" and Vera Zhelikhovsky's occult fiction.

Mikhail Mikhailov's story "Beyond History" (published posthumously in 1869), a pre-Darwinian fantasy on the descent of man, is an early example of prehistoric fiction. Later fictional accounts of prehistoric men were often written by anthropologists and popular science writers ("Prehistoric Man", 1890, by Wilhelm Bitner, The First Artist, 1907, by Dmitry Pakhomov, Tale of a Mammoth and an Ice-Man, 1909, by Pyotr Dravert, Dragon's Victims, 1910, by Vladimir Bogoraz). Mikhail Saltykov-Shchedrin's satires use a fantastic and grotesque element (The History of a Town and prose fables). The plot of Animal Mutiny (published 1917) by historian Nikolay Kostomarov is built on the assumption similar to Orwell's Animal Farm.

Some of Fyodor Dostoevsky's shorter works also use fantasy: The Dream of a Ridiculous Man (a story about the corruption of the utopian society on another planet), a doppelgänger novella The Double: A Petersburg Poem, mesmeric The Landlady, a comic horror story Bobok. Dostoevsky's magazine Vremya was first to publish Russian translation of Edgar Allan Poe's The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket in 1861; three other stories by Poe were published with Dostoevsky's own foreword (defining Poe's method as "material fantastic"). Many prose works of Symbolist Valery Bryusov may be classified as science fiction.

Prose of Alexander Kondratyev who was close to Symbolism included "mythological novel" Satyress (1907) and collection of "mythological stories" White Goat (1908), both based on Greek myths. Journeys and Adventures of Nicodemus the Elder (1917) by another minor Symbolist Aleksey Skaldin is a Gnostic fantasy.

Read more about this topic:  Soviet Science Fiction, Late 19th

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