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Ivan Efremov

Ivan Efremov Ivan Efremov was born April 9, 1907 near St. Petersburg. In 1914, his family moved to Bedyansk and Efremov started school. However, his parents divorced in 1917 and his mother left him and his other siblings in 1919 in the care of his aunt, who died soon of typhus. Efremov decided to join the Red Army.

He left the Red Army in 1921 and returned to St. Petersburg to continue his studies. He graduated from nautical school in 1923, becoming a coastal navigator and traveling to the Far East. He soon returned in 1924 and returned once again to school, interested in the field of paleontology. He spent the rest of the 1920s and 30s on paleontological expeditions. In 1935, the Institute of Paleontology moved to Moscow along with Efremov himself. Finally, in 1941, he earned his doctorate degree in Biological Sciences.

Although he wrote a number of scientific papers, Efremov’s fictional writing did not begin until later in his life. He was inspired to write about humanity’s future in space and the Soviet Union’s future in a utopian communist community. This theme was encapsulated in Efremov’s most famous work “Andromeda: A Space-Age Tale” published in 1957, coinciding with the launch of Sputnik in the same year. This work helped for science fiction to blossom in the 1960s, along with Stalin’s death in 1953. Contrastively, Efremov’s “The Hour of the Bull,” published in 1968, was banned due to its harsh criticism of the circumstances of the USSR during that time, Efremov warning humans about possible social, moral and ecological catastrophes to come.

Efremov believed that science fiction was a serious medium for exploring new scientific ideas, not just simply for enjoyment or fantasy. He died of a heart attack on October 5, 1972. “Andromeda: A Space-Age Tale” was made into a popular film titled “The Andromeda Nebula” directed by Yevgeni Sherstobitov debuted in 1967.

Andromeda: A Space-Age Tale

The Hour of the Bull

Arkady and Boris Strugatsky

Arkady and Boris Strugatsky The Strugatsky Brothers continue to be popular today, not just in Russia but also worldwide. They could be compared to the popularity in America of the Big Three of American Science Fiction: Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, and Robert Heinlein. They have been most recently connected with the very popular movie “Avatar,” many Strugatsky fans claiming the movie copied the Strugatsky’s work, but Boris has not commented on the similarities and has stated he is not pressing charges.

Arkady Strugatsky, the eldest brother, was born August 8, 1925 in Batumi, Georgia but the family immediately moved to Leningrad. When World War II broke out, Arkady helped in the factories. During the Nazi siege of Leningrad in 1942, Arkady and his father evacuated, leaving his mother and younger brother behind. His train was blasted and Arkady was the sole survivor. He returned to Moscow in 1943 into military service learning Japanese and English at the Military Institute of Foreign Language, eventually working as a translator and interpreter. In 1955 he left military service and began a career in writing, completing some solo works before joining forces with his brother.

Boris Strugatsky was born April 4, 1933 in Leningrad. He graduated from school in astronomy and worked at the Pulkovo Observatory. Boris and Arkady were admitted into the USSR Writers’ Guild and started their profession-writing career together. Their debut novel “From Beyond” was published in 1958.

One of their most popular works is “Noon: 22nd Century” published in 1962, which introduced the duos “Noon Universe,” a place created by the two where most of their novels are set. Another one of their works, “The Ugly Swans,” was written in 1967 but was first published abroad in 1972, before its publication in the USSR, and against the authors’ permission. After this publication, the story was banned in the Soviet Union and circulated by secretive means. The story “The Ugly Swans” was made into a 2006 film, along with many of the Strugatsky’s other works. Andrei Tarkovsky made a 1979 movie called “Stalker,” which was very loosely based on the Strugatsky’s novel “Roadside Picnic” published in 1972. The movie “The Inhabited Island,” part one coming out in 2008 and part two in 2009, was based on the duos novel “Prisoners of Power” set in the Noon Universe and published in 1969.

Arkady died October 12, 1991 from liver cancer. Boris continued to write after his brother’s death and is still alive today.

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