Fantasy and Science Fiction in Russia

Popular novels and film adaptations

SLST 452, September 2013, Wednsday 3:30-6:15

This course will explore the history of 20th century Russia through the lens of Science Fiction literature and film. The course begins with a short sketch of the history of socialist ideas in Russia and the development of Science Fiction as a genre at the end of 19th – beginning of 20th century. We will discuss socialist utopia works contrasting them with dystopia and fantastic satire. In addition to historical and political insights to the 20th century Russia, the course will introduce important philosophical ideas of Soviet intelligentsia.

Student's Projects. Spring 2012


Pre-Soviet and Early Soviet Science Fiction

Utopia, Socialist Romanticism, Cosmism

→ Konstantin Tsialkovsky
→ Alexander Bogdanov
→ Alexei N. Tolstoy
→ Andrei Platonov
→ Alexander Beliaev

Underground Literature: Fantastic Satire and Dystopia

→ Mikhail Bulgakov
→ Yevgeni Zamyatin
→ Evgeny Shvarts

Early Soviet SF Film Production

→ "Aelita: Queen of Mars" (based on A.N. Tolstoy’s novel) directed by Yakov Protazanov (1924)
→ "The Amphibian Man" (based on A.Beliaev’s novel) directed by Vladimir Chebotaryov and Gennadi Kazansky (1962)

Russian Science Fiction during the Thaw and Stagnation Era

Philosophical ideas in Soviet Science Fiction

→ Ivan Efremov
→ Arkady and Boris Strugatsky

Late Soviet and Recent SF Film Production

→ “Kin-Dza-Dza” original screenplay by Georgi Daneliya and Revaz Gabriadze (1986)
→ “Heart of a Dog” (based on Bulgakov’s novel) directed by Vladimir Bortko (1988)
→ “To Kill a Dragon” (based on E. Schwarz’s play) directed by Mark Zakharov (1988)
→ “The Ugly Swans” (based on Strugatskys’ novel) directed by Konstantin Lopushansky (2006)
→ “Inhabited Island” (based on Strugatskys’ novel) directed by Fyodor Bondarchuk (2008-2009)