[SFRA-L] Zombies in Moscow
pierceqfpl at ewwpi.com
pierceqfpl at ewwpi.com
Tue Oct 18 05:48:22 EDT 2011
I've seen references to the video game, and am also aware of video games (as well as movies) based on Strugatsky novels. Likewise, that "fantastika" takes in a lot of territory. But the rest is new to me and, as you say, "pretty amazing." But do the specific urban fantasy tropes have any roots in Russia, or have their spread by osmosis, so to speak, from over here? One of my pet peeves is that the vampire-zombie stuff seems to take up more shelf space than sf in "Science Fiction & Fantasy" sections at Barnes & Ignoble. But one of my friends thinks the whole thing is a publishing bubble that's about to burst just like the housing bubble.
From: Pawel Frelik [mailto:pawel.frelik at umcs.edu.pl]
Sent: Tuesday, October 18, 2011 12:37 AM
To: pierceqfpl at ewwpi.com
Cc: sfra-l at wiz.cath.vt.edu
Subject: Re: [SFRA-L] Zombies in Moscow
pec> Axtually, they're just called the Undead, but theirpec> attacking the humans who live a precarious life in thepec> subways after a nuclear holocaust in METRO 2033, whichpec> I just started reading. I'd heard that this was apec> dystopian urban novel, but the urban fantasy aspectpec> isn't mentioned in the blurbs. There's also urbanpec> fantasy in the NIGHTWATCH series, fantastic Good andpec> Evil forces. So I'm wondering, is this typical ofpec> what's being published in Russia, as opposed to purepec> sf, or is it just that these books get translatedpec> because publishers think they can cash in on thepec> whole urban fantasy thing?
There are at least two angles to this. The phenomenon of_Metro 2033_ is pretty amazing. Gluchowskij started writingit when he was still a teenager - as he admitted he wasinfluenced as much by his daily commute on Moscow'sunderground (which is incidentally second most used in theworld after Tokyo)as by videogames, most notably the Falloutseries (the influence which is fairly apparent). Hepublished the first version of the novel online (in Russian- it is still online) with each chapter linked to aselection of music the author recommended. The secondrevised version (more chapters + music links again) wentonline several months before the hard-publication, whose twoeditions (2005 & 2007) have sold in over 120,000 copies,which is pretty phenomenal for Russian, and, I guess,elsewhere. Gluchowskij published the second novel _Metro2034_ in 2009. There is also a video game by aUkrainian gamehouse and a number of shared-world novelsby other writers. Both novels (but particularly the first)have been commercial and critical successes in Europe (thebest debut in 2007 at Eurocon).The other angle is that Russia but also most of CentralEurope have been awash in fantasy, urban fantasy, orfantasy-inflected literature for a decade or longer. Iwould not speculate why this is so (although have a fewhomegrown theories) but science fiction in its "pure" form- whether space opera,cyberpunk,or any hard sf - constitutesa relatively small percentage of what is published inwhat John Clute has called "fantastika" (incidentallya straightforward Central/Eastern European borrowing)these days.Pawel
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