A great look back at Soviet futurism

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/05/25/a-great-look-back-at-soviet-fu.html


Lines up with what an old Russian told me about his childhood memory of the irony of SF being used in the service of the Party.

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I dunno the Strugatsky’s got away with some interesting things in their stories. Though The Doomed City while they got inklings in 1969 and wrote it in the early 70’s it didn’t get published till 1989 after Glasnost happened as it was a not so thinly veiled dig at the system.

If you have not read any of their stories you are missing out on some great stuff.


I cant remember if I have or not but I’ll add to the queue anyway, thanks.

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Oh boy… Start with Roadside Picnic… that book is just freaking mind blowing.


I’ll try and keep that in mind. Right now the queue is really deep so it will be a good while before I get there.

That one is seriously worth a line jump…

By seriously deep I mean over 50 things not counting the 3 titles by M.D. Cooper coming out before August and whatever Nathan Lowell manages to finish as well.

Currently mostly focusing on non fiction history and strategy theory, revisiting Clausewitz from some different angles and trying to see how that fits in with some information security theory stuff.

I watched the movie Stalker which is based on the book. It was very atmospheric, quiet, and long. Does the book have inner monolgues? It seems similar to Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach Trilogy.

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The movie is pretty much a different story with the same themes. The book is much more complex and less allegorical than the movie. It isn’t just one journey into the zone and there are actually several zones across the world in the book as well as it is explicit that aliens came to earth hung about for a bit and just left. The zones are where they landed and cause strange things and mutations to people who stay in them too long but there are artifacts to be found that are the leavings of the aliens and that is all I can really say without spoiling the story.

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Now that sounds intriguing.
Any chance of some sort of wreite-up sometime?

Not sure, the ideas are still bubbling in the swamp of my mind, lots of gasses mixed together, Swamp Thing hasnt burst forth yet.

What I can say right now is that its going to be a blend of

  1. Pre Clausewitz where “strategy” was purely about logistics and supply. This definitely applies to IT OPS methods and SECOPS methods (ITIL, PDCA vs OODA)
  2. Post Clasewitz where we really for the first time have a functional distinction of strategy vs tactics. Especially because most corporate IT strategies are not strategies at all, probably because the MBA concept of a strategy is really more a reference framework.

Please note that its not 1 vs 2 above its 1 & 2 above working together in a feedback loop.

Everything was used in the service of The Party… and The Party was always right!
But SF was always a good place to hide criticism in plain sight. (Still is.)

Disclaimer: my experiences with the Soviet system are by proxy, via the GDR. But as the GDR was modelled on the Soviet system as faithful as possible, so… Incidentally, quite an interesting SF scene in the GDR, too.


That first one is fantastic. It reminds me of the endpapers in the Rupert annuals.

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