Russian Science Fiction Literature and Cinema: A Critical Reader
(Academic Studies Press, 2018) offers a compelling investigation of the genre whose development was significantly reshaped in the second half of the 20th century. In her introduction to this volume, Anindita Banerjee
outlines the specificity of Russian science fiction literature and cinema and emphasizes transformative effects produced and trigged by the launch of Sputnik in 1957: “Sputnik’s impact—crossing the boundaries of private life and public culture, domestic enthusiasm and international curiosity, technological spectacle and participatory entertainment, contemporary aspirations and historical visions, and, last but not least, the diverse media of print, film, radio, and television—played an instrumental role in transforming science fiction from Russia into a serious object of study” (xii). Russian Science Fiction Literature and Cinema
presents science fiction not only in terms of aesthetic inspirations and experimentations, but also in terms of political contestations and existential crises. When developing in the context of the Soviet supervision, science fiction acquired an ambiguous status: on the one hand, this genre was maintained and encouraged through state decisions; on the other hand, it was controlled and suppressed. As Anindita Banerjee argues, in the Soviet Union science fiction was some kind of an outlet for ideological and political discontents: keeping this genre under supervision was strategic for maintaining some visibility of otherness. The critical reader edited by Anindita Banerjee attempts to embrace multiple ambiguities of science fiction literature and cinema and to outline ethic and aesthetic proliferations that invite the reconsideration of the relationships of self and other.