12 Chapters
Medium 9780253203175

Fantasy and Revolution: Alexander Bogdanov and the Origins of Bolshevik Science Fiction

Alexander Bogdanov Indiana University Press ePub

Richard Stites

“Blood is being shed [down there] for the sake of a better future,” says the Martian to the hero of Red Star as they are ascending to Mars. “But in order to wage the struggle we must know that future.” The blood he speaks of was the blood of workers shot down in the streets of St. Petersburg, of revolutionaries put against the wall of prison courtyards, of insurgent sailors and soldiers, of Jewish victims of pogroms in the Russian Revolution of 1905. And by “that better future” he means not the immediate outcome of the revolution but the radiant future of socialism that will dawn on earth after revolution has triumphed everywhere. In order to inspect the coming socialist order, the hero—a Bolshevik activist named Leonid—has accepted the invitation of a Martian visitor to fly with him and his crew to Mars.

In this manner Alexander Bogdanov, a major prophet of the Bolshevik movement and one of its most versatile writers and thinkers, begins his Utopian science fiction novel Red Star, first published in 1908. The red star is Mars; but it is also the dream set to paper of the kind of society that could emerge on Earth after the dual victory of the scientific-technical revolution and the social revolution. Bogdanov, a professional revolutionary, was one of those people, peculiar to revolutionary societies of our century, who moved easily back and forth between the barricade and the study table, the prison cell and the laboratory. He was a physician and a man of science; and he was the first in Russian fiction to combine a technical utopia, grounded in the latest scientific theories of the time, with the ideas of revolutionary Marxism. This was the central theme of both Red Star and his other novel, Engineer Menni.

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Medium 9780253018175

The Girl in the Surf

B.J. Hollars Break Away Book Club Edition ePub

You may have heard of these pictures before: the ones of the girl in the surf on Plum Island. At least, I’d always heard the figure was a girl, though when I actually saw the photos I came to understand otherwise: she is a woman, and while she is a breathing woman in one frame she has stopped breathing in the next.

The photos were taken by Marc Halevi, a photojournalist on assignment to capture the highest tides to have reached Plum Island, Massachusetts, in over half a century. Instead, he captured the effects of those tides—a woman drowning.

What we know of the woman’s last moments we know only from Halevi’s photos and witness testimony. The woman was believed to have been drinking that day and, prior to the drowning, reportedly mumbled, “Let the ocean take me.” Yet when the water did take her—gripping a beer bottle in one hand, a cigarette in the other—people began wondering if her death was intentional and, more to the point, whether Halevi might have prevented it.

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Medium 9781574413311

The Darkest Hole in the Globe

Peter Brown University of North Texas Press PDF

The Darkest Hole in the Globe

O

ur lives were similar in some ways. When

Sunny was eighteen, the day she got accepted to Columbia University, her father, in the locker room of Precinct 120, put his service revolver in his mouth and removed the top of his head.

She inherited the house in Staten Island, which she sold right away to pay for college. Her mother had died of cancer long before. Almost twenty years earlier, when I was eighteen, my first day at boot camp, my father died of a massive infarction during a Columbia Presbyterian MRI. I learned in a note from Mother how he had mastered his claustrophobia over and over through

West Point, Guam, Korea, and Vietnam but the MRI proved too much. They gave me leave for his funeral, but I declined. After that, the heat of the barracks all but ruled out sleep or food for the next few weeks and when the weapons training finally began,

I began to get too anxious and too eager. To cool me off, they put me in the kitchen a while: something I said to the range instructor, the way I handled my rifle, how they had to stop me. I don’t exactly remember what it was.

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Medium 9781574414660

Venus in the Afternoon

Tehila Lieberman University of North Texas Press PDF

Venus in the Afternoon

I

t began like this: Megan woke up and pulled me toward her in that proprietary, non-sexual way I saw stretching ahead of us for years and years, and into the unsuspecting canyon of her neck I whispered, “Megi, this isn’t going to work.” Last night she’d done it—gotten me drunk, gotten herself drunk and asked me to marry her. I’d asked for the night to consider it. Now that I’d given her my answer, she began pounding her fists on my back, then rose from the bed, pulled from her drawers some of the clothes I kept at her apartment, and began tossing them out the window so that by the time I looked out, some of my favorite things were being picked through on 14th Street. I grabbed a suit she hadn’t gotten to yet and barricaded myself in the bathroom. Before I left, I stood over her where she sat in the worn armchair, head down, quietly crying. I wanted to tell her so many things—how fine she was, how incredibly fine. What an ass I was.

“Don’t,” she said, in that weird, prescient way that women have of anticipating the stupid things we might say or do, and in a daze, I closed the door and began walking to work.

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Medium 9780253008183

6 Circling in the Air

Jason L Brown Quarry Books ePub

David Driscoll

TODAY I WATCH WHITEY-TIGHTEY LINE. Whitey-Tightey Line is not real name, just name we use at factory. Real name is White Cotton Briefs. I am Inspector Number Seven. I work here long time. Too long, maybe, but this job is not so bad. I sit on stool over conveyor and watch for anomaly. I use Special Technique. Special Technique is pick spot on floor or paint chip on side of conveyor and spread out vision so it is big, big—like looking down from mountain top. In this way I see underwear three at a time, like looking at photo. Special Technique is very good for concentration, and sometimes I go very deep. Sometimes it looks like underwear is glowing, and sometimes I think threads are made of light. Sometimes vision drop away completely so there is no seeing and no hearing. This is very mystical state. I can always spot anomaly, though. Like now.

I press red button and conveyor stops, use Trigger Fingers to pick up whitey tightey from conveyor and transfer to Anomaly Bin. Trigger Fingers is metal pole with pinchers on end. Very handy for moving anomaly. Very easy on back. This anomaly is label sewed to front panel. This is functional anomaly. Functional anomaly means underwear still work fine but still is anomaly. If someone opens three pack of White Cotton Briefs in Boca Raton or Minneapolis and sees label sewed to front panel they will not like this. They will go back to store and ask for refund. They will see sticker says Inspected by Number Seven and shake their heads. I do not think they will call factory to complain but this is not the point.

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