Worlds Apart: An Anthology of Russian Science Fiction and Fantasy


A constant thread woven throughout the history of Russian literature is that of an escape from the bounds of realism. Worlds Apart is the first single-volume anthology that explores this fascinating and dominant theme of Russian literature-from its origins in the provincial folk tale, through its emergence in the Romantic period in the tales of Pushkin, Lermontov, and Turgenev, to its contemporary incarnation under the clouds of authoritarianism, revolution, mechanization, and modernization-with translations of ...
See more details below
Paperback (Reprint)
$21.70 price
(Save 9%)$23.95 List Price
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (12) from $3.66   
  • New (6) from $13.89   
  • Used (6) from $3.65   
Sending request ...


A constant thread woven throughout the history of Russian literature is that of an escape from the bounds of realism. Worlds Apart is the first single-volume anthology that explores this fascinating and dominant theme of Russian literature-from its origins in the provincial folk tale, through its emergence in the Romantic period in the tales of Pushkin, Lermontov, and Turgenev, to its contemporary incarnation under the clouds of authoritarianism, revolution, mechanization, and modernization-with translations of the key literary masterpieces that reveal the depth and ingenuity of the Russian imagination as it evolved over a period of tumultuous political, social, and technological upheaval.

Alexander Levitsky, perhaps the world's foremost expert on this genre, has provided engaging and informative introductions to the selections that simultaneously represent the works of Russia's best authors and reveal the dominant themes of her history: Myth and the Fairy Tale, Utopianism and Dystopianism, Mechanization and Modernization, Space Flight, and more. The authors range from familiar figures-Gogol, Dostoevsky, Bulgakov, and Bely-to writers practically unknown outside the Slavic world such as Derzhavin, Bulgarin, Kuprin and Pilniak.

Worlds Apart is an awe-provoking anthology with a compelling appeal both to the fantasy enthusiast and anyone with an abiding interest in Russian history and culture.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Quite possibly inspired by a college class (the editor is a professor of Slavic languages and literature at Brown University), this anthology of 19th- and early 20th-century Russian fantasy and science fiction (poetry and prose) is both fascinating and problematic. On one hand, it offers an astonishing number of clearly translated, compelling texts, some of which are available in English for the first time. Along with stories, poems, and novel excerpts from familiar names like Pushkin, Lermontov, Turgenev, Gogol, Chernyshevsky, Dostoevsky, Blok, Bely, Zamiatin, and Bulgakov (whose "The Fatal Eggs" is a timely delight), as well as an introduction to early 19th-century Russian fantasy and poetry, this collection presents amazing work by lesser-known authors like Odoevsky, Briusov, and Kuprin (whose "Liquid Sunshine" is particularly memorable), among others. Indeed, the early 20th century and early Soviet space exploration texts by Bugdanov, Tolstoy, Platonov, and Efremov are a revelation. On the other hand, the anthology, taken as a whole, imagines an unlikely discursive continuum from fantasy tales (especially those involving ghosts, witches, or monsters) to utopian and dystopian narratives, technological fantasies, and space-travel sagas. And it limits its presentation of later 20th-century Soviet and post-Soviet science fiction to a short, concluding essay. In short, it's a wonderful mess: it works, more or less, but much like, say, a Soviet-made car. Recommended to public and academic libraries where interest warrants.-Roger A. Berger, Everett Community Coll., WA

—Roger A. Berger
Kirkus Reviews
Stories, poems and novel fragments dating back to the 1700s, none written much later than the first half of the 20th century. Using broad definitions of fantasy and science fiction, Levitsky selects various tales of the supernatural and the absurd, utopias (usually in warm places, far from Russia's chill) and dystopias of the distant future, and some early stories of space travel. He draws on the work of such towering literary figures as Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoevsky, Turgenev and Zamyatin, as well as others less familiar to Western readers. The editor intersperses these choices with his own dry, jargon-loaded essays on the pieces' peculiarly Russian nature and their inspirations in folklore, philosophy and politics. Scholars of the fantastic with an interest in literary history will discover some curiosities and some genuinely fascinating, powerfully resonant works. Casual sci-fi fans in search of light entertainment-or contemporary Russian works of speculative fiction-will be disappointed and possibly bored. Uneven.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781585678204
  • Publisher: Overlook Press, The
  • Publication date: 7/29/2008
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 576
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Table of Contents

Worlds of Russian Fantasy     9
Russian Early-Modern Fantasy and Utopian Thought
From Folk Myth to the Fantastic in Early Modern Russian Literature     37
Foregrounding Travel in Space: Fantastic and Utopian Scapes of Bygone Years     39
The Fantastic in Early-Modern Russian Poetry and Prose     57
Derzhavin, Gavrila Romanovich (1743-1816)     57
From the ode God     57
The Magic Lantern     61
Zlogor     65
Pushkin, Alexander Sergeevich (1799-1837)     67
Autumn     70
The Bronze Horseman     73
The Queen of Spades$dTransl. by Gillon R. Aitken     81
Lermontov, Mikhail Iurievich (1814-1841)     103
Demon [A proem]     103
The Dream     106
[left angle bracket]Shtoss[right angle bracket]$dTransl. by David Lowe     107
Turgenev, Ivan Sergeevich (1818-1883)     119
The Phantoms [abridged]     122
Two Poems in Prose from Senilia     138
Arabesque and Bizzare Universes of Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol [-Yanovsky] (1809-1852)     140
Vyi [abridged]$dTransl. by Carl Proffer     145
Nevsky Prospekt$dTransl. by Alexander Tulloch     156
The Diary of a Madman$dTransl. by Alexander Tulloch     183
The Nose     199
Early-modern Utopias and Dostoevsky's responses to Utopian thought     220
Three Early-Modern Russian Utopias
Bulgarin, Faddei Venediktovich (1789-1859) From The Plausible Fantasies$dTransl. by Leland Fetzer     227
Odoevsky, Vladimir Fyodorovich (1803-1869) From The Year 4338. Letters from St. Petersburg$dTransl. by Leland Fetzer     237
Chernyshevsky, Nikolai Gavrilovich (1828-1889) From What is to be Done: "Vera Pavlovna's Fourth Dream"$dTransl. by Leland Fetzer     248
Three Responses to Utopian Thought by Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky (1821-1881)     259
Bobok     259
The Little Boy at the Savior's Christmas Tree     272
The Dream of a Ridiculous Man     276
Modern Russian Fantasy, Utopia and Science Fiction
Russia's Silver Age and the Fantastic of the Twenties and Thirties     291
Sampling Russian Symbolist Enigmas     292
Blok, Alexander Alexandrovich (1880-1921)
The Stranger     298
From The Twelve     299
Briusov, Valery Iakovlevich (1873-1924)
Dust Demons     302
The Republic of the Southern Cross$dTransl. by Leland Fetzer     303
Sologub [Teternikov], Fyodor Kuzmich (1863-1927)
The Asteroid     318
A Little Man$dTransl. by Maurice Friedberg     318
Bely, Andrei [Bugaev, Boris Nicholaievich] (1880-1934)
Demon     335
From St. Petersburg$dTransl. by Robert A. Maguire$dJohn E. Malmstad     335
Russia's Modernist and Post-Symbolist Prose     345
Kuprin, Alexander Ivanovich (1870-1938)
A Toast$dTransl. by Leland Fetzer     348
Liquid Sunshine$dTransl. by Leland Fetzer     353
Remizov, Alexei Mikhailovich (1877-1957)
The Bear Cub     393
The Blaze     399
From the novels Russia in a Whirlwind and In a Rosy Light     405
Zamiatin, Evgeny Ivanovich (1884-1937)
The Dragon     407
The Cave$dTransl. by Gleb Struve     408
From We [Records 1-4]$dTransl. by Samuel Cioran     416
Pilniak, Boris Andreevich (1894-1937)
A Year in Their Life     427
From The Naked Year [Chapter VII and The Last Triptych]     435
The Waning of Modernism in Post-revolutionary Years     447
Zabolotsky, Nikolai Alekseevich (1903-1958)
Signs of Zodiac     453
Human of the Snows     455
Kharms, Daniel [Yuvachev] (1905-1942)
The Young Man who Surprized the Watchman     457
The Dream     458
Yuri Olesha, Yuri Karlovich (1899-1960)
Love     459
On the Fantasy of H. G. Wells     466
Bulgakov, Mikhail Afanasievich (1891-1940)
The Fatal Eggs$dTranslated by Carl Proffer     471
From Master and Margarita [Chapters 20 and 21]     530
Pre-Soviet & Soviet Visions of Outer Space     537
Bogdanov [Malinovsky], Alexander Alexandrovich (1873-1928) From The Red Star$dTransl. by Leland Fetzer     540
Tolstoy, Alexei Nikolaevich (1883-1945) From Aelita$dTransl. by Leland Fetzer     555
Platonov [Klimentov], Andrei Platonovich (1899-1951) From The Sun, the Moon, and the Ether Channel$dTransl. by Elliott Urday$dA. L.     584
Efremov, Ivan Antonovich (1907-1972) From The Andromeda Nebula     616
On Contemporary Russian Fantasy and Science Fiction. A Postcript by Sofya Khagi     645
Bibliography and Suggested Readings     651
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)