Abstract

SUMMARY:

The article looks at science fiction by the Soviet paleontologist Ivan Efremov as a key to the riddle of the rise of a radically new social imaginary after Stalin's death. First, the real cultural roots of the alleged Maya inscription cited in the 1957 novel Andromeda: A Space-Age Tale are recovered. They point to the decisive cultural influence on the Soviet writer of Russian turn-of-the-twentieth-century Symbolist poetry as well as prerevolutionary mystic and Theosophy traditions. This allows the authors to identify the consistent subtext of esoteric and occult references in Efremov's novels, shaping his ideas about a future ideal society and its "true science." His holistic vision of the future envisioned the merging of "Western" and "Eastern" cultures and modes of knowledge production. In pursuit of this vision, Efremov synthesized in his writings a broad variety of cultural influences available to him in the USSR of the 1950s and 1960s. Although his explicitly Communist and implicitly New Age ideals were not universally endorsed by Soviet intellectuals, the rich cultural synthesis and social ideas of Efremov's novels had a significant influence on his contemporaries, including such unlikely figure as the academician Andrei Sakharov.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2164-9731
Print ISSN
2166-4072
Pages
pp. 171-202
Launched on MUSE
2020-09-12
Open Access
No
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