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The tenth planet and other science fiction by Sergei Belyaev at the dawn of the formation of the USSR

Sergei Mikhailovich Belyaev was born in 1883. He became one of the first Soviet science fiction writers, starting to write as early as the 1920s. However, he is far from being as well known as Zamyatin or Efremov, much less the Strugatsky. The most famous work of Belyaev is the story “The Tenth Planet”, in which he made the assumption of the existence of another planet in the solar system.
Briefly about the writer
Sergei Mikhailovich Belyaev, was born in Moscow. Father – a priest, received a church education. He graduated from the medical faculty, worked as a doctor. At the same time he wrote essays and short stories.
Sergei Mikhailovich Belyaev was born on January 9 (21 according to the old style) on January 18, 1883, and died on November 11, 1953.

Childhood and youth
Belyaev was born in 1883 in the city of Moscow. He followed in his father’s footsteps, finishing the seminary. After receiving education, he worked as a tutor in the theater.

He received higher education at Yuriev University, by education – a doctor. He practiced most of his life, subsequently writing a series of notes about his work. In parallel with this, he began to write fiction.

Creative activity and the path to fame
It was published since 1905. The first book is Seminar Essays (1906).

The first full-fledged publication was the novel Radio Brain, released in 1926 (the second edition of the novel was in 1928). It was first published in Rabochaya Gazeta, and then came out as a separate publication. The plot focuses on Western scientists who decided to subjugate the minds of people around the world with the help of a specially derived artificial brain that telepathically subjugated the minds of other people.

The next novel – “Fighter 2Z” – was released in 1939 (originally released in 1928 under the name “Fighter 17Y”). Once again, the contender for another world domination became a purely Bondian scientist Urlando, which is opposed by Soviet scientists. Critics noted the very great influence of the artistic style of A.N. Tolstoy.

The novel The Adventures of Samuel Pingle, which appeared in 1945, tells about a scientist who learned to artificially rebuild viruses. This novel has been translated into Polish, Czech, Slovak, Bulgarian and Croatian.

Illustration for the novel “The Adventures of Samuel Pingle”
Illustration for the novel “The Adventures of Samuel Pingle”
In addition to scientific references, Belyaev’s work also traces an allegory to contemporary events – in the year the Great Patriotic War ended, the novel “On the Tenth Planet” is published, in the center of which there is a conflict between Ubermensh (inhabitants of this same planet) and Untermens – monkey-like people. The result was the collapse of the racist “millennial Reich.”

Illustration for the story “On the Tenth Planet”
Illustration for the story “On the Tenth Planet”
In addition to science fiction, Belyaev wrote in other genres. In 1926 he published a book of short stories “Fire” and the novel “How Ivan Ivanovich Fled from the Bolsheviks”. His documentary Notes of a Soviet Doctor (1926) are also known. In collaboration with the popular Soviet writer Boris Pilnyak, he wrote a documentary about the slaughter – “Meat” (1936), dedicated to the Moscow Mikoyan meat-packing plant.

The last years of life and death
In 1947, the writer’s last novel, The Lord of Lightning, was released, the heroes of which solve the problem of extracting electricity, in particular ball lightning from the earth’s atmosphere, and transmitting it over long distances. He died in Moscow in 1953.

What I wrote about, features
As one of the first Soviet science fiction writers, Belyaev, in the opinion of literary critic Britikov, “never got rid of the influence of tabloid fiction of the 20s,” and “in the late“ Lord of Lightning ”S. Belyaev only added to the old“ nightmare ”style of the novel of secrets new-fashioned methods of antitayna and antidetective. ” The literary critic notes that despite fairly progressive ideas and views, Belyaev’s work remained under the serious influence of other authors and could not get away from tabloid, adventure cliches. This applies to stories about villains dreaming of world domination, and about the main characters themselves, exceptionally bright and positive.

In his works, Belyaev made scientific assumptions (about the existence of the tenth planet, about the nature of electricity, etc.), but at the same time made gross errors – in the story “The Tenth Planet” he mentions three unknown chemical elements that were actually open 6 years before.

In the stylistic plan, his works were short, jerky sentences, with piles of epithets: “Yura waited in the most polite way”, “… put on glasses that he wore only during the solemn minutes of fierce scientific debates” and so on. Outwardly, Belyaev hardly described the heroes; their habits, preferences and addictions basically came down directly to science, or to scientific activity. His heroes are dreamers, but dreamers with a rather narrow horizons, since they are limited only by what they see themselves.

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