"Bogdanov's novels reveal a great deal about their fascinating author, about his time and, ironically, ours, and about the genre of utopia as well as his contribution to it." —Slavic Review
"Bogdanov's imaginative predictions for his utopia are both technological and social... Even more farsighted are [his] anxious forebodings about the limits and costs of the utopian future." —Science Fiction Studies
"The contemporary reader will marvel at [Bogdanov's] foresight: nuclear fusion and propulsion, atomic weaponry and fallout, computers, blood transfusions, and (almost) unisexuality." —Choice
A communist society on Mars, the Russian revolution, and class struggle on two planets is the subject of this arresting science fiction novel by Alexander Bogdanov (1873–1928), one of the early organizers and prophets of the Russian Bolshevik party. The red star is Mars, but it is also the dream set to paper of the society that could emerge on earth after the dual victory of the socialist and scientific-technical revolutions. While portraying a harmonious and rational socialist society, Bogdanov sketches out the problems that will face industrialized nations, whether socialist or capitalist.
Red Star: The First Bolshevik Utopia in fact consists of two books by Bogdanov (an original member of the Bolshevik Party, who wrote both books to empart his ideas and stimulate revolutionary feeling in his audience): 'Red Star' (1908), and 'Engineer Menni' (1913).Red Star is the story of Leonid, a member of the Bolshevik Party during the still intense period after the 1905 revolution, who is approached by another revolutionary, Menni, who claims to be from some advanced secret society, and offers him a place in it if he agrees to take part in a mission to Mars. Leonid agrees and is taken by Menni to his ship where Menni and his crew reveal they are in fact Martians. Leonid's mission, he is told, is to serve as a link between the two human races of Earth and Mars. On Mars Leonid discovers a communist utopia: an advanced, peaceful society of perfect equality, unity and freedom - one which however forecasts economic difficulties in the future, which has added the weight of need to the wish to contact Earth out of friendship.Engineer Menni is the story (told briefly by the Menni to Leonid in Red Star) of the great engineer Menni, the man in Red Star's past who oversaw the construction of Mars's canals in order to make habitable vast swathes of previously arid desert. This is the story of a man of genius driven to complete his epic Project, and the setbacks as he contends with corrupt capitalists taking their opportunity to profit at the expense of the proletariat doing the work, and the global Republic funding the Project. Menni's murdering of his assistant - who is allied with the capitalists - leads to his imprisonment and the disintergration of the Project in his absense, until Netti, a young and influential socialist, brings about his return.I highly recommend this book; both stories are more than worth reading and almost criminally unknown; Engineer Menni I particularly enjoyed - being as it is superbly written, full of ideas (communist, and more generally political, and even on the philsophy of pragmatism), and with an brilliant political storyline.read more
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