Aitmatov, Chingiz

Tagged: Author

(1928-2008) USSR-born author and diplomat; his native province, Kirghizia, became Kyrgyzstan in 1991, though his formative experiences, and much of his success, dated from his life as a citizen of the USSR. He is known mostly for his mainstream fiction (for which he had been a Nobel Prize candidate), which poetically depicts Man-Nature relations. His one venture into sf was "I Dol'she Veka Dlitsia Den'" (1980 Novy Mir #11; trans F John French as The Day Lasts More than a Hundred Years 1983), filmed as Mankurt (1990). Part of this novel realistically depicts life in a small Kirghiz town near a secret Soviet cosmodrome, part hovers Equipoisally between folklore and sf in its depiction of the creation of Golem-like slaves or mankurt through a process of Torture by slow memory wipe (see Memory Edit); and part comprises a Near-Future thriller set on board the Soviet-US Space Station Parity, where two cosmonauts encounter Aliens and are taken to their planet, which is described as a Utopia. Any awareness of this being intolerable to both American and Soviet governments, the cosmonauts are banned from their home planet. Written before perestroika, the novel raised controversy due to its obvious pacifist mood. [VG/JC]

Chingiz Torekulovich Aitmatov

born Sheker, Kirghizia, USSR [now Kyrgyzstan]: 12 December 1928

died Nuremberg, Germany: 10 June 2008

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