Bogdanov, Alexander

Tagged: Author

Pseudonym of Russian philosopher, physician, revolutionary figure, and author Alexander Alexandrovich Malinovsky (1873-1928), a leading member of the Bolshevik party 1903-1909, more radical than his ultimately successful rival, Vladimir Lenin, and the author of a vast treatise, Empiriomonizm: Stat'i po Filosofii ["Empiriomonism: Articles on Philosophy"] (1904-1906 3vols), in which he attempted to ground Marxism in contemporary philosophy. After his expulsion from the party in 1909, he founded a Utopian school for workers on the island of Capri, but became deeply apolitical around this time, serving in World War One as a doctor, and having an elliptical impact on Soviet Russian politics and philosophy after the War. It is clear that his experiments in blood transfusions – one of which eventually killed him – were designed to explore the possibility of achieving Immortality; and it is rumoured that, given Lenin's brain (after his death) to study, he hoped to resuscitate him, with the ultimate hope of making the Bolshevik rulers of the USSR immortal.

As a writer, he is remembered for a Utopian sequence – Krasnaia Zvezda ["The Red Star"] (1908) and Inzhener Menni ["Engineer Menni"] (1912), both assembled with a 1924 poem as Red Star: The First Bolshevik Utopia: Red Star, Engineer Menni, A Martian Stranded on Earth (omni trans Charles Rougle 1984) – which depicts the flight of its protagonist, a Russian revolutionary, to Mars where a technocratic Utopia, based on principles of "rational management", is built. The first volume was reprinted just after the Socialist Revolution in 1917, and perhaps for that reason was thought of as the first authentic example of "Soviet" sf; however, it was not again reprinted until 1977, when it was purged of episodes describing "free love" in the utopia. Kim Stanley Robinson acknowledged the influence of Red Star on his own Red Mars (1992) by naming one of its protagonists Arkady Bogdanov. The second volume includes interesting speculations that adumbrate the relationship of Cybernetics to modern management and also anticipated the need for a Computer on Spaceships, describing the ship itself as being driven by atomic energy. [VG/JC]

see also: Russia.

Alexander Alexandrovich Malinovsky

born Sokolka, Russia: 22 August 1873

died Moscow: 7 April 1928

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