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Kuprin, Alexander

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

(1870-1938) Russian author, active from before 1890, whose first novella of significance, "Moloch" (December 1896 Russkoye Bogatstvo), goes to extremities akin to Fantastika in its attempts to render the terror and disastrousness of unfettered capitalist exploitation. Most of his remaining oeuvre is nonfantastic, though some sf is assembled in a French translation, Le soleil liquide et autres récits fantastiques ["Liquid Sunshine and Other Tales of the Fantastic"] (coll 2013), which puts into convenient book form several stories published variously in English translation, the longest and perhaps most important of these being "Zhidkoe soinse" (March 1913 Zhatva; trans Leland Fetzer as "Liquid Sunshine" in Pre-Revolutionary Russian Science Fiction: An Anthology (Seven Utopias and a Dream) [anth 1982]). The tale, narrated by an Englishman, describes his mentor Lord Charlesbury's Invention in his Ecuadorian fastness of a new Power Source which liquefies the Sun's rays, and is designed to satisfy humanity's craving for energy; but Charlesbury, inspired by the foreknowledge that his benefice will be appropriated by capitalist exploiters after his death, destroys his laboratory in a vast explosion. Though there are Pulp elements in the plotting, the seduction of Charlesbury's wife by an associate without punishment evokes a wider world. [JC]

Alexandr Ivanovich Kuprin

born Narovchat, Penza Governorate, Russian Empire: 7 September 1870

died Leningrad, USSR: 25 August 1938

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