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Sinyavsky, Andrey

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1925-1997) Russian dissident author and literary critic who published the manuscripts he smuggled into the West in the late 1950s and early 1960s under the name Abram Tertz. His identity became known when the Soviet authorities arrested him in 1966 and subjected him, along with his friend and fellow dissident Yuli Daniel (who wrote as Nikolai Arzhak), to a show trial; both were imprisoned; after his release, Sinyavsky was permitted to emigrate to France in 1973, where he found a position at the Sorbonne. Several of Sinyavsky's "fantastic stories" are of sf interest, most being assembled in Fantasticheskiye Povesti (coll 1961 Paris; trans Max Hayward and R Hingley as The Icicle and Other Stories 1963; vt Fantastic Stories 1963), though the most striking of all, "Pkhentz" (trans anon April 1966 Encounter; Russian text in Fantasticheski Mir Abrama Tertza, coll 1967), was only later smuggled to the West. In this story an Alien spaceship crashes in Russia leaving only one survivor, who is forced to exist for years in a desperate limbo under a false identity, passing for an ordinary citizen. "The Icicle" (1961) features a man of whose clairvoyant powers the state makes destructive use in its attempts to control the future. Sinyavsky's finest novel, Lyubimov (1963; trans Manya Harari as The Makepeace Experiment 1965), tells with warmth and power of the transformation of a small Russian village through the ability of one man to broadcast his will hypnotically through space (see Hypnosis); when he loses this power, robot tanks regain the village and he flees. The satirical implications of this allegorical recasting of the triumph of communism in Russia are obvious. At the same time, Sinyavsky's Satirical effects are mediated through an imagination deeply Russian in its metaphysical, fundamentally religious, Slavophile bent; his sf stories are slashing moral fables rather than political diatribes. For Freedom of Imagination (coll trans Laszlo Tikos and Murray Peppard 1971) contains speculations on the nature of sf. [JC]

see also: Taboos.

Andrey Donatevich Sinyavsky

born Moscow: 8 October 1925

died Paris: 25 February 1997


  • Fantasticheskiye Povesti (Paris: Instytut Literacki, 1961) as by Abram Tertz [coll: binding unknown/]
    • The Icicle and Other Stories (London: Collins and Harvill Press, 1963) as by Abram Tertz [coll: trans by Max Hayward and R Hingley of the above: hb/Charles Gorham]
      • Fantastic Stories (London: Collins and Harvill Press, 1965) as by Abram Tertz [vt of the above: hb/]
  • Lyubivom (Paris: Instytut Literacki, 1963) as by Abram Tertz [binding unknown/]
    • The Makepeace Experiment (New York: Pantheon, 1965) as by Abram Tertz [trans by Manya Harari of the above: hb/uncredited]


  • For Freedom of Imagination (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1971) [coll: trans by Laszlo Tikos and Murray Peppard from various sources: hb/]

about the author


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