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yellow blue tibia, pt. 1

Yellow Blue Tibia is probably the most (personally) important book I didn’t get to read last year because Amazon was shitty at mailing it to me from the UK – a science fiction novel about Soviet SF authors secretly convened by Stalin in ’46 to think up a new threat after America collapses.  The opening is equal parts Bakhnov-style riff on politically correct Soviet science fiction and wide-eyed parody of Herman Kahn’s nuclear planning and wargaming at RAND, which should sound more promising than it is.  So far Adam Roberts seems to have a pretty shaky grasp on Soviet SF culture; the world he’s created has no notion of the “near target” (blizkaia tsel’) or Stalin’s conflicts with SF authors that led to the end of all SF publishing before the Great Patriotic War.  Also, it brings up a question I’ve never pondered before: can an author make references to real figures he probably doesn’t know exist?  The narrator, Konstantin Andreiovich Skvorecky, appears to be something of a vague parody of Ivan Yefremov, having written science fiction about alternate classical worlds, while another seems to be a vague reference to Vladimir Obruchev.  Of course, I’m only about a third of the way through, so we’ll see how it develops…

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