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Wednesday, 24 July 2019

60th Anniversary of 'The Land Of Crimson Clouds' Publication, Today’s Doodle

Today’s Doodle celebrates The Land of Crimson Clouds, a novel by Russian authors Boris and Arkady Strugatsky, published on this day in 1959. Perhaps the most influential science fiction writers in Russian history, the pair was inspired to collaborate on their first book together through a friendly bet. Arkady wagered his wife Yelena that he and his brother, who studied astronomy in Leningrad, could write a better science fiction novel than those being published in Russia at the time.

60th-Anniversary-of-The-Land-Of-Crimson-Clouds-Publication-Today-Doodle


Censorship guidelines had restricted some of their predecessors, but in the 1950s a “thaw” was taking place, allowing writers greater freedom of expression. Completed in 1957, the same year as Russia’s historic Sputnik mission, Strana bagrovykh tuch (The Land of Crimson Clouds) is the story of a voyage to the planet Venus, set in the late 20th century. Presenting an optimistic view of the future, the Strugatsky brothers foresaw a world where technology and social progress went hand in hand, with photon-drive rockets carrying explorers to Venus in search of uranium to help generate nuclear power.


Although they lived hundreds of miles from each other, the Strugatskys went on to collaborate on over 25 novels. Their follow-up, Noon: 22nd Century, introduced the “Noon Universe,” interpreted by some as an allegory for the ideals of the Soviet Union, a world filled with intelligent, hard-working people happily engaged in interesting work.



By the late 1960s, the brothers increasingly used their writing to offer subtle critiques of authoritarian government, setting the action in faraway universes. Although some of their later works were censored for political reasons, their family has since made all their work available online as the writers originally intended.
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