Thursday, June 28, 2012

Coming out from the Cold

My wife has been reading Marina's Thirtieth Love, one of Vladimir Sorokin's early novels, which she says is crazy mix of sex and mayhem.  Sorokin was part of the came of age in the mid 70s, defying authorities and publishing his books in undeground magazines like Spring and Mitya's Journal.  This book comes from that period.   It doesn't seem as though it has been translated into English, but another book from that period is The Queue

I recently ordered the Ice Trilogy, which has received rave reviews.  Sorokin takes in a grand sweep in these three novels, covering the Soviet experiment and its collapse in a "band of brothers" who,

seek out their kin and re-unite them. Perfect impersonators of meat-machine ways, they employ a sort of magic-ice hammer. When pounded on the chest of a fellow-angel, it releases blissful feelings of content and so awakens the victim to their special status. For the initiates, once enlightened, "the absolute majority of people on this earth are walking dead". Their only role is to serve the flaxen-haired elite and so hasten the longed-for apocalypse.

In that sense, he seems to carry forward the grand tradition of Soviet science fiction, through which many writers projected their feelings and criticisms in regard to the Soviet Union.  Oddly enough, Sorokin ran afoul of the law in 2002 on charges of pornography, in response to his book Blue Bacon Fat, in which he implied Stalin was gay.  Since then he has become an international celebrity.

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