Yevgeny Ivanovich Zamyatin (January 20 (Julian) / February 1 (Gregorian), 1884 – March 10, 1937) was a controversial Russian author of science fiction and political satire, who was banned and exiled for his polemic against the oppressive communist regime. Despite having been a prominent Old Bolshevik, Zamyatin was deeply disturbed by the policies pursued by the CPSU following the October Revolution. He is most famous for his 1921 novel We, a story set in a dystopian future police state. In 1921, We became the first work banned by the Soviet censorship board. Ultimately, Zamyatin arranged for We to be smuggled to the West for publication. The subsequent outrage this sparked within the Party and the Union of Soviet Writers led directly to Zamyatin’s successful request for exile from his homeland. Due to his use of literature to criticize Soviet society, Zamyatin has been referred to as one of the first Soviet dissidents.
Janusz Andrzej Zajdel (15 August 1938 in Warsaw – 19 July 1985 in Warsaw) was a prominent Polishscience fiction author, second in popularity in Poland after Stanisław Lem. His writing career started in 1965. His novels were recognized as the best in science fiction in Poland in 1982 (Limes inferior) and in 1984 (Paradyzja). He was a Trustee of World SF. He died of cancer after three years of fighting the disease.
Zajdel’s most important works are of social and dystopian fiction. In his works, he envisions totalitarian states and collapsed societies. His heroes are desperately trying to find sense in world around them, sometimes, as in Cylinder van Troffa, they are outsiders from a different time or place, trying to adapt to a new environment. The main recurring theme in his works is a comparison of the readers’ gloomy, hopeless situations to what may happen in a space environment if we carry totalitarian ideas and habits into space worlds: Red Space Republics or Space Labour Camps, or both.
His works have been translated into Belorussian, Bulgarian, Czech, Esperanto, Finnish, German, Hungarian, Russian and Slovenian.
Frederik Pohl dedicated the anthology Tales From The Planet Earth to Zajdel and A. Bertram Chandler. This book also contains the English translation of one of Zajdel’s short stories, “Particularly Difficult Territory”. It is his only work to have been translated into English to date.
Both authors wrote dystopian fiction.
If you’ve noticed my absence recently, it’s because I’m not here or there. But I am somewhere and will hopefully return soon to write my A to Z Challenge roundup, or whatever it’s called.
Many thanks to everyone who commented, liked, RTd and shared.