Aliens are Monsters Too

I’m putting together a brief list of major Russian literary and cinematic extraterrestrials for the Ashgate Encyclopedia of Monsters (forthcoming 2012). If you hadn’t thought of aliens in teratological terms before, I can only agree – ghosts and witches count as monsters too for the purposes of the encyclopedia. I only have 600 words to cover Russian ETs, alas, and as the encyclopedia is prejudiced in favour of English-language monsters, I’ve had to cut mercilessly. In the process of research (i.e., by asking Matthias Schwartz), I discovered this astonishingly detailed online list of Russian-language extraterrestrials (with a few Western ones too). At the moment I’ve included:

  • Bogdanov’s Martians
  • A.N. Tolstoy’s Martians
  • The Strugatskys’ Wanderers, Visitors (from Piknik na obochine) and Martians (from Vtoroe nashestvie marsian)
  • Siniavskii’s “Pkhents”!
  • Solaris, via Lem AND Tarkovsky
  • Efremov’s tentacled nasties from the iron sun’s satellite in Tumannost’ Andromedy

If anyone picks up an outrageous omission, or would like to put forward an especially interesting alien, please comment here and I will try to include it. MM


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kevin Reese
    Aug 27, 2011 @ 17:05:32

    Some minor monster/aliens from Soviet sf, possibly not significant enough to make the encyclopedia entry:

    1. The silver-haired crocodile-like creatures that prowl the surface of Mars (and eat capitalists) in _Martynov’s 220 dnei na zvedolete_ [1955].

    2. The titular bioengineered creature of Emtsev and Parnov’s _Dusha mira_ [1964], a kind of enormous jelly creature that forcibly unites the minds of every human on Earth.

    3. The “intelligent dog” golovany in the Strugatskiis’ _Obitaemyi ostrov_, _Zhuk v muraveinike_, and _Volny gasiat veter_.

    4. The “psevdoliudi” in Braider and Chadovich’s “Poselok na kraiu Galaktiki” [1986], creatures who coalesce out of cosmic dust to form poor approximations of humans.

    5. The bizarre aliens (possibly former humans) who inhabit a perversion of heaven at the end of Platonov’s (and Bakhmet’ev’s) “Rasskaz o mnogikh interesnykh veshchakh” [1923].

    6. It may be a stretch, but the collective “Ivan” giant in Maiakovskii’s _150,000,000_ is a kind of modern monster.


  2. odoevsky
    Aug 27, 2011 @ 20:15:01

    Many thanks for this list, Kevin! The encyclopedia doesn’t have space to be include all but the most culturally prominent non-English-language monsters, although it has certainly tried to be as inclusive as possible. I’m glad you have shared your truly encyclopedic knowledge with us anyway!


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