Study of the Month – Alexander Petrovich Kazantsev: A life between science, fiction, and science-fiction

by Siegfried Hornecker

Let us journey a bit. Now we’re in Akmolinsk (later often known as Zelinograd, Aqmola, Astana, and Nur-Sultan), a small Russian Fortress and settlement established in 1830 (unbeknowingly only a bit west of the Scythian grave of the Golden Man and others, often known as “Issyk kurgan”). What at present is Kazakhstan is on the time of the Scythians a part of their empire north of Parthia and Arabia, east of the Roman Empire. In the fifteenth century the Khazakh Khanate is based, and later Russia takes management, so by 2 September 1906, simply round 22 months previous to the Tunguska occasion, Akmolinsk lies in Russian Kazakhstan, the fortress doubtless is slowly rising right into a metropolis (33,209 inhabitants by 1939).

The important two methods of elevating the inhabitants are immigration and beginning. Alexander Petrovich Kazantsev (2 September 1906 – 13 September 2002) is not any exception. Born in Akmolinsk, he studied in Tomsk and after graduating from their Polytechnic University made his earnings on the Soviet Research Institute of Electromechanics. Writing a film script in 1936, he will need to have been disillusioned to see this script not changed into the proposed Arenida. But his setback is our acquire, as Kazantsev reworked his story and revealed it as Пылающий остров (actually “Blazing Island”, usually known as “Burning Island”) in 1939/1940. So far our info stems from numerous Wikipedia articles in German and English. (Yours Truly should intervene: It appears that whereas each Wikipedia and Vallée – see under – discuss the identical Institute the place Kazantsev studied, by 1930 it was really named Dzerzhinsky Siberian Technological Institute since 1925).

Was the Tunguska occasion attributable to aliens?

In 1992, Jacques Vallée’s e-book “UFO chronicles of the Soviet Union: A samizdat” detailed “An evening with Alexander Kazantsev” in its ninth chapter. According to this, Vallée with Martine Castello visited Alexander Kazantsev in his house close to Moscow University in January 1990. Tunguska researcher Alexis Zolotov already was in Kazantsev’s cozy examine at the moment.

Vallée additional wrote that Kazantsev, already a prolific science-fiction creator on the time, in 1946 put forth the speculation that aliens triggered the Tunguska explosion with an antimatter-fueled spaceship. This led to controversy and debate. In 1959, Zolotov and Kazantsev got here into contact, and a 1975 expedition certainly discovered an odd metallic close to the Varta River that regarded manufactured, consisting of uncommon components fused collectively, together with 67 p.c caesium, 10 p.c lanthanum, and neodymium. It remained a thriller how these parts have been fused collectively. The discuss concerning the magnetic anomaly of the discovered object in Kazantsev’s house in January 1990 led to a discuss Russian engineers Tsander and Karalin, the latter of whom supposedly by 1910 was near utilizing superconductors. After some extra discuss, the topic modified to the January 29, 1986 crash of an object close to Dalnegorsk.While the Dalnegorsk object apparently had a classy technological system, no proof of extraterrestrial origin was discovered by the group that analyzed the thing. Kazantsev remained in touch with these researchers.

The night went into basic discuss UFOlogy afterwards, whereas Kazantsev remained an appreciated host, serving cognac and exhibiting a small assortment of Japanese statuettes with goggles and a respiratory equipment. This closes Vallée’s account on the night.

Certainly Kazantsev would have loved the brand new American “glasnost” about UFO encounters, with the United States admitting that flying objects of unknown origin – now known as “UAP” or “Unidentified Aerial Phenomena” – have been sighted over 400 occasions up to now 50 years.

So was the Tunguska explosion attributable to extraterrestrials? The thesis put ahead by Kazantsev in “Explosion” is only one of many, and these days even volcanic exercise is just not disregarded as reason behind the Tunguska explosion. Many scientists consider an asteroid with the ability of round 2 to five megatons of TNT exploded above the area. As a comparability, the Hiroshima bomb had an influence of round 16 kilotons of TNT, i.e. solely round 0.3 p.c of no matter exploded above Tunguska. This additionally exhibits that if no matter occurred at Tunguska would have occurred above a metropolis and densely populated space, an unprecedented disaster for mankind would have occurred.

Alien theories

Human civilization, or quite humanity itself, was supposedly descending naturally from different animals, an unknown ancestor of each apes and people. Other theories exist about how people or life itself got here into existence on Earth. Theories of panspermia – the unintentional or intentional “infection” with life from different planets – may set the reason for the very first traces of life, the primordial life, as having come from different planets, photo voltaic programs, and even galaxies. The query how organic life got here to exist within the first place stays unanswered, solely the fatherland could be moved away from Earth with this principle. Religious texts may attribute the creation of life to a divine origin, such because the Bible talking of an almight God, but additionally later of the Elohim who visited the Earth. Were these historical aliens in human type that attributable to their superior expertise have been mistaken for gods? Many occasions within the Bible have occurred in a single type or one other, most notably the nice flood. If these visits additionally occurred, they might be equivalent to the “ancient astronauts” principle. Those two matters (panspermia, historical astronauts) are simply two concepts which can be replicated in science-fiction literature. Alexander Kazantsev wrote some science-fiction and in addition non-fiction books, we consult with Wikipedia for a small listing. I do not know if Kazantsev wrote concerning the each themes above, however he believed within the “ancient astronauts” principle, from what I gathered from the Vallée e-book.

Let us take a look at a Russian article in English language rapidly. We study that Russian science-fiction drastically influenced a filmmaker within the United States. Mainly the works of Ivan Efremov (1908 – 1972) have been the heavy inspiration for this younger screenwriter with the identify of George Lucas when he produced a sort of science-fiction fantasy film “Star Wars”. After the perestroika, Lucas traveled to the Soviet Union the place he wished to satisfy one other film maker, Pavel Klushantsev. What impressed Lucas about Klushantsev? Well, he had created a science-fiction film in 1962 titled Планета бурь (“Planet of Storms”). The story was not written by Efremov one other Russian science-fiction creator. If you adopted the article thus far, you may simply guess that stated creator was Alexander Petrovich Kazantsev. So we are able to infer that George Lucas not directly was a fan of Alexander Kazantsev.

Another two attention-grabbing particulars from the lifetime of Alexander Kazantsev is advised by Wikipedia. The 1939 World Fair was held in New York City. Our hero was a part of the Russian crew that traveled to the occasion and constructed the Russian pavilion. He remained in New York City for a number of months. If you adopted the timeline, that was in the course of the time when Kazantsev was writing his revision of the unpublished Arenida, which was revealed as his debut novel in the identical or following yr.

The tensions escalated in Europe. Adolf Hitler (German Empire) and Joseph Stalin (Soviet Union) waged a fierce struggle, and in 1941 Kazantsev joined the Russian Army. He was adorned and have become a colonel, and because the struggle was received, he settled in Peredelkino, a dacha complicated for writers to the southwest of Moscow. Later, he will need to have moved into Moscow, as Vallée visited Kazantsev in an house close to Moscow University in 1990. Vallée needed to climb stairs to that house, which sounds in contrast to a dacha. Furthermore Dmitri Turevski confirmed to Yours Truly that “Peredelkino is nowhere near the MSU”.

Returning to Vallée’s e-book, he writes that in 1966 his correspondence with Kazantsev began. In the yr that adopted, an article by them was revealed in a pupil journal for scientific hypothesis, however it was picked up by the newspaper Trud. The e-book provides the supply for the article:

Alexander Kazantsev and Jacques Vallee, “What Is Flying in Our Skies?” Young Technology Magazine, no.8 (1965) and Trud, 24 August 1967.

This factors in direction of the Young Technology Magazine trailing with its publications, or a typo within the supply, because the article in difficulty 8 (1965) was revealed in 1966 or 1967. In any case, after the large newspaper Trud reprinted the article, huge recognition of the article adopted along with discussions about its contents. This may need match into the occasions (pun supposed) on the early Space Age, because the controversial newspaper “New York Times” revealed an article by its creator Henry Kamm on 10 December 1967: “A Soviet Astronomer Suggests World Study of Flying Saucers”. This was a few discovery of Soviet astronomer Cholomitsky who thought he discovered clever indicators from a supply within the Pegasus constellation. A committee was shaped to analyze these indicators, Kazantsev was considered one of its vice-presidents.

Those and extra tales present that Kazantsev had a lifelong curiosity in not solely science-fiction, but additionally science and UFOlogy. Likely many extra particulars might be written about right here, however in any case our articles are about chess. And there one query about aliens will stay unanswered…

Would aliens get pleasure from endgame research?

Another vital occasion in Kazantsev’s life is just not talked about by Vallée, and solely mentioned and not using a date by Wikipedia. In 1926, Kazantsev revealed his first chess endgame examine. Of course – would Yours Truly write about some of the well-known science-fiction authors of the twentieth century if there was no relation to our month-to-month matter? Possibly, however not right here. The works of the younger grasp have been bold, but additionally usually damaged. However, in 1933 the next lovely examine was revealed in “64” as a part of a match between Moscow and Leningrad, a thematic tourney.


Alexander Kazantsev, Moscow Leningrad match. “64”, August 1933.

White to maneuver and win.

The high precedence is creation of a handed pawn, however then Black will defend by bringing his knight nearer – through c3 and d5 to e7 or e4 to d6, planning to cease the pawn from respectively g6 or f7. Two routes to h8. How can White forestall this?

Obituaries for Kazantsev have been printed in EG 146 (October 2002), web page 643, and EG 147, web page 687. Most of the brief obituary in difficulty 146 is reprinted under:

A composer of spectacular research in good concord along with his science fiction writings, he was in firstly of the FIDE PCCC and current at Piran in 1958, however by no means President.

The FIDE PCCC is the Permanent Commission of the FIDE for Chess Composition. This is these days succeeded by the World Federation for Chess Composition.

The obituary written by John Roycroft in EG 147 affords completely different life information than Wikipedia: 6 September 1906 – 14 September 2002. Roycroft writes about Kazantsev that “little is known about his private or public life”. He assumes Kazantsev to be a part of the nomenklatura institution, as Kazantsev was allowed to journey overseas and was a member of the retroactively despised Writers’ Union with ongoing publications of his chess and science-fiction works. This appears confirmed (amongst different issues) by the 100,000 copies first version of Caissa’s Gift in 1983, Roycroft continues. Despite having composed solely round 70 endgame research, their content material was of top quality. Natural settings have been used to point out inventive renditions, however this opened the door to analytical flaws, accounting for a excessive variety of modifications and corrections within the databases. As of October 2020, there are 154 entries within the database of Harold van der Heijden (and 6 extra by V. Kazantsev). As of January 2003, when the obituary was revealed, there have been 100 entries.

Kazantsev co-authored The Soviet Chess Study (1955). This is, in line with Roycroft, Kazantsev’s enduring legacy in chess, aside from the endgame research. In the 1983 e-book Caissa’s Gift Kazantsev’s endgame research and science-fiction works seem, in addition to visitor authors Alexander Gurvich and academian B. A. Zakharov.

Kazantsev’s pure settings, even when usually incorrect, invited readers from all taking part in strengths to replay them. At the identical time, he set himself excessive requirements. Those are mirrored not solely in his endgame research, however in science-fiction additionally, each of which converged inside days of Kazantsev’s demise when Andrey Visokosov revealed an personal science-fiction story named Parallel Universes with a Ryabinin endgame examine. A becoming hommage to the lifelong creator of each genres. Moscow’s on the time practically new periodical “The Chess Week” revealed the story.

Note: The titles of books have been translated by John Roycroft within the EG article, so I can solely give the translated names. Caissa’s Gift is Dar Kaissi (2nd version from 1983) however in Cyrillic.

The darkish facet of the moon

While the article was practically completed, extra info in Russian language got here to mild that portrays Kazantsev in a far much less optimistic method.

Ant Skalandis writes in “Братья Стругацкие” (“The Strugatsky Brothers”, to not be confused with the e-book of the identical identify from late 2011, formally 2012, by Dmitry Volodikin and Gennady Prashkevich, which focuses additionally strongly on the fantasy works and accommodates completely different details about the brothers Arkady and Boris Strugatsky) that Kazantsev denounced different science-fiction authors and had a powerful distaste for western science-fiction. As an instance, in 1963 he verbally attacked Genrikh Altov and Valentina Zhuravlovya. In the next years, he had a foul relationship in direction of the Strugatsky Brothers. From the start, the connection to Ant Skalandis was considered one of mutual rejection. In 1966 Kazantsev denounced the inclusion of overseas works within the World Fantasy Library. A decade later, in 1976, it grew to become identified to what diploma Kazantsev and Kolpakov have been brainwashed by Soviet propaganda, when their denounciations written to “Pravda” got here to mild. The content material of which, even when simply hinted at within the e-book by Skalandis, is simply too heavy to repeat right here.

We took this info from web page 152 to 154 of an Online out there model of the e-book alone.

All in all, it appears that evidently Kazantsev, away from writing and composing, was a deeply troubled persona, one which he himself didn’t acknowledge. He blindly believed within the superiority on Soviet science-fiction, and fantasy additionally. But there he passionately fought towards even western influences.

We begun our article with Kazantsev’s science-fiction views on aliens. We finish it being alienated by Kazantsev’s views on science-fiction. Or quite we finish it with a few of his endgame research, which must be loved regardless.



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