NO RETURN by Alexander Kabakov


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This tiny (100-page) book, the first dystopian fantasy to come out of Soviet Russia, shows the searing result of the breakdown of perestroika, and of Russia itself, in 1993. Kabakov's hero Yuri Ilich, a time-traveling physicist, reports to his unnamed institute on his trip to the near future, following the Great Leveling and the rise of barbade General Ranayev: the economy has collapsed; money is worthless; outlaw gangs roam the streets competing with the murderous but all-too-lawful Commission for National Security; citizens go about armed with Kalashnikovs; food and consumer goods are virtually unattainable (all watches, for example, have been confiscated after too many of them were used as timing devices for bombs). On the international front, the Baltic states are independent; Poland is neutral; the Washington Post is identified as ""the American Communist newspaper""; and nuclear devices are commonly used in skirmishes. The culprit behind these outrages is resistance to perestroika--dramatized most devastatingly in Igor Vasilyevich and Sergei Ivanovich, two KGB hacks who wait in the present for Yuri Ilich to report whether he's recognized any of his colleagues among the future criminals and dissidents--and who effectively learn that the ""military hospital surgery"" fated to wipe out the Soviet dictatorship will be followed by social chaos. Part 1984, part Mad Max, part Brazil: a hysterical scream from a future that could begin tomorrow.

Pub Date: Oct. 31st, 1990
Publisher: Morrow