It’s not often I have much to say on the publisher of a book, but in this case, I think its worth saying a few words before diving into our review. Founded in 1946 on Berlin’s Friedrichstraße from the ruins of the war, the publishing house Verlag Das Neue Berlin (New Berlin Publishers) would come to be perhaps the DDR’s second most important distributor of fantasy and science fiction (or “utopian fiction” as it was commonly known in the socialist world).
The publishing house Restless Books has been quietly translating some stellar Cuban science-fiction as of late. From the venerable Augstín de Rojas, author of the Espiral (Spiral) trilogy to the rocking trailblazer Yoss (real name José Miguel Sánchez Gómez), they’ve translated some of the best sci-fi from the island into English for the first time.
Welcome to The Eastern Bloc. This is the first post in what is hoped to be many, exploring the world of science fiction in the really existing socialist nations (past and present). Each month we will publish a piece exploring some production, film, novel, or other aspect of science fiction from the socialist world.
To keep our theme of firsts, today we will be reviewing the short story “The Piano-Tuner” (Настройщик Роялей) by Victor Kolupaev – the first short story I read in the Russian language.