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Andromeda Nebula

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If you are looking for an article about the galaxy which was once called the Andromeda Nebula, please see Andromeda Galaxy.

Andromeda Nebula (in Russian Туманность Андромеды, Tumannost' Andromedy) is a science fiction novel by the Russian novelist and writer of short stories Ivan Efremov[1] (http://www.astro.spbu.ru/staff/serg/interests/literature/efremov/list.html), written and published in 1957. It is known in French as La Nébuleuse d'Andromède.

This is a classic communist utopia set in a distant future. Throughout the novel, the author's attention is focused on the social and cultural aspects of the society; there are several principal heroes (a historian, an archeologist, a starship captain) involved in several lines of action. Though the world shown in the novel is portrayed as ideal, there's an attempt to show a conflict and its resolution with a (voluntary) punishment of a scientist whose reckless experiment caused damage. There's also a fair amount of action in the episodes where the crew of a starship fight alien predators.

Several civilizations of our Galaxy, including Earth, are united in the Great Circle whose members exchange and relay scientific and cultural information. Notably, there's no faster-than-light travel or communication in this world, so interstellar missions sent by Earth are few and can only reach close stars, and the Great Circle civilizations almost never meet in person. The Great Circle radio transmissions are pictured as taking the energy of the whole Earth and therefore infrequent; one of such transmissions is a lecture on the history of the Earth civilization which gives the author an opportunity to put his world into a historic context.

Critics have accused this novel of being overly dry and illustrative, its heroes being more of philosophical ideas than live people. Nevertheless, the novel was a major milestone in Soviet sci-fi literature, which before that was much more short-sighted (never venturing more than a few decades into the future) and focusing on technical inventions rather than social issues. It has been said that the booming Soviet sci-fi of 1960s, including such authors as Strugatsky brothers, would have been impossible or at least very different without this breakthrough novel.

fr:La Nébuleuse d'Andromède

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