Magazine article New Internationalist

S.N.U.F.F

Magazine article New Internationalist

S.N.U.F.F

Article excerpt

S.N.U.F.F by Victor Pelevin translated from the Russian by Andrew Bromfield (Gollancz, ISBN 978147321302)

Science Fiction as satire on political systems and social trends has a long and distinguished history stretching back to 1984, Brave New World and (the granddaddy of these more famous dystopias) Yevgeny Zamyatin's We. Following in these illustrious footsteps is Russian novelist Victor Pelevin with S.N.U.F.F, which he styles as a 'utopia'. Set many hundreds of years in the future, society is literally stratified, with the privileged elite living a hightech high life on a floating city, Byzantium ('Big Byz' to its inhabitants) and the poor scratching a subsistence living on the surface in war-torn Urkania. War is vital to the economy of both airborne and earthbound states, with the citizenry of Urkania embroiled in endless baroque, staged conflicts, which the population of Byzantium view as their primary source of entertainment. …

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