Off-line interview

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Question One:

Is there a sequel to "The Mountain Pass" ["Pereval"]?

Sergej <>
Russia. 12 March 1999.

Kir Bulychev:

There is no sequel to "The Mountain Pass", although I'd like to write one. I imagined the action should continue on the same planet, but the characters have grown and lived a while in civilization, but for various reasons they go back. And they go back because the remains of some sort of civilization have been found there, or there is some other sort of McGuffin which to be found requires 'aborigines' who can survive there and remain unnoticed.

I was rather closer to writing a continuation of "The Witches's Underground" ["Podzemel'e vedem"]. I even roughly knew the plot and main characters. It turns out that Snow White isn't simply a savage, but the end result of the Witches's experiments. She is immortal. So she becomes the object of a hunt by those who want to possess her secret. There was another story line in there as well: the life of Bruce (the main character of "The Witches's Underground" - JHC) and the young savage in the narrow minded milieu of the future.

Maybe, if I had a chance to take my time with the book, it might prove interesting.

Question Two:

Igor Vsevolodovich!

Your post-soviet works are flooded with the idea that for all your life you've been a puppet bing lead about by your nose, and in such an unpleasant situation you've painting a beautiful, distant future for children. It's thanks to the Soviet power you hate so much that the real Alice Selezneva's dreams came true ' everyone know that she really became a biologist.

But what are you going to say to the present day naive and young Alices who now have no where to go and nothing to become other than indecent fashion models?

Aleksandr <>
Russia. 14 March 1999.

Kir Bulychev:

That's not a question but an attempt to steal my soapbox.

I suspect that the question's author never lived in Soviet times, but he now lives in disagreement with the surrounding world, and with his own problems. The indecent fashion models against whom rail while drooling at them on the sidewalk pay no attention to you.

Question Three


Dear Kir!

I'm 36, and for the most part of my life I'm tormented by a problem: who (or what) are SKRULLS? from the "Pirate Mother's box [Shkatulka piratskoi mamashi]" book. It would be Ok, if I didn't have a growing 12-years-old daughter, who has been tormenting me for a year now. Please, answer, uncover the mystery. Please. My daughter subscribes to this request.

P. S. Or else I'll complain to the United Nations.

dr.Watson <>
Moscow, Russia. 15 March 1999.

Kir Bulychev:

If you are really doctor Watson, you should have applied your inherent detective talent to guess that I have no idea about who are skruls. One of them lived with me for a while, fed on mealworms, we ate it, not aware if he was edible or not. Only a death message in unknown language was left of the scrul. He must have been unintelligent.

Question Four:

Hello! About a year ago I read another your wonderful book "Chronos River". I liked it very much, but I was confused by its ending: "end of first volume". I would like to know if it is a joke or there is really a sequel. Or maybe when is it going to be written? Thanks.

Mamentyev Aleksandr<>
Moscow, Russia. 7 march 1999.

Kir Bulychev:

I like "Chronos River" too. I want to make it good. The obstacles are: age, other business and shyness.

"End of first volume" appeared by the publishers' will and harmed the book greatly. Some refused to buy, others demanded a sequel. Everybody was dissatisfied.

Really, I thought: I'll write the first three books, and then we shall see.

Then I returned to the novel and wrote it, like in game. Battleship - killed! Submarine! Killed!

I write pieces of the novel, hoping to connect them someday.

I have already finished: "Academician-preserve" - sixth or eighth volume. Maybe ninth, maybe tenth - I don't know.

"Infant Frey" - part of fourteenth or fifteenth volume.

There are also three detectives - one of them published - from our days about Lidochka Berestova.

There is different miscellany.

Some pieces and scraps are written and not published. A huge stock!

Question Five:

Dear Igor Vsevolodovich!

We are fans of your stories about Alice and of the film "Guest from the future [Gostya iz budushchego]". We know that Natasha received this role only due to your efforts. We have a great desire to create a page about the film and Natasha. Earnest request: if you have time, please contact us. Anyway - thank you very much for your great books our Dad read, we read and our children will read with the same interest. And thanks to good people who created a great site.

With due respect, brothers Bushuev, 7-b class. Tyumen.

Yevgeny and Sergey <>
Tyumen, Russia, 18 March 1999.

Kir Bulychev:

Alas, my role in the casting was unsignificant. My opinion coincided with one of Arsenov and that's what came out of it.

If you need coordinates of Natasha Guseva, you'll have to ask Pavel Arsenov. Alas, I have lost her traces.

Question Six:

I simply like - in fact not simply but GREATLY like - all works of Igor Vsevolodovich. I am raised on them. And that's why I want to say that creating this page was a GOOD, no, EXCELLENT idea. The page is good and informative (for example, I found some books, I have been long searching for). I just want to thank the creators of this page and Igor Vsevolodovich simply for being!

Oll <>
Moscow, Russia. 19 March 1999.

Kir Bulychev:

Thanks for thanks!

Question Seven:

Hello! Thank you very much for your books (some of them are arguable though, but I still wish to note that my acquaitance with sci-fi began with Bulychev's books). Question (a bit too long, but I still ask you to listen): I am an editor-in-chief of a youth newspaper "NEO" (distributed at the Far East). I will be in the capital soon. Is it possible to take an interview? What is required for it? If you don't communicate with journalists, is it possible to contact via e-mail? It would be a great gift for your Far East readers. Thanks in advance. I wish you creative success!

Arseniy Mariengof<>
Vladivostok, Russia. 19 March 1999.

Kir Bulychev:

When you are in Moscow - phone me.

Question Eight:

Hello! Looks like I'm going to be the first. I'll try to be original... My acquaintance with Kir Bulychev's books began from watching the "Mystery of The Third Planet [Taina tretiei planety]" cartoon. Then TV plays, movies, and of course the "Guest from the Future" came. I believe I don't have to tell about the effect this film had upon girls and boys - it is still remembered. It is a pity that there is almost no information about this film neither in the press nor in the nets. What do you think about the idea of creating a page of one film? I think that such a page would interest many.

Sergey Utkin<>
Petersburg, Russia. 21 March 1999.

Kir Bulychev:

Maybe you should contact Evgeny and Sergey who asked a similar question?

It was a time when in Zhukovsky there existed the "Alisa Selezneva" club with the mathematician Sergey Yeliseev in chief. He died recently and as always the club dissipated. And it had a bulletin and information about films and Guseva.

Question Nine:

I have been dreaming to thank my favourite writer for a long time. Thanks to you I BECAME a biologist! And I'm finishing university. I dreamt so much to become exactly a cosmobiologist like Alisa's dad, dreamt of going to the stars and different planets... The first stage is complete and you'll see - I'll fly to Mars and will be a COSMObiologist! I consider you my godfather.

Thanks for listening.

Irishka <>
Tomsk, Russia. 1 April 1999.

Kir Bulychev:

Thanks! Because there is sense in life when someone's life becomes more interesting due to your existence.

Question Ten:

Dear Igor Vsevolodovich, God grant you health for your wonderful books we all grew upon, that help us live and that we will certainly read to our children! And thanks to the people who created this page, we were crazy when we knew that long-awaited Kir Bulychev's page appeared in the Internet, where many of our favourite books can be found. But it is a pity that the link to the text of "Mysterty of the third planet" doesn't work, we hope it is a temporary occurence. We wish you all the best!

P. S. Recently we advised our colleague to read "Gai-do", he nearly fell off his chair when he found a mention of our native Wrozlaw in the text.

Students we are <>
Wrozlaw, Poland. 7 April 1999.

Kir Bulychev:

I have special relations with Wrozlaw.

My dear friend and translator Tadeush Gosk lived there and now there lives Anita Gosk. That's why I've been to Wrozlaw a thousand times.

There lives a pani I've been in love with for twenty years, alas, the love was purely platonic. Her name is Magdalena.

Now there lives my friend, Polish writer who takes care of publishing my works in Poland - Yevgeny Dembsky.

There is a wonderful museum Shtuki Medalierskoi I have been to, and in its catalogue of Polish military insignia there are more than a hundred of references to my works on Polish insignia.

Is it not enough to love Wrozlaw?

Question Eleven:


I love your works VERY MUCH (especially about Alisa) and recently I realized that your later stories about her somehow differ from the earlier ones. They are less technocratic and are more like pure fairy-tales instead. I would like to know: why did you make such a step?

Ralph Mirebs <>
Novosibirsk, Russia. 7 April 1999.

Kir Bulychev:

I don't think the early stories about Alisa were technocratic. But it is true that I try to find some new ways. Because otherwise you begin to build stories from old bricks.

Question Twelve:


In your books a world of victorious Good is described. I must confess that they are one of the few I can read, because in general stories about people bore me to death! And so, about that good in your works: What is your opinion about the Bible? And I want to make myself more clear: not about religion in general but about the Bible.

Thank you in advance for the question.

Wishing creative (and every other) success.


Arest Mark <>
Naifa, Israel. 26 April 1999.

Kir Bulychev:

Bible is the book of books. I admire it, although I don't consider myself a religious man. Maybe you know that most of the sci-fi writers are sceptics. But the Bible is the greatest manifestation of human creation, that's why it is so diverse and sometimes inconsequent, it can be cruel and kind, it knows everything, can be naive and wise.

Question Thirteen:

Alexander is right, dear writer! Why did you insult him, reducing it all to Freud and other complexes? Many decent people are now at odds with the world. Not everybody can be popular SF-writers, someone has to read it all. Don't you understand that spitting into the well of history is a harmful and senseless pursuit? It's painful and sad to see your last opuses. You spit at your own mirror. I mourn for russian sci-fi.

Shooter <>
Russia. 2 May 1999.

Kir Bulychev:

Why do you have to scold? Ok, I spit at my own mirror. So why do you read all that? Turn to something more respectable.

Question Fourteen:

Hello, Igor Vsevolodovich!

I'm an admirer of your works. I'm especially deeply moved by the warm-heartedness and simpleness of your works from "Velikiy Guslyar" collection. I'd like to ask: Do you still write about inhabitants of this amazing town?

Russia. 3 May 1999.

Kir Bulychev:

Yes, I do. A book will soon be out at "Armada" publishers.

Question Fifteenth:

I read your novel "Pet". I'm striked by the idea. But the finale is not clear. Is it an "everything will be fine" case or a hint to a sequel?

Dmitry <>
Kaliningrad, Russia. 13 May 1999.

Kir Bulychev:

When I worked in cinema, I met two types of directors. First one is Richard Viktorov. He asked me every day: "What do we want to say with that?". The second one is Georgy Danelia. Answering my question about what did we want to say with that he said: "Let the critics decide what we wanted to say. They are paid for that".

Question Sixteen:

I read your new stories "View at the battle from the height" and "Old Year" from the "Shadow Theatre" cycle. Pray tell, are there any new stories from this cycle and how will the plot unfold in the next books?

Thank you in advance.

Kharkov, Ukraine. 21 May 1999.

Kir Bulychev:

I wrote the third and the last novel from the "Shadow Theatre", where the storylines collide. It is called "Operation "Viper"".

In that novel the lower, timeless world wants to destroy us, the living.

The novel was being written for "Armada", but the publishing house splitted and is now unable to publish all three novels.

I'm now negotiating with "AST" and "Olma-press".

We'll see.

Question Seventeen:

Dear Igor Vsevolodovich!

I can offer you an idea about continuing the cycle of novels and short stories about Alisa. Almost in all your books from this cycle Alisa is ten or twelve years old. It is understandable, especially considering that they are for readers of similar age. I propose the following: what if you allow Alisa to grow a little? Say, to fifteen or sixteen years? You could show the problems and thoughts peculiar to this age... The theme of first love. I.e. widen the age frames of the cycle. This books are loved not only by children. They attract by their purity and special naiveness, that is - alas! - rare in our life. But they can be made a little more serious without straying from the chosen style. I have some thoughts on this topic that I wish to share with you.
To be sincere, something has already been written by me... For myself.
Unprofessionally written, but it is not the main thing. The main thing is the idea.
If there is a possibility, please contact me as soon as you can. But I would prefer to talk to you personally.

P. S. To the authors of the page: please pass this message over to Igor Vsevolodovich. It's important.

Alexander <>
Moscow, Russia. 30 May 1999.

Kir Bulychev:

Thanks for the advice! Such a problem has already risen before me. It is rational an logical.

But Alisa is really a mask. I think she can grow up within the limits of reasonability. In my books she grew up from six to twelve. And I'm afraid that it's the limit.

The problem is in keeping the mask recognizeable.

Aging mask spoils the effect of waiting.

Let's consider a situation: a mother goes for a walk with her child, sees a book about Alisa and says: "I read this myself twenty years ago". And she remembers that Alisa was a first-grade stugent. Or someone "childish".

And she begins to read to her daughter about how Alisa kisses with a boy at Aldebaran in a tent, and then they like cynical kids of the future decide, was she "caught" or not?

I'm afraid the mother will be angry with me.

I've come to a compromise. I created a new hypostasis of Alisa - Kora from InterGpol. I began her from seventeen and led to a little over twenty. So that my readers would not have any doubts, I even made Kora meet Alisa. Maybe it's not the best solution, but didn't invent anything better. If you will invent something better with the older Alisa - keep trying and publish it, I have nothing against it.

Question Eighteen:

Dear Kir Bulychev!

Great thanks to you for your great books. It all started with Alisa and ended with serious works. Your books were the thing that helped me confirm my dream. I am grateful for it and I'm sure that many people would say the same. Now I know what books my children will have. And you know, Alisa doesn't have to grow up. She is an eternal child. Thank you again for all your books, for your humor, for being who you are. God grant you all the best. And for me, you became the God.

With love.

Lana <>
Moscow, Russia. 17 June 1999.

Kir Bulychev:

Thanks - you are my ally. I just answered another man why Alisa must not grow up. Also it's not honest to exxagerate my importance, because today I went by a mirror and incidentally looked at it - was not prepared for the meeting, did not pull in the belly, did not knit the brows, did not pout my cheeks, did not smooth the wrinkles - so I'm much more upset since morning than because of another critic saying that I've written myself out and that it's time for me to be finished with.

Question Nineteen:

Good time to you!

You know, since far childhood Kir Bulychev remained in my memories as the author of kind sci-fi things like "Guest from the future": About a month ago I stumbled upon a book with the title "Death a storey below". For me it was a SHOCK! Dear Kir, how did you produce such a thing... with the same "Guest..." on background?

Kirill <>
Moscow, Russia. 27 June 1999.

Question Twenty:

With shudder in my heart I remember your early books, which I was lucky enough to read at a young age. Those were very good works. I felt with your characters. It can be said that I grew up with them, reading threadbare books in libraries. And then... Then I came across the "City without memory", as you correctly said in the interview, when Alisa has already grown up... It was not the same... And "Adventures of Zauri the slave" just "killed" me. They "stinked" like art for masses so much! About the same time there was the notorious "Slave Izaura" on TV. Don't you think that a crisis of the genre began for you in that time? Speaking sincerely, not to spoil the impression of you as a writer I never bought another your book since then.

Sazonov Sergey <>
Smolensk, Russia. 15 June 1999.

Question Twenty One:

It seems that lately your "Adventures of Alisa" books began to resemble comics: "Alisa and that", "Alisa and this"... Will a book "Alisa and hackers" or "Alisa in cyberspace" ever be written? It's fashionable today. When you write your books, do you follow "fashion"? Are you a time-server (in the good sense)?

Las <>
Moscow, Russia. 21 June 1999.

Kir Bulychev:

First of all a general answer for questions of the same kind.

They all come to such an idea: Why did you, so bright and sunny, begin to write badly, so rudely and inelegantly? It's a shock! It's horrible, I don't read you anymore! And so on...

These questions a born from lack of information about my work. I have never been a PINK writer. But it was not always possible to publish what I wanted. It's curious that all my critics mention early tales about Alisa and Guslyar short stories as a summit of my work. But no one mentions the same "Last War" - my first novel, not so very pink at all.

Since the first days of my work I had to write into the desk. I suppose no matter how badly do you judge me, I was the only one among our sci-fi writers who did not join the Party the Writers Union and has never signed a letter in my life.

At the same time, when I wrote and write for children I suppose that the written must carry some educational function. Children's things must be composed by the laws of the fairy-tale. Good must win!

And concerning the frequent criticizm speculating that I wrote "Alisa" well and then became to write badly, this can happen not because of my imperfection (or not only my imperfection) but because the critics grew up. They began to read me being children and in ten years they returned to the same stories and were surprized - it turns out that there are Chekhov and Paustovsky, and they write better than Bulychev! Then, Bulychev was good and became bad. No, dear Sazonov Sergey from Smolensk, it was you who grew up and Bulychev remained as he was. And no need to be proud because you stopped buying my books. You just guessed that there are books better than mine and it doesn't mean that I became a "commercial" writer. Understand, I have been called a "commercial" writer since I began to write. Open the "Encyclopaedia of science fiction" that was published recently and you'll find out that I was commercial since I was born. That is, my books were being bought, which is unforgivable. I never considered myself a great writer but I was never untrue to myself and never changed myself. You may argue of course, but since the first days and till now I write in the same way and don't change my position. My story "Osechka-67" was written into the table in 1968 and filmed at Len-TV in autumn, 1993 and shown in the beginning of October. On the night of the assault of TV

And the source of Las's doubts if I'm a time-server is the lack of information. If you look at any of these books' back cover, you'll see the titles of stories included in the book. "Armada" publishers just invented the series "Alisa and..." and all my stories about Alisa were collected in it with such conventional names. There is no "lately". It's a publishers' trick.

Question Twenty Two:

A modest request from a hopeless romantic.

Universally respected Igor Vsevolodovich! I desire very much that you would write a sequel to the story "A hundred years ago in the future [Sto let tomu vpered - D.L.]" Maybe it already exists? If not, be sure to write it! It will be a real hit, I guarantee!

With best wishes and deepest respect, Sharapov A.N.

Andrey <>
Moscow, Russia. 4 July 1999.

Kir Bulychev:

I don't know what to write about in the sequel to the story. Even more so that Natasha Guseva grew up and Pavel Arsenov died recently. And there is no one to film a sequel and no one to play in it...

Question Twenty Three:

Dear Kir Bulychev!

Recently I read (avidly!) a four-volume "InterGalactic Police" about Kora Orvat. An excellent series and, what occures not so very often, every next story is more interesting than the previous. Are there plans to prolong this series? (About Kora only - I don't mean works from the "Kora-Alisa" series).

Dmitriy <>
Chicago, USA. 10 July 1999.

Kir Bulychev:

Thank you! I want to write a sequel very much, but there is no publishers' interest. In particular, I desire to write a detective in which Kora's children take part - e.g. three huge chickens, who are on a tour around the Galaxy as a trio. And they resort to their "physiological mother" when a tragedy happens in their group.

Question Twenty Four:

Do you like to be so famous?

Izhevsk, Russia. 14 July 1999.

Kir Bulychev:

I'm famous for you, but I'm not recognized in the streets. And thank God!

Question Twenty Five:

Good life for all!

I decided to share my great joy! In the Off-line interview I found words for me! It is a feast! I realized once again that good books are a drug... in good sense. Recently I were on vacation at Maleevka. Some Literature Foundation representatives were there too. And my eyes kept looking for your face. I didn't succeed... Perhaps, you do not go there, it's a pity...

I'm surprised with myself again. I would never think of receiving a reply from you. How rude I am, I forgot to say "THANKS"! Wish you good luck and fresh wind!

Lana <>
Moscow, Russia. 26 august 1999.

Kir Bulychev:

Thank you for your care! All the best!

Question Twenty Six:

Igor Vsevolodovich!

You are being disturbed by Neonilla from Saint-Petersburg, I visited you several years ago. Recently I read your "Excess Twin"... Is your heroine's name somehow connected with our acquaintance? I desire to have an autograph on this book. Now I'm the head of Saint-Petersburg FOUNDATION OF LIFE PROLONGATION. If it's possible, please respond, I would like very much to have a permission to write directly to you, bypassing the editors.

With due respect, Neonilla.

Neonilla Samukhina<>
Saint-Petersburg, Russia. 12 September 1999.

Kir Bulychev:

Write to my home. Manakov will give you my address.

Question Twenty Seven:

Dear Igor Vsevolodovich!

I think that not only I wonder whether you are going to continue the "Pavlysh" cycle? I liked the novels "Last War" and "Settlement". How did you come by the idea of the novel "Last War"? Why did you publish it so rarely and did you think about writing a sequel to it?

With due respect, Andrey.

Kharkov, Ukraine. 21 September 1999.

Kir Bulychev:

Theoretically I think - I would be all right to write. But time has changed and it's hard to return to far past. I would rather write the second part of "Witches Dungeon" and I even invented a plot once.

Question Twenty Eight:

How fast is the time running. Fifteen years ago I watched the "Guest from the future" film and now my daughter Alisa is seven months old. That's how it is. Great thanks to you for writing the books we grew upon as decent people.

Vladimir Seleznev<>
Moscow, Russia. 21 September 1999.

Kir Bulychev:

Greetings to Alisa Vladimirovna! Give me your address, I'll send Alisa a book - our post will deliver it in about five years.

Question Twenty Nine:

Igor Vsevolodovich!

I'm sure that not only me but many other visitors of your page are interested by the question of modern publishing world. I know that it is hard for novice authors to "break through" to the reader, very hard to publish their works. I'd like to receive your advice (since you are well-versed in these affairs). What advice would you give to the beginning authors? What, besides the creative value of their works can interest the publisher? What to do if the publisher offers to share the expenses and you can't raise the required sum?

Thank you!

Aleksandr <>
Moscow, Russia. 25 September 1999.

Kir Bulychev:

I now how hard it is to make you way. But it has always been this way. It is even better now, since in the past when you were told "no" in one place, it usually meant - Universal "no". If the publisher offers to share the expenses, offer him all the profit and propose him to give you a part of the books. I did so, especially when I wrote reference and special books. I can't give you any advice - haven't got any. It is a matter of persistence and luck. One is a consequence of another. I'm always confused by authors who write a "great story" and offer it for ten years, being an offended author. I support this practice (always followed it myseld) - don't want this one - we'll write more and more. Do you know that I have about seven or eight unpublished books? And I live with it. Since we are not Tolstoys, we have to work - sorry for a trivial advice.

Question Thirty:

Dear Igor Vsevolodovich! I wish you a long life and new books!

Five years ago I communicated with you, you even gave me your address and phone, but due to my modesty I did not risk to disturb you. In the beginning of this year my book was published at Tver. I would like you to read my so called works. If it would not be hard for you, please tell how can I do so.

Wish you health and all the best!

Tver, Russia. 18 October 1999.

Kir Bulychev:

Send the book, I'll read it.

Question Thirty One:

Dear Kir! You and your great stories have come into my life when I was very little. You were at the "Uzkoye" resort on a vacation and often came to the library where my mother, Zhbanova Lyudmila Pavlovna, worked. One day you made me a present - a badge, a star with something (alas, I don't know what) on it. And this present has become my amulet, it is always with me. In childhood I began to write stories about animals. Now I write space sci-fi, but not many adults read it, mainly children 10-15 years old, and they like it. I would publish a book with great pleasure, but it is too expensive for me. If you become interested, I will e-mail you my stories.

With due respect, your fan Olga.

Olga <>
Urai, Russia. 19 October 1999.

Kir Bulychev:

Send the stories.

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(c) Kir Bulychev, 1998-2003
(c) "RuSF", 1998-2007. Main editor Dmitriy Vatolin
(c) Design Dmitriy Vatolin, Mikhail Manakov, 1998
(c) Decorating Ekaterina Maltseva, 1998; Vladimir Nikitin, 1999
(c) Translation into English John H. Costello, 1999
(c) Translation into English Denis Lianda , 2002
Editor Mikhail Manakov
Typing, make-up, preparation Mikhail Manakov
Proofreading ?
Last modification of the page: 20.05.2002
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