Funny What You Find When You Go Looking

I’ve been wandering down strange paths looking for dinosaur related things. After (and before) yesterday’s post, I’ve been doing web searches of the form ‘[author name] dinosaur’ and seeing what pops up.

One thing I stumbled on from ‘Judith Merril dinosaur’ was this https://archive.org/stream/MerrilEdPathIntoTheUnknown/Merril_ed%20-%20Path%20into%20the%20Unknown_djvu.txt

Which is an OCR scan of a collection of Soviet science-fiction stories edited by Judith Merril in 1968 called “Paths Into the Unknown: The Best of Soviet Science Fiction”. It announces itself breathlessly:

DIRECT FROM RUSSIA TODAY! A MIND-BLASTING GALAXY OF FAR-OUT, EXCITING SF STORIES! The Best of Soviet Science Fiction

“A SIGNIFICANT EVENT. . . . THE FIRST SOVIET SCIENCE FICTION ANTHOLOGY WE HAVE HAD WHICH SUITS CURRENT AMERICAN SF TASTES”
Judith Merril, perhaps the world’s greatest science fiction authority.
During recent years, in Russia as in the West, a gigantic scientific-technological revolution has taken place. In science fiction, a similar great leap forward has been achieved. Here are the finest stories by the greatest of Russian SF masters—stories that will amaze, intrigue and delight as they take you into the strange, fantastic, all too real worlds of tomorrow. HERE IS THE MOST FASCINATING SCIENCE FICTION COLLECTION OF THE YEAR.

I didn’t have time to read it all but obviously did a search for ‘dinosaur’ which led me to the story (novelette?) “The Boy” by Gennady Gor. I can’t say I’d heard of him before but it is a weird and intriguing story.

It has a story within a story structure. A teenager is recounting his interactions with another boy in his class called Gromov. The story starts with the class teacher reading to the class Gromov’s homework — a story that Gromov had written:

He began to read. He read magnificently and we felt at once that the story was about something very strange and extraordinary. About a boy lost in the cold, boundless universe.

The Boy had been born along the way, among the stars, and the spaceship, a copy in miniature of the planet left behind, to which the grown-ups, his mother and father and companions failed to get used to in the course of a decade, was to him something ordinary and habitual like our school-yard was to us. Somewhere in the infiniteness of the universe they had left far behind the dense evergreen forests, blue rivers, houses full of merriment and noise and long roads. The Boy could watch all this on the screen, but to him it was all bits of dreams. Perhaps all this had never really existed . . . ?

The Boy by Gennady Gor in Paths Into the Unknown: The Best of Soviet Science Fiction” ed Judith Merril

The story goes on from there and touches on cryptozoology and the deep past and alien discoveries. I really enjoyed it.

Anyway, as you may have guessed, instead of finishing a different post I spent my time reading an old Soviet sci-fi story instead. 🙂 It might get a mention in the dinography as it does mention dinosaurs as well as proto-mammals and pleisosaurs (including one found in a Scottish loch).


3 thoughts on “Funny What You Find When You Go Looking

  1. “Anyway, as you may have guessed, instead of finishing a different post I spent my time reading an old Soviet sci-fi story instead.”

    We may not be able to define “fan” in so many words, but dammit, I know it when I see it! 😉

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  2. Oh, thanks for this (and thanks to the great Judith Merril, of course). Was just thinking about revisiting Soviet SF. Don’t think I’ve even read the two Strugatsky stories.

    Looks like a nice clean OCR file (archive.org files can be almost unreadable), should convert neatly to .epub/mobi I hope. And, e or non-e, a book should always have a cover too, I think. I like the original Dell one, small version here on Goodreads:

    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12369762-path-into-the-unknown

    I love those 60s semi-abstract covers – why can’t video game worlds look like that?

    Oh – I’ve examined a bigger version closely and there is not a single dinosaur on the cover, perhaps you or Timothy could add one?

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