Quick Study: Sergei Lukyanenko is one of Russia’s bestselling, best-loved, and best-honored science fiction writers.
The Lukyanenko File: Sergei Lukyanenko, a trained psychiatrist, has won numerous prizes for his science fiction and fantasy novels, many of which have also been bestsellers. Film adaptations have been wildly successful: the film version of Day Watch, the second installment of Lukyanenko’s Watch pentalogy, broke Russian box office records. Lukyanenko was first published as a fiction writer in the late 1980s, making a breakthrough in 1998 with his first Watch book, Night Watch, an urban fantasy novel. Lukyanenko in 1999 became the youngest winner of the Aelita award for contributions to the development of the fantasy genre. Some of his books have been adapted into board and computer games.
Psssst………: Lukyanenko initially went into medicine because he’s from a family of doctors; his wife is a psychologist. He has been known to keep pet mice and has a collection of hundreds of mice made of materials ranging from crystal to chocolate.
Lukyanenko’s Places: Born in Karatau, Kazakhstan, lives and works in Moscow.
The Word on Lukyanenko: Anatolii Gusev wrote in Knizhnoe obozrenie that Lukyanenko’s Last Watch is decent urban fantasy with a detective novel plot, saying, “Of course this isn’t the book that’s going to change your life—if you’re older than fifteen—but the reading is very light and fun.”
Lukyanenko on Lukyanenko: Lukyanenko’s Web site says he defines his genre as action-packed fantasy or fantasy of the journey. Lukyanenko also acknowledges his early imitation of the styles of Vladislav Krapivin and Robert Heinlein.
On Reading and Writing: Lukyanenko said in an interview with the magazine Foma that many readers seem to want to live in a world that resembles fantasy novels and might like to see, among other things, “elves dancing around and hobbits carrying a ring somewhere.” But Lukyanenko says an artistic text should not be so fully identified with and projected onto reality, adding, “A folktale should be read as a folktale.” When asked in an online chat session in January 2012 if he planned to extend his writing to Twitter, Lukyanenko said no, it’s not his format. (And he added a smiling emoticon.)
Lukyanenko Recommends: The Strugatsky Brothers. When questioned by the newspaper Izvestiia about favorite children’s books, Lukyanenko mentioned enjoying the works of Astrid Lindgren, the Brothers Grimm, and Hans Christian Anderson as well as Nikolai Nosov’s Neznaika and Monteiro Lobato’s The Yellow Woodpecker Farm. He also says he loved fantasy books as a child, mentioning Ivan Yefremov’s Andromeda: A Space-Age Tale.
Photo credit: A. Savin, Creative Commons