Moscow That Never Was

Unrealised Moscow is a web site devoted to architectural drawings, created in the early 20th century, of buildings to be built in Moscow, glorifying the first Soviet state. Some of these buildings are really impressive looking, in a heavy handed, industrial way. The Soviet architects obviously loved arches, right angles, and heavy straight lines. That said, these drawings do look interesting. I especially like the Palace of Technology.

I may get asked: “Is this science fiction?”.

Maybe, maybe not. But it certainly is cool.

4 thoughts on “Moscow That Never Was”

  1. Sigh. Must I do everything? ;-)

    An easy way to tie this into science fiction is to briefly explore how sf has envisioned future cities. According to the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction by John Clute and Peter Nicholls (what, everyone doesn’t have a copy or three?), there are three stereotyped images of the city in modern day sf:

    1. The DOME CITY stereotype exaggerates the difference between the city and the surrounding wilderness and man’s desire to escape the city life for comparatively serenity of the ‘burbs. Examples of this sort include the 1909 story “The Machine Stops” by E.M. Forster, Arthur C. Clarke’s The City and the Stars and The World Inside by Robert Silverberg. Inversions of this theme are explored by Harlan Ellison in “A Boy and His Dog” and Greg Bear’s A Strength of Stones. One interesting twist on the escape theme is James Blish’s Cities in Flight in which the cities themselves are the vehicles of escape (via antigravity devices and spindizzies) rather that the environment from which to escape.
    2. The DECAYING CITY stereotype depicts the fall of civilization, an example of which includes City by Clifford Simak, a fix-up collection of short stories loosely banded together to mark the decline of human civilization. (I have a pre-sfsignal review of that somewhere. Maybe it’s time to dig it out and post a retro-review.). Other titles: Theodore Sturgeon’s short story “The Touch of Your Hand”, Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany
    3. and the recently reviewed Christopher Priest novel The Inverted World.

    4. The FUTURE CITY stereotype exaggerates the city’s form to stress its frightening and claustrophobic qualities. Examples here include Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov, and Fritz Lang’s Metropolis movie.

    City stories often examine the theme of overpopulation as is done in the recently reviewed 334 by Thomas M. Disch.

    Authors usually coin new terms to label these vast conglomerates of towers – Silverberg calls them “urbmons” and Philip K. Dick calls them “conapts” and “arcology” has been used a few times by others.

    Stories have also been known to celebrate the charismatic quality of cities such as in M. John Harrison’s The Pastel City and Brian Aldiss’ The Malacia Tapestry.

    And, over the years, several anthologies have used the cities as a common theme on which to base their selection of stories. For example: Cities of Wonder (1966) edited by Damon Knight, Future City (1973) edited by Roger Elwood and The City: 2000 A.D. edited by Martin H. Greenburg, Ralph Clem and Joseph Olander.

    See? It all ties in to science fiction!

  2. Well, the Soviet system definately was fiction. Whether it was fantasy or SF is another debate.

    Besides, a steady diet is boring. What’s wrong with tossing in the occasional non-SF posting? Super models, for example…

  3. Some cities to contemplate…”The Sheep Look Up”, “The Jagged Orbit”, “The Shockwave Rider” and “Stand on Zanzibar” all by John Brunner.

    Cities to give you nightmares.

Comments are closed.