By Nikolai Krementsov
Much like Vladimir Lenin, his onetime rival for the management of the Bolshevik celebration in the course of its adolescence, Alexander Bogdanov (1873–1928) was once a visionary. In technological know-how fiction novels set on Mars, Bogdanov imagined a destiny during which the employees of the realm, liberated from capitalist exploitation, create a “physiological collective” that rejuvenates and unites its contributors via common blood exchanges. yet Bogdanov was once now not basically a dreamer. He labored tirelessly to popularize and discover his imaginative and prescient, founding the 1st learn institute dedicated to the technological know-how of blood transfusion.
In A Martian Stranded on Earth, the 1st broad-based publication on Bogdanov in English, Nikolai Krementsov examines Bogdanov’s roles as progressive, novelist, and scientist, proposing his protagonist as a coherent philosopher who pursued his principles in quite a lot of venues. in the course of the lens of Bogdanov’s involvement with blood stories on one hand, and of his fictional and philosophical writings at the different, Krementsov bargains a nuanced research of the interactions among medical rules and societal values.
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Extra resources for A Martian Stranded on Earth: Alexander Bogdanov, Blood Transfusions, and Proletarian Science
Ten days later, Iosif Maiants (1925), one of Gesse’s assistants, presented a long report on “blood transfusions in gynecological and surgical practice” to a meeting of the Leningrad Society of Gynecologists and Obstetricians attended by nearly one hundred members. Blood transfusions attracted the close attention of gynecologists and obstetricians, who more than any other disciplinary group among physicians dealt with excessive blood loss in their daily practice. The same year, Alexander Mandel’shtam (1925), an assistant professor at the gynecological clinic of the Institute for Doctors’ Continuing Education, published a description of a simplified method of blood typing he had developed.
If asked, Bogdanov himself would probably have answered these questions with one word: “nauka,” the Russian word for science. In a way, he did so in his poem “A Martian Stranded on Earth,” written in October 1920 and published as a supplement to a 1924 edition of his science-Â�fiction novel Red Star. In this “autobiographical” poem, a lonely Martian is stranded on Earth, all his comrades having died in the crash of their vessel. He cannot return to his planet, and it is “the voice of dispassionate science” that saves him from despair and thoughts of suicide (Bogdanov 1924b, 168).
He returned to Russia illegally, and while living (together with Lenin) in Finland, less than a hundred miles from St. Petersburg, he took an active part in the political struggles of the time, publishing on a variety of issues in the party’s periodicals. In late 1907, together with Lenin, Bogdanov again moved abroad to become a lead editor of the party’s main journal, The Proletarian. During these busy years, Bogdanov did not limit his work exclusively to the pressing issues of day-Â�to-Â�day practical politics and revolutionary propaganda.