Harry Harrison, a science fiction classic writer, became a special guest at the international congress of science fiction writers Eurocon-2008 in Moscow. In an interview with RBC daily the author of The Stainless Steel Rat said that the USA is gradually becoming a totalitarian state. The author praised Russia for its unusual interest in literature and criticized Russian science fiction for its lack of dynamics and a low level of literary techniques.
“The culture undergoes serious changes – these changes are not always progressive. Within several years of Bush’s rule the American democratic power has turned into the state of a fascist or Stalinist type – the president violates the Constitution, such key principles as freedom of speech and freedom of conscience,” the 83-year-old science fiction writer said in the interview.
“Moreover, the USA behaves absolutely undemocratically towards the world: the USA ignores interests of other countries and it does not even try to understand them. As a result, the USA is simply unaware of the situation in the world and thus it’s unaware of the course it takes. It is a vivid illustration of reversible social and cultural progress.”
However, the writer remains optimistic and reminds that “any totalitarian regime is doomed to collapse sooner or later, and the most difficult problems will be successfully solved sooner or later.” “Mankind has the saving mechanism of self-regulation – bad times cannot last long.” He said.
Harry Harrison was surprised with Russians’ extensive reading: “Within the same period of time a book of mine hardly sells in the USA, two and a half in the UK and ten books in Russia. Americans almost gave up reading at all: in your food stores I met saleswomen who are well up in science fiction. That’s why Russia has become more attractive for a science fiction writer.”
“The secret of a bestseller is the optimal correlation of ideas and action. Traditionally Russian fans pay more attention to the idea of a novel, while action is hardly developing with a poor plot and excessive scientific details – here the general accent on studying the applied sciences in the USSR comes into play. Books by American writers (mine as well) are full of action, which makes a book reader-friendly.”
Translated by Julia Bulygina
At present, America is logged in major conflicts with both Russia and China. With Russia, the conflict is in Ukraine, and with China, it is in Taiwan