Article ID: CBB790586523

Thought Transfer and Mind Control between Science and Fiction: Fedor Il’in’s The Valley of New Life (1928) (2019)


This essay makes a detailed analysis of the contents and contexts of a science fiction novel published in Moscow in 1928, and written by gynecologist Fedor Il’in (1873–1959) under the title The Valley of New Life. The analysis illuminates the process of the transformation of the specialized, and often quite arcane, scientific knowledge generated by biomedical research into an influential cultural resource that embodied acute societal anxieties (both hopes and fears) about the powers unleashed by the rapid development of the biomedical sciences. It explores the future scientific advances—bio- and psychotechnologies—portrayed in Il’in’s novel in light of contemporary research, and especially focuses on studies of telepathy. The essay depicts the “translation” of available scientific descriptions and explanations of telepathy into a highly metaphorical language of science fiction, and the resulting formation of a particular cultural resource embedded in such popular notions as “mental energy,” “thought transfer,” “radio-brain,” “nervous waves,” “psychic rays,” and “mind control.” It examines how and for what purposes this cultural resource was utilized by scientists, their patrons, and literati (journalists and writers) in Bolshevik Russia, Britain, and the United States.

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Article Amanda Rees; Iwan Rhys Morus (2019) Presenting Futures Past: Science Fiction and the History of Science. Osiris: A Research Journal Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences (pp. 1-15). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Ljudmilla Chapovalova
Carlo Paghetti
Raffaella Vassena
Marco Castellari
Morag Shiach
Candela, Andrea
Slavic Review
Science-Fiction Studies
Science and Education
Osiris: A Research Journal Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
Nuncius: Annali di Storia della Scienza
Journal of Social History
University of California, Santa Barbara
Wesleyan University Press
University of Chicago Press
UCL Press
Petra Books
Science fiction
Science and literature
Science and culture
Public understanding of science
Science and ethics
Popular culture
Wells, Herbert George
Bogdanov, A. Aleksandr
Zamiatin, Evgeniǐ Ivanovich
Bryusov, Valery Yakovlevich
Tolstoy, Aleksey Nikolayevich
Tereshkova, Valentina
Time Periods
20th century
20th century, early
19th century
20th century, late
21st century
United States
Great Britain
Soviet Union
United Kingdom

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