Ad notam. Diverse years' notes/1.3

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Andrei Shmalko, historian, specialist for Mycenaean culture and professor of Kharkov National University. At the same time he is Andrei Valentinov, the author of over a dozen of books and creator of a new genre – “kryptohistory” (a mixture of fantasy, folk-history, science fiction, detective story and real history – as you like it). His books (“Eye of Power”, “Oria”,“Deserter”) are being sold for shortly after its appearing. Today he is PRAVDA.Ru guest.

Q. There are many historians among science fiction writers. How could you explain it?

A. There are not so many historians among science fiction writers. The fact that some historians write science fiction could be explained rather with personal motives, but not with the history peculiarities. The history does not like fantasy. Not many of my colleagues like the genre chosen by myself. There is no direct link between the science of history and fiction. But history, as I have already written, sometimes makes such turns which are much stranger than fiction.

Q. Why did you get keen on antiquity? Was it Plutarchos you started with?

A. Yes, with Plutarchos, too. When I studies at the Kharkiv State University, I wrote a paper on Ancient Rome. I did not want to write of present-day affairs citing proceedings of another communist party congress – the history of Rome allowed me to avoid that. Then I really got keen on it.

Q. The antique hero – is he possible nowadays?

A. Possible. But better do without such. Despite of all their virtues, antique heroes were lacking conscience. I was not until Christianity that man started to be accountable to himself. Earlier, people had been only accountable to their home city, their family, their country, their gods. In other cases, everything were allowed in antique times. So, Nietzsche with his “blonde Bestie” returns 2 millennia back, to the “beautiful childhood of mankind.”

Q. Yes, we do know something about antiquity. But as Slavic antiquity is concerned, it is still almost entirely a myth.

A. Slavic antiquity is not at all a myth. But you have to read real historian, not amateurs, to know the truth. As for the term “Ancient Rus,” it is long obsolete. In reality, there was “Kiev Rus.”

Q. Nowadays, hundreds of thousands read fiction, but 20 years ago millions read it. What are the reason for such a reduction in readership? Who is to blame, and what is to be done? A. Rome collapsed. Barbarians ruined temples. Ovidius fell into oblivion. As for Russia, while the country was coming tumbling down, people has been disaccustomed to read, to be cultured. What we are witenssing now is a process of decivilazation, so to say. At htat, we ourselves are largely to blame, not the Yankees with theri globalization and computer games. It is very difficult torectify, since at school know-nothing teachers educate know-nothing pupils. Book has hopelessly become a commodity.

Written down by

Andrei Lubensky