Lyuben Dilov (1927-2008) is the first name in Bulgarian science-fiction and an iconic intellectual of the post-communist transitional period. Besides being a national treasure, his works have sold millions of copies in Russia, Germany, Japan, and beyond.


Two of his seminal Soviet-era novels, The Missed Chance (1981) & Unfinished Novel of a Student (1982) make their English-language debut in 2022.,


The ease of the author’s narrative direction and, paradoxically, the uneasiness it could lead to had been well exercised in his earlier work. But these early 1980's masterworks (along with The Cruel Experiment (1985) ) are the height of Dilov's biting satirical offerings. He often faced accusations of concealing his criticism of the Zhivkov regime behind a veneer of time travel and spaceships. In the post-communist period, with increased freedom to do so, Dilov dropped the pretense and wrote mostly non-fiction. His next novel wouldn't be released until 1999.





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Dilov’s early non-fiction works and non-fantastic narratives had been well received and earned the young author a reputation, and a dream for the better technology of the future:


"it’s much more fair for your file to be filled in with video or tape recordings of what you’ve actually said than through the free retelling exercises of future or current writers."


His first science-fiction novel, The Atomic Man (1958) was initially held-up at the state publisher, there being no hard sci-fi frame of reference in the country at that time. The book was unsuccessful, but nonetheless warranted a second printing; the new edition gives the protagonist a nationality-transplant from American to Bulgarian. A lesser artist might have despaired at the imposition of obtuse moral coordinates, but Dilov seemingly accepted the challenge and embarked on a decades long journey to reveal what is truly located at those coordinates...




FURTHER READING

dilov.info

official website of Lyuben Dilov and Lyuben Dilov Jr.