The Bull's Hour

The Bull's Hour

"The Bull's Hour" (alternatively: "The Ox Hour") ( _ru. Час Быка, "Tcha's Byka' ") is a social science fiction novel written by Russian author and paleontologist Ivan Yefremov in 1968. It was banned in the Soviet Union six months after its publication and attempted to be taken out from all the libraries and bookshops throughout the country [" [ The Mentor] ." (PDF)] when it was realized by the authorities to contain a sharp criticism of the current state of affairs in the USSR though pretending to be critical of Chinese brand of political communist system.

This novel is considered a sequel to the 1957 novel "", even though the cast of characters is entirely different, due to the occasional reference made to the previous volume. For example, the main character in "The Bull's Hour" is a female historian who on one occasion remembers most of the notable "Andromeda" characters as historical figures.

Plot summary

A futuristic Communnist Earth has just developed the faster-than-light travel based on the experiment of Ren Boz (described in "The Andromeda Nebula"). Using the new technology, Earth constructs "straight-beam" starships which travel by sliding on the edge between our Universe (Shakti) and the Anti-Universe (Tamas). The second ship of that kind, Dark Flame, departs from the Solar System on a mission to a habitable planet Tormance (the name is borrowed from David Lindsay's "A Voyage to Arcturus") in the Lynx constellation, which was reported by alien space voyagers from Cepheus to be colonized by humans, thought to be Earth escapees from the Age before World Unification.

The society of this distant planet is labelled by Efremov as an "Inferno" and "an amalgamation of a Capitalism in its worst form and of a Chinese pseudo-socialism" where ordinary workers's lives are limited to 26 local years ("short-living", KZI) while scientists, artists, sportists and other selected qualified professionals live longer ("long-living", DZI). Both KZI and DZI are under the ruthless control of the government bureaucracy ("snake-carriers") and the police forces ("lilac"), which in turn are under the direct command of the Council of Four and its Chairman, the actual Ruler the planet.

The plot follows the Communnist crew, who sacrificed some lives including the life of the expedition commander, historian Fuy Rodis, for the sake of the class-free future of the planet and of his people's children. Their interference is predominantly through providing information about Earth's past and present, analyses of the economical, social and political situation on the planet and explaining the ideology for class struggle to the local dicidents, but they also provide a selective short memory-eraser (a modifier of social and behavioural skills) to be used as a weapon by the local resistance forces. Also, some of the crew (esp. Rodis) have the mental capacity to do the same sort of influence without use of the device (though with less efficiency, comparable to the Jedi mind trick from Star Wars and the neuralizer from Men in Black). Every member of the crew was also accompanied by a robot with nine legs called "SDF" (Servant, Defender and Freighter).

The book's strong anti-Chinese sentiment was added because the novel was written in the time of the Sino-Soviet split. There are some interesting references to this antipathy found throughout the novel; for example, the gardens of the Dictator of the Planet were called "Zoam Gardens", an obvious backward reading for Mao Zedong, The Council of Four represented the Chinese Gang of Four. Even the name of the novel derived from an old (1909) Chinese-Russian dictionary (quoting the phrase "Earth is born in the Bull's hour (or Daemon's hour, 2:00 am)"). This quote also appeared in the epigraph of the novel.

Main characters

Starship "Dark Flame" Crew

*Fuy Rodis, expedition commander, historian
*Grif Rift, annihilation drive engineer, starship commander
*Vir Norin, astronavigator-I
*Menta Cor, astronavigator-II
*Div Simbel, pilot-engineer
*Gan Atal, armour belt defence engineer
*Nei Holly, biological defence engineer
*Sol Sain, computational devices engineer
*Olla Dez, communication and photography officer
*Evisa Tanet, medical officer, StarFlot Doctor
*Tivisa Henako, biologist
*Chedi Daan, sociologist, linguist
*Tor Lik, astrophysicist, planetologist

Planet Tormance characters

*Choyo Chagas, Chairman of the Big Four, Ruler of the Planet
*Gen Shi, Zet Ug, Ka Loof, his deputies, other members of the Big Four
*Yantre Yahah, his wife
*Er Vo-Bia, his girlfriend
*Hontello Tollo Fraelle (or Taele), his information officer
*Yan Gao-Yuar (Yangar), commander of the "Lilac"
*Su An-Te (Su-Te), Tormance girl
*Kzer Boo-Yam, leader of the "KZI" ("shortlivers")


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Нужен реферат?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • The Heart of the Serpent —   …   Wikipedia

  • The Blessed Virgin Mary —     The Blessed Virgin Mary     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► The Blessed Virgin Mary     The Blessed Virgin Mary is the mother of Jesus Christ, the mother of God.     In general, the theology and history of Mary the Mother of God follow the… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Bull Mountain, Oregon — is an unincorporated community in Washington County, Oregon, United States. Bull Mountain is located mostly on a hill for which the community is named. It is bordered on the east by Tigard, on the south by King City, and Beaverton lies to the… …   Wikipedia

  • The Sacrament of Penance —     The Sacrament of Penance     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► The Sacrament of Penance     Penance is a sacrament of the New Law instituted by Christ in which forgiveness of sins committed after baptism is granted through the priest s absolution to… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Hour record — The hour record for bicycles is the record for the longest distance cycled in one hour on a bicycle. There are several classes of records. The most famous is for upright bicycles meeting the technical requirements of the Union Cycliste… …   Wikipedia

  • Bull Pen Pep Band — The Bull Pen Pep Band is a 45 member musical group that performs at all home games for the Houston Texans franchise of the National Football League. The band plays at home games and various other marketing, promotional and community outreach… …   Wikipedia

  • The Carthusian Order —     The Carthusian Order     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► The Carthusian Order     The name is derived from the French chartreuse through the Latin cartusia, of which the English charterhouse is a corruption. For the foundation of the order see the… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • The Carmelite Order —     The Carmelite Order     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► The Carmelite Order     One of the mendicant orders.     Origin     The date of the foundation of the Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel has been under discussion from the fourteenth century to …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • The Irish (in Countries Other Than Ireland) —     The Irish (in countries other than Ireland)     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► The Irish (in countries other than Ireland)     I. IN THE UNITED STATES     Who were the first Irish to land on the American continent and the time of their arrival are …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • The Outsiders (professional wrestling) — The Outsiders Statistics Members Kevin Nash Scott Hall Name(s) The Outsiders The Band Heights 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m) Nash 6 ft 7 in (2.01 …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”