History Main / SovietSuperScience

19th Jan '17 5:07:23 AM Morgenthaler
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* Pops up in some of Charles Stross' stories. In the novelette ''A Colder War'', set in an AlternateHistory where the Cold War was fought with the powers of the [[{{CthulhuMythos}} Great Old Ones]], the Soviets not only weaponize shoggoths and deployed them in Afghanistan, but they have an ultimate doomsday weapon called 'K-Thulu' in a giant concrete bunker in the Ukraine. ''Missile Gap,'' set in a world where Earth of 1962 was duplicated and laid on a gigantic disc, has the Soviet Union exploring the new world in a giant nuclear-powered [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ground_effect_vehicle ekranoplan]].

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* Pops up in some of Charles Stross' stories. In the novelette ''A Colder War'', set in an AlternateHistory where the Cold War was fought with the powers of the [[{{CthulhuMythos}} [[Franchise/CthulhuMythos Great Old Ones]], the Soviets not only weaponize shoggoths and deployed them in Afghanistan, but they have an ultimate doomsday weapon called 'K-Thulu' in a giant concrete bunker in the Ukraine. ''Missile Gap,'' set in a world where Earth of 1962 was duplicated and laid on a gigantic disc, has the Soviet Union exploring the new world in a giant nuclear-powered [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ground_effect_vehicle ekranoplan]].
6th Jan '17 9:26:22 PM steam66
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* The date is October 4, 1957. Sitting on the pad is a modified R-7 rocket, the world's first operational ICBM. But on this day, it doesn't carry a warhead- it carries a small metal sphere, about the size of a beach ball, with four whip like antennae and a radio transmitter. It is known as PS-1- "Elementary Satellite 1"- by the Russians, and soon, to the rest of the world, it would be known as "Sputnik 1". On that day, the Russians blew the United States out of the water with the massive triumph of the world's first functioning artificial satellite. Anybody who doubted the existence of the Sputnik could simply tune to a certain frequency (a bit higher than 20 MHZ, according to the Russian press) and hear its transmitter's steady beeping signal. Before this, the overwhelming idea of Russia to most Americans was a backwards country that could not compete with the US's might- after this, it suddenly became superior in most Americans' minds, a juggernaut nation that had to be contained at all costs. American politicians gazed up at the small, visible polished sphere passing over their heads and wondered what else the Soviets could carry into space- perhaps nuclear warheads, military spacecraft, or something worse. While it did not return much data itself, being a simple battery transmitter in space, its legacy kickstarted the Space Race, and led to a certain American taking the first steps on the Moon in 1969.



* And let's not forget the nasty shock that Sputnik caused, triggering the race to the Moon.
28th Dec '16 11:18:39 PM Xtifr
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* {{Discussed}} and {{averted}} in ''[[TheLaundrySeries The Fuller Memorandum]]'' by Creator/CharlesStross. Unlike [[{{Ghostapo}} the Nazis]] and the West, the Soviets never really got into the occult intelligence business because of counterproductive state policies. State-sponsored atheism contradicts the requirement of believing in [[EldritchAbomination demonic intelligences beyond our spacetime]], and preventing development of computers makes "magic" (which is really applied higher mathematics, physics, and computer science) much more difficult. After the fall of communism however, the Russians caught up fast.

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* {{Discussed}} and {{averted}} in ''[[TheLaundrySeries The Fuller Memorandum]]'' ''Literature/TheFullerMemorandum'' by Creator/CharlesStross. Unlike [[{{Ghostapo}} the Nazis]] and the West, the Soviets never really got into the occult intelligence business because of counterproductive state policies. State-sponsored atheism contradicts the requirement of believing in [[EldritchAbomination demonic intelligences beyond our spacetime]], and preventing development of computers makes "magic" (which is really applied higher mathematics, physics, and computer science) much more difficult. After the fall of communism however, the Russians caught up fast.
28th Dec '16 11:17:54 PM Xtifr
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** Similarly, one of the {{MacGuffin}}s at the core of ''[[TheLaundrySeries The Jennifer Morgue]]'' is a "Gravedust" rig on a sunken Russian submarine that British intelligence believe was used to seek guidance from recently-deceased Politburo members in case the West struck first. [[spoiler: It turns out to be built to dial up something much, ''much'' older...]]

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** Similarly, one of the {{MacGuffin}}s at the core of ''[[TheLaundrySeries The Jennifer Morgue]]'' ''Literature/TheJenniferMorgue'' is a "Gravedust" rig on a sunken Russian submarine that British intelligence believe was used to seek guidance from recently-deceased Politburo members in case the West struck first. [[spoiler: It turns out to be built to dial up something much, ''much'' older...]]
23rd Dec '16 7:25:29 AM JustTroper
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All in all, the Soviets had a mixed record as far as science goes - they [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yuri_Gagarin put the first man in space]], but also brought the world [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lysenkoism Lysenkoism]] and [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punitive_psychiatry_in_the_Soviet_Union the abuse of psychiatry for "rehabilitation" purposes]]. The USSR pioneered [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radial_Keratotomy modern corrective eye surgery]], yet fell behind in steel manufacturing, despite experimenting with it the longest. The Soviets, however, [[ILoveNuclearPower loved Nuclear Power]], the world's first nuclear power plant to generate electricity for a power grid went online in USSR. Too bad [[{{UsefulNotes/Chernobyl}} a certain accident]] [[NeverLiveItDown ruined that reputation]]. So, there are some roots for the trope to grow from. Of course, the inconsistencies can be [[HandWave handwaved]] by the means of an AlternateUniverse, as ''Videogame/CommandAndConquerRedAlert'' testifies.

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All in all, the Soviets had a mixed record as far as science goes - they [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yuri_Gagarin put the first man in space]], space]] and contributed immensely to theoretical physics (there were several Soviet Nobel laureates in physics, including Andrei Sakharov and Lev Landau), but also brought the world [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lysenkoism Lysenkoism]] and [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punitive_psychiatry_in_the_Soviet_Union the abuse of psychiatry for "rehabilitation" purposes]]. The USSR pioneered [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radial_Keratotomy modern corrective eye surgery]], yet fell behind in steel manufacturing, despite experimenting with it the longest. The Soviets, however, [[ILoveNuclearPower loved Nuclear Power]], the world's first nuclear power plant to generate electricity for a power grid went online in USSR. Too bad [[{{UsefulNotes/Chernobyl}} a certain accident]] [[NeverLiveItDown ruined that reputation]]. So, there are some roots for the trope to grow from. Of course, the inconsistencies can be [[HandWave handwaved]] by the means of an AlternateUniverse, as ''Videogame/CommandAndConquerRedAlert'' testifies.
11th Dec '16 9:40:52 PM Xtifr
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* In the novel sci-fi novel ''Who?'' by Algis Budrys, the Soviets kidnap an American scientist after he was horribly injured in an accident. To help him recover, they perform extensive surgery on him. When he returns to the west he has a robotic face, head and arm, which makes him difficult to identify and extremely suspicious.

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* In the novel sci-fi novel ''Who?'' by Algis Budrys, Creator/AlgisBudrys, the Soviets kidnap an American scientist after he was horribly injured in an accident. To help him recover, they perform extensive surgery on him. When he returns to the west he has a robotic face, head and arm, which makes him difficult to identify and extremely suspicious.
2nd Sep '16 11:48:09 AM BiffJr
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** Also, there are on and off rumors in the media since [[TurnOfTheMillennium 2001]] that research was underway to create a small nuclear device able to destroy a large building, ship or installation while generating very little fallout and leaving surrounding buildings only slightly scorched on the outside. Like a version of the Davy Crockett W54 warhead, but cleaner. The political implications of having a nuke small and clean enough to '''not''' be a doomsday device are rather disturbing.



* There was a Soviet attempt to create [[HalfHumanHybrid man-chimpanzee hybrids]] for use as workers. Didn't work, but explains the weird science aspect they get in fiction. The precise details of that infamous experiment, which is usually considered (understandably) little more than an UrbanLegend, is that the Soviet scientist who did it worked more or less alone, only got a grant from Stalin due to red tape (and probably would have been shot if Stalin had discovered what he was actually doing), the experiment consisted of trying to use human sperm to artificially inseminate orangutans (because they didn't know about the close genetic relationship between humans and chimps), and his actual goal was to "prove" evolution and use that to stymie the political power of the Russian Orthodox Church, not to make {{Super Soldier}}s.
* There are rumors about Soviet low-frequency Sonic Weapon devices at their borders, threatening to instill depression and anxiety in the whole population. Some even argued that this was already taking place...

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* There was a Soviet attempt to create [[HalfHumanHybrid man-chimpanzee hybrids]] for use as workers. Didn't work, but explains the weird science aspect they get in fiction. The precise details of that infamous experiment, which is usually considered (understandably) little more than an UrbanLegend, is that the Soviet scientist who did it worked more or less alone, only got a grant from Stalin due to red tape (and [[note]]and probably would have been shot if Stalin had discovered what he was actually doing), doing. [[/note]], the experiment consisted of trying to use human sperm to artificially inseminate orangutans (because they [[note]]They didn't know about the close genetic relationship between humans and chimps), chimps [[/note]], and his actual goal was to "prove" evolution and use that to stymie the political power of the Russian Orthodox Church, not to make {{Super Soldier}}s.
* There are rumors about Soviet low-frequency Sonic Weapon devices at their borders, threatening to instill depression and anxiety in the whole population. Some even argued that this was already taking place...
Soldier}}s.



* Some conspiracy theorists believe that the Soviets developed "[[http://mindjustice.org/golgotha.htm psychotronic]]" weapons that could do tremendous damage (and other effects) at a great distance using technology that [[YouFailPhysicsForever violates the known laws of science]].
** DragonMagazine #204 had an article on Soviet psychotronic weapons.



** The US worked on flying submarines too. But the Soviets took it UpToEleven when they actually started cutting steel for a nuclear submarine aircraft carrier/amphibious warfare ship. Sadly, it was canceled immediately afterwards.



* Possibly worthy of mention is the use of supercavitation for torpedoes. Water creates quite a lot of drag and severely limits the top speed that a projectile travelling through it may achieve. With supercavitation, a bubble of water vapour forms around the projectile, greatly reducing drag. The Soviets started experimenting with the phenomenon in the 60s, and by 1972 a supercavitating torpedo, the VA-111 Shkval, was put into service. Its top speed is in excess of 370km/h (in comparison, 50km/h is at the top end of what a nuclear submarine may reach as of this writing; the US made Mk-54 torpedo achieves about 75km/h). Eventually other countries got in on the act: since the 90s the US Navy has also been developing its own roster of supercavitating projectiles, DARPA is thinking of supercavitating troop carriers, Germany has deployed the creatively named "Superkavitierender Unterwasserlaufkörper" in 2004, and even Iran claims to have tested a supercavitating torpedo in 2006. Superscience marches on.
** However, most supercavitating weapons fall into AwesomeButImpractical. The Shkval, for example, has virtually no way to guide itself (by virtue of being powered by [[CrazyAwesome a freaking solid-fuel rocket underwater]]) and is designed to be fired back down the bearing of an incoming torpedo, and initially had a ''nuclear warhead'' on it because that was the only way to guarantee hitting anything. Less insane weapons designers noticed that such speed was pretty unnecessary (as compared to the normal Soviet R&D doctrine of "bigger" followed by "more") and while it's unclear if Shkvals are still deployed on Russian ships, other weaponry has certainly surpassed it.
*** Currently the Shkval apparently has a guided version. It's hard to tell as the usual veil of secrets surrounding the Russian military seems to be darkest around this particular projectile.



** The stored NK-33 were refitted by Aerojet by getting rid of the old stock Soviet electronics, adapting the engines to US circuitry and modifying the steering systems. The result is called the AJ-26, and was used by Orbital Sciences in their Antares rocket. Emphasis on the past tense: in the great Soviet tradition AJ-26s soon began blowing up on test stands, and when one exploded in actual use - taking with it an Antares and a load of supplies for the International Space Station - Orbital Sciences had a change of mind and decided to leave this particular bit of Soviet Superscience most of them ''manufactured'' during the Moon Race - to the history books.
** ...Except they proceeded to purchase modern Russian engines of the RD-170 family, with the full-size RD-170 proper being the world's most powerful liquid-fuelled rocket motor. In fact, America's significant (and increasing) dependency on Russian-made rocket engines is a major source of political controversy.
* The US played this trope straight ''twice'' in the 50s and 60s. The military-industrial complex and "tough on Communism" politicians warned the American people about a "bomber gap" and then a "missile gap," saying that the US was falling behind the USSR in weapons production when in fact the reverse was true.
** These gaps were based on truly heinous intelligence gathering. In one example the USSR displayed a new strategic bomber by flying one formation of them over a military parade repeatedly; the US assumed each appearance was a different formation. A little later, US aerial reconnaissance photographed dozens of bombers at one Soviet airbase. Via reckless multiplication they assumed every airbase had a similar stock when in fact the group of bombers photographed was the ''entire'' production run at the time.
** US intelligence has a running history of making inflated evaluations of enemy capabilities. For example, the [=MiG=]-25 'Foxbat' interceptor (created in response to the US B-70 program, which was canceled after one of the two prototypes was lost) was monitored flying over Egypt at a speed of Mach 3.2, which was assumed to be the normal performance of the aircraft, and was believed to be an agile dogfighter (with the US F-15 being designed to counter it). Only after Lt. Belenko defected with a [=MiG=]-25 in 1976 was the plane discovered to be a relatively unmaneuverable high-altitude interceptor, and that its demonstrated speed capacity would require replacing the engines after the flight.
** It also worth noting that the US intelligence has a distinct tendency to ''intentionally'' overinflate the capabilities of its adversaries, to present a stronger case to the Congress in search of funding and additional powers to the Executive. Or at least ''accused'' of this.
2nd Sep '16 11:41:31 AM BiffJr
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** Not Soviet ''super''science, but related: [[ComicBook/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy Cosmo the Spacedog]], who got lost in space during a cosmonaut test flight. He got PsychicPowers while in space, but we don't know how it happened and it's likely not to involve the Soviets at all.
2nd Sep '16 5:29:24 AM ChronoLegion
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* The upcoming Russian superhero film ''Film/{{Guardians}}'' has the titular four-person team be composed of representatives of four of the former Soviet republics, all of which were subjects to experimentation by Soviet scientists not long before the collapse of the USSR. The team includes a [[EverythingIsWorseWithBears werebear]], a KnifeNut [[SuperSpeed speedster]], an [[DishingOutDirt earth elemental]], and a woman, who has {{Invisibility}}, flexibility, temperature resistance, and doesn't need air.

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* The upcoming Russian superhero film ''Film/{{Guardians}}'' has the titular four-person team be composed of representatives of four of the former Soviet republics, all of which were subjects to experimentation by Soviet scientists not long before the collapse of the USSR.USSR (a newspaper is shown with the headline "Genetics in service of the people"). The team includes a [[EverythingIsWorseWithBears werebear]], a KnifeNut [[SuperSpeed speedster]], an [[DishingOutDirt earth elemental]], and a woman, who has {{Invisibility}}, flexibility, temperature resistance, and doesn't need air.
2nd Sep '16 5:28:22 AM ChronoLegion
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Added DiffLines:

* The upcoming Russian superhero film ''Film/{{Guardians}}'' has the titular four-person team be composed of representatives of four of the former Soviet republics, all of which were subjects to experimentation by Soviet scientists not long before the collapse of the USSR. The team includes a [[EverythingIsWorseWithBears werebear]], a KnifeNut [[SuperSpeed speedster]], an [[DishingOutDirt earth elemental]], and a woman, who has {{Invisibility}}, flexibility, temperature resistance, and doesn't need air.
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