Kir Bulychev is probably the most famous author of Science Fiction
and Speculative Fiction
for children in Russia, but before 1982 very few knew that he was a Pen Name
of Dr. Igor Vsevolodovich Mozheiko (1934 – 2003), a well known historian and author whose popular history books often stood on the same shelves as his alter ego
's SF. After graduating school he enrolled in a Moscow State Foreign Languages institute where he majored in South-Eastern Asian languages and became a specialist in Burmese history. He started writing early, right after graduating from the institute, under his real name, but most of his early works were popular history and geography essays about East Asia and realistic short stories.
He received his Ph.D degree in 1965, around the time he first turned to a SF. Believing that the brass at the Institute of Oriental Studies, where he was employed at the time, wouldn't approve of such "frivolous" activity of their newly minted postdoc, he published his first stories (many of which he made up to entertain his daughter Alisa) under various pseudonyms in the popular Mir Priklyucheniy
(Adventure World) almanac. His most famous pen name, though, wasn't among them: it had to wait until the next year.
In 1966 an amusing incident happened in the Iskatel
magazine, publishing detectives and science fiction. Just a day before the deadline for sending the work to printers, one of foreign SF stories was rejected. But as ill luck would have it, the cover of the magazine featuring the illustration to this very story was already printed. A tiny dinosaur sitting in a jar was sadly looking from the cover to the editors. To save the situation, a number of people decided each of them would write a story and the best story would go into the magazine. Dr. Mozheiko happened to win this urgent contest, and his story When did dinosaurs die out?
went to print. To sign this unexpected creation he made up a new pen name based on his wife's name and his mother's maiden name. At this point he wasn't even suspecting that he was destined to become one of the most famous Russian SF writers.
Besides numerous SF stories, translations of various American SF books, research works on history, Oriental and literature studies, Bulychev also wrote over two hundred poems and a lot of short stories. He also wrote the scripts for over twenty movies. The feature film Per Aspera Ad Astra
AKA Humanoid Woman
animated cartoon ‘The Mystery of the Third Planet
’ (for these two he was awarded the State Prize in 1982) and Guest from the Future
TV miniseries (1984) are considered among the best screen versions of Bulychev’s books.
One of the central characters of his books, Alisa Selezneva
, a courageous and curious girl from the future is especially beloved by the readers; screen versions of some of his gripping fanciful books contributed much to "Alisa’s cult" among teenagers of the 1980-90s. In a case of Write Who You Know
, Alisa is named for his daughter, Alisa's mother Kira for his wife, and Alisa's father Igor for himself. It came to bite him later, though, when this mania forced him to churn up more and more Alisa
books, which he came to somewhat resent, as he'd much prefer to write something else. He would resent that editors and readers were expecting new children tales from him. "But I try it not to be children SF that I'm writing and it's not only fiction for kids I write." – He said in one of the interviews.
A versatile and prolific author, Bulychev wrote a great many other books, generally for adult audience: an ironical epic about a Weirdness Magnet provincial town 
, Space Opera
cycle about a doctor Vladislav Pavlysh, and many others. While SF writer Bulychev was creating new worlds, historian Igor Mozheiko went on carrying out his research work. The latter issued a number of monographs, popular science books ‘7 and 37 Wonders’, ‘Pirates, Corsairs, and Raiders’, and ‘Year 1185: East - West’. Besides, he defended his doctoral dissertation on the theme: “The Buddhist Sangha and the State in Burma”
Some of Kir Bulychev’s books were published in English: Half a Life
(1977), Gusliar Wonders
(1983), Earth And Elsewhere
(1985), Abduction Of A Sorcerer
(1989), Those Who Survive
(2000), Alice: The Girl from Earth
(2002), and South-East Asia: Unity in Diversity (1989).
Kir Bulychev died on 5 September, 2003 at the age of 68.
For his works, see the page Kir Bulychev Works
Tropes about Kir Bulychev or common to his works
- Author Existence Failure: Died writing the series Asylum, which would have been a Russian response to Harry Potter.
- Casual Interstellar Travel
- The Future
- Girls Need Role Models: Many of his lead characters are strong women. Alisa Selezneva, Irina Gai, Kora Orvat, Veronica Smith, Peggy, Nina....
- Pen Name
- Raygun Gothic
- Red-Headed Hero
- Science Hero
- Seadog Beard
- Standard Sci Fi Setting
- Take That: Often uses his works to criticize racism, classism, greed, violence, and depravity.
- Time Travel
- Write Who You Know