Creator / Oleg Divov
Oleg Divov (1968-) is a modern Russian writer, writing in a variety of genres (mostly hard to hard-ish science fiction and/or things about the military, but a lot of other stuff too). Has survived serving in the Soviet army
in 1987-89, with many fond and not-so-fond memories (mostly the latter), as related in one of his autobiographical works ("The Weapon of Revenge"); afterwards, dropped out of his university and worked for a while as a journalist and a copywriter. And then he underwent a Creator Breakdown
... sort of, as it was exactly then that he wrote his first major work (a novel called "The Dog Master", published in 1997). His literary career took off then and he is now one of the most famous and popular sci-fi writers in Russia.
Divov is the author of several novels. Those novels include, in chronological order:
- The "След зомби" ("Sled zombi", "Trail of the Zombie") trilogy, a creative reinvention of some popular Nineties Russian conspiracy theories about mind control and the like:
- "Мастер собак" ("Master sobak", "The Dog Master").
- "Стальное Сердце" ("Stal'noye serdtse", "Steel Heart").
- "Братья по разуму" ("Bratya po razumu", "Brothers in reason").
- "Молодые и сильные выживут" ("Molodiye i silniye vyzhivut", "The Young and the Strong will Survive"), a Russian post-apocalyptic thing, partly also based on Divov's participation in intellectual game shows (It Makes Sense in Context).
- "Лучший экипаж Солнечной" ("Luchshiy ekipazh Solnechnoy", "Best Crew of the Solar System"), hard military sci-fi with a fair share of post-apocalypsis too.
- "Выбраковка" ("Vybrakovka", "The Culling"), social science fiction about a totalitarian regime in Russia's near future based on the idea of zero tolerance for all crime. Probably Divov's most (in)famous work.
- "Ночной смотрящий" ("Nochnoy smotryaschiy", "Night Watcher"), Russian provincial horror with werewolves and vampires.
- "Храбр" ("Hrabr", "Brave"), Russian historical dark fantasy.
Divov also wrote plenty of essays and stories of varying shortness. Some notable stories include:
- "Закон лома для замкнутой цепи" ("Zakon loma dlya zamknutoy tsepi", "Crowbar Law for the closed circuit"note ), about Russian criminals in very near future America.
- K-10, a Tear Jerker about a military cat-bot.
- "Другие действия" ("Drugie deystviya", "Alternative actions"), an internet thriller set in very near future Russia, notable for successfully averting most of the Magical Computer tropes.
- "У Билли есть хреновина" ("U Billi yest' khrenovina", "Billy has a thingy"), in the author's own words, "a grounded space opera" set in a nice quiet American town in a nice quiet future. And there are actually hardly any dark secrets involved at all; the twist is something else.
And many, many others.
Some basic Divov and Divov-related tropes:
- Author Avatar: Arguably, the main character in "The Dog Master". And his dog is at least partly based on Divov's dog at the time.
- Creator Breakdown: Strange in that it occurred at the very beginning of his career, when he was dealing with some mental issues and relative poverty, largely by drinking. It left a visible impact on the "Trail of the Zombie".
- Dear Negative Reader: Subverted: while Divov does have a lot to say about some of his readers on his creator's blog, he seems more amused than pissed off by their attacks, probably because many of them are simply ridiculous.
- Knight in Sour Armor: Probably the most prevalent type of protagonist, though with different degrees of sourness.
- Mohs Scale of Science Fiction Hardness: Generally pretty hard (when it's science fiction and not, say, fantasy), but can go all the way to level 1 (see trope page) in some specific cases, mainly with regards to ESP and related things (and alien technology when such is available, which isn't often). "Trail of the Zombie" would probably be considered pretty darn soft, while "Best Crew of the Solar System" is, aside from one largely insignificant element closer towards the end, very much hard.
- The New Russia: He lives there (also, it or some variations on it are a reasonably common setting, and "Vybrakovka" - both the book and the eponymous social institution - is mainly a response to it).
- Shown Their Work: One of Divov's main claims to fame is that he knows what he's writing about, be it America, smart houses or the Internet. "Best Crew of the Solar System" has been praised for accurately... transporting the realities of submarine warfare to outer space, which was apparently just as planned.
- Signature Style: As a broad generalisation, the protagonists (generally two of them, both male; sometimes in a subversion those are Those Two Guys, which they tend to be quite similar to, as well as to Those Two Bad Guys, except they are more or less good) tend to be clever witty Genre Savvy Russian intellectuals (in the broader sense of the word) in a difficult situation despite often not being Russian and/or in a profession that one would expect to find an intellectual in. Chances of characters being in some way connected to a military or paramilitary organization are high. Chances of setting being somewhere in between Next Sunday A.D. and Twenty Minutes into the Future are likewise high. Will aforementioned Russian intellectuals resort to historical or esoteric humor or literary allusions? Yes.
- Oh, and in his earlier works, he often used the word "psychotropic" or "psychotronic" in reference to the conspiracy theory about a Soviet mind control project. He later mocked this in an autobiographical piece ("When I was an esper") and a series of parody ads for an "OOO (LTD) "Psychotronics"".
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Usually gravitating towards cynicism, but never (with the possible exception of "Trail of the Zombie") completely there; and there are also several works that, when all is said and done, are probably more on the idealistic side.
- Troll: A self-admitted one, he frequently does provocative posts at his blog and then enjoys the fallout.
- Trolling Creator: Especially with Vybrakovka, according to the Word of God.
- Write What You Know: Most notably, military technology and military life in general. Also, art and art circles: both his parents were restorers working in State Tretyakov Gallery; journalism and advertisement as well.