Vladimir Vasilyev (born 1967) is a fairly well-known Russian Science Fiction
writer. He is most famous for co-authoring the novel Day Watch
with Sergey Lukyanenko
, as well as writing his own spin-off novel The Face of the Dark Palmira
in the same 'verse (with Lukyanenko's permission). Additionally, he is known in Russian-speaking countries for his Big Kiev
series, an Urban Fantasy
setting with humans living alongside various fantasy races and sentinent machines.
- The Shandalar trilogy:
- The Cloudy Land (1994). Shandalar, or the Cloudy Land, is a place where winter left but spring never arrived. Warriors, guardians of peace and order, encounter aliens from another world. They must face these arrivals in order to protect the Cloudy Land.
- A Year in Life (1996). As soon as Klim Terekh of Sagor reached adulthood, he left to seek an appropriate place of service. He had always been a skilled swordsman. But he could never guess, when entering the service in the glorious city of Zelga, how unusual his first task would be.
- The Black Stone of Otran (1996). The barbarians to the North of Shandalar have been robbed. Someone has stolen their great relic, the Black Stone of Otran. At the same time, the people of two maritime nations send forces against local pirates. The two forces are being led by young rulers, who have to pass their first test of maturity on this mission. The same goes for a young barbarian sent by the chiefs to recover the lost relic.
- The Blades duology:
- Blades (1996). There is a mystery hidden where the ancient mountains rise, where eternal cold and winter rule. The Vikings call it the Box of Munir the Raven, the Pechenegs know it as the Magic Chest, but the fair-haired Slavic warriors say that the chest hides the great Books of Crafts greater than all others. Three armies head to find the chest from three parts of the world: Normans, sons of the sea; nomads from steppes; and the Russian vityazs. They go through danger, darkness, and sorcery. They go through our world and other worlds. Only one of three, however, has the strength to get what they seek.
- The Thicket's Soul (1996). The people of Tialshin and the neighboring lands have always avoided the Old Forest for fear of evil forces. There were, however, brave fools who entered the forest, but only if there was no other choice. Vyr and Rudoshan are two such brave fools.
- The Big Kiev series:
- The Big Kiev Technician or the Hunt for Wild Trucks (1997). An Urban Fantasy taking place hundreds of thousands of years in the future, and yet nothing much has changed. Well, except for giant cities now taking place of old countries (Big Kiev is almost as big as modern-day Ukraine). And various fantasy races living side-by-side with the short-lived humans (the word "people" has been replaced with "living" in common speech), having regular jobs. And all machines having animal-level intelligence and having to be tamed rather than built. All Big cities are run by Technicians, except no one knows who they are save for a select few. A young human discovers a secret about the mysterious isle of Crimea, which no one has been able to reach since it was separated from the mainland. However, he can't reach the island on its own and needs the help of the Big Kiev Technician and his vast resources. But what if the cities themselves are trying to prevent him from reaching his goal? What if the very survival of the cities is at stake?
- The Big Kiev Witcher (1999-2009) is a short-story collection set in the same 'verse. The protagonist of these is a Witcher named Geralt (inspired by Andrzej Sapkowski's The Witcher saga), who is a freelancer hired to destroy machine-monsters. Geralt combines care for the City and indifference to all other things with inner warm feelings and care for all living, which he hides from everyone.
- The Witcher's Word (2011)
- The Death or Glory series:
- Death or Glory (1998). Humans have finally made it into space, have reached other stars. But they are too late. The galaxy is already in the hands of a powerful Alliance of races, lording over their subject and slave races. They have no interest in humanity beyond simple curiosity, as there are no other "evolved apes" in the galaxy. Suddenly, a hyper-advanced starship appears in the skies above the human mining colony Volga. This attracts the interest of not only the Alliance by also their extra-galactic enemies, the Imperishables. As the armadas gather in space above the planet, little thought is given to the primitive colonists. After all, the starship may spell victory for whoever owns it. Of course, when you've lived all your life on a frontier world with a Wild West mentality, you may find yourself unwilling to let some upstart aliens brush you off like a fly. After all, isn't that why the words "Death or Glory" are engraved on your personal blaster?
- The Black Relay Race (1999). A space yacht pilot receives a lucrative offer. He is to deliver unknown cargo and will receive an entire fortune as payment. Thus begins something that has never yet happened in history of space travel. A race for survival. The losers will end up dead and forgotten. The winner will get everything. But will there be anyone left to win?
- The War for Mobility sub-duology:
- The Legacy of Giants (2002). Inspired by David Brin's Startide Rising. A chance discovery by a human scout ship - a portal leading to another galaxy. A legend promising great treasure to anyone who goes there, enabling one to rule the universe. All this leads to a massive interstellar war between the Alliance (which includes humans) and two of the former slave races, who have managed to secretly build an armada rivaling that of any other race. The crew of the scout ship has to run and hide to prevent their discover from falling into the wrong hands. They find themselves on a nearly-uninhabited world, with only a tourist base on the planet. Thus the crew of the ship partners up with group of tourists on a jungle safari with no one to help them for light years, with an alien armada above their heads.
- No One but Us (2005). The war with the Shat Tsur Empire is not going well for the Alliance. The former slave race has used the element of surprise and a vast armada to crush their former masters. The only Alliance member who is successfully holding off the enemy is the youngest and the fiercest of the races - humanity. However, even that resistance may soon be over, as the Shat Tsurs are sending three massive fleets to take out key human worlds, including Earth. The only hope of stopping the enemy and ending the war lies with an ancient legend involving a cache of Precursor artifacts hidden away on a world in another galaxy. Thank to the events of the previous novel, the Alliance now has a way to reach that galaxy. The title of the novel comes from the battle cry of the human Space Marines.
- The Wolfish Nature duology. Despite the setup, the novels are built more like Spy Fiction with the unusual nature of the setting becoming a background.
- Wolfish Nature (1999). What if humans had evolved from dogs instead of apes? Not even human, as we understand the term. Centuries ago, they have altered their genes to neutralize their most innate wolfish instinct - to hunt, to kill, to taste blood. However, it looks like not everyone was "corrected". The predators are hiding in the wild, but the agents, who are natural-born hunters, are following the scent of those exhibiting the their "wolfish nature".
- The Beast in Each of Us (2000). There's a beast in all of us. In dog-humans, in wolf-humans. What makes a human a human? We think, therefore - we are. Thus, we are human, even if we aren't like humans. Or does the thought, sooner or later, give way, unable to fight the primeval instinct of a predator? What then? What happens when the beast in each of us breaks free?
- The World of Watches series:
- Day Watch (2000). Co-authored by Sergey Lukyanenko.
- The Face of the Black Palmira (2003). The Light and the Dark Others have obeyed the tenets of the Grant Treaty since the dawn of time, ensuring the balance between Good and Evil. But now the Grant Treaty has been broken. Saint Petersburg, the most mystical of the "magical centers" of Russia. The are so-called "wild" Others in the city, teenagers who knock neither Light nor Darkness, drinking the Power that has been granted them to the fullest. It is up to the Odessa Day Watch to stop them before things get out of control. But what if it's the city itself that has decided to turn against both the Light and the Darkness?
- The Altitude duology:
- Masters of the Skies (2001). An Alternate History novel where humans don't live on the surface of Earth. Instead, they live on giant Leaves floating in the winds miles from the surface. Chasing a thief who has stolen a valuable bracelet, a hunter named Lo Vim finds himself on another Leaf. Wounded by a bison, he is unable to return to the Leaf of his clan before the winds separate them. However, he soon finds those who wish to include him in the circle of those who know.
- A Singing Owl's Trill (1996). Lo Hast went to an uninhabited Leaf to hunt. Unable to return to his clan's Leaf, he is left alone. Now he hates the singing owls, believing them responsible for his plight. He doesn't know, thought, that it will be a singing owl that will help him get home.
- Novels in the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 'verse:
- Hide-and-Seek on the Center Line (2011). The Chernobyl Zone is constantly changing. New kinds of mutants, new deadly anomalies, and new artifacts keep appearing. Instead of an experienced team, a Stalker named Cupcake is given a rookie named Psycho. A biologist named Ivan Sivertsev is hired as a consultant by a local shady business bigwig. This is happening among the mysterious disappearances of experienced Stalkers outside the Zone. These seemingly unrelated events turn out to be part of yet another complicated game with death, as dangerous as playing hide-and-seek on the center line of a busy highway.
- Children of the Duplicator (2011). Six months passed with the events of the novel Hide-and-Seek on the Center Line. The Stalker named Psycho has escaped into the Zone, and no one knows where he's hiding. The biologist Ivan Sivertsev is stuck at a field research post. The dealer Pokatilov has recovered from his problems with the authorities and is once again searching for the Duplicator, and he's not alone. Everyone is looking for Psycho, but he suddenly shows up and offers to hand the Duplicator over to a sleazy scientist named Taranenko. While Taranenko is preparing the equipment to recover the Duplicator from the cache, Psycho and Sivertsev are hiding out in the Zone with a team sent by Pokatilov looking for them. The mysterious psi-monster is becoming more active. More running and hiding.
- Other novels:
- UFO: Enemy Unknown (1997). A novelization of the first X-COM game, as told from the viewpoint of one of the first eight recruits leading up to the final battle at Cydonia.
- Those Who Go into the Night (1999). Co-authored by Anna Li. Вeyond the Yuben River lie the Wild Lands, where no trodden path exists, and all travellers must choose their own way in the hopes of staying alive. Few have returned from there, and their tales were full of horrors. However, no one has ever told tales of the Stone Forest because nobody has ever returned from it. Who will go into the eternal night of the Stone Forest of their own free will? Morgan and Turi, who have nothing to lose, as there is blood on their hands and death behind them. No one will spare those who had the misfortune of being born werewolves.
- Three Steps to Dankarten (1989-1992). Three steps to a faraway, backward world which has the potential to decide the fate of the worlds. First step, and the pilot of a crashed starship finds himself on a Medieval planet. Knights, ladies, monks, castles... Fun? Yes. But not when you're desperately trying to find a lost transmitter. Second step, and a smart, cynical "space rogue" begins to slowly realize that this "God-forsaken hole of the Universe" isn't as simple and backward as it seems. Something is hidden in this dirty, fun Medieval world. But what? Third step, and a man who barely made it out of this hell is returning there of his own free will to put an end to an endless and hopeless interstellar war.
- Antarctica Online (2004). Co-authored by Alexander Gromov. Has the world gone insane? No, it's Earth itself who has gone crazy. The Antarctic continent has moved to Central Pacific. The scientists and the politicians are shocked. Not for long, though, as the continent that nobody wanted suddenly finds itself in a much more useful location, and the world powers are scrambling to claim it for themselves, the Antarctic Treaty be damned. But what happens when a bunch of Russian and Australian polar researchers, suffering from sudden heat and elevated blood alcohol content, decide to broadcast a message to the entire world declaring the formation of an independent Antarctic republic as a practical joke? Is it a joke when your government immediately declares you a traitor, forcing you to proceed with this foolhardy endeavor? Is it a joke if you find yourself surrounded by the entirety of the US Navy, preparing to "pacify" the upstart republic? Faced with all this, you tend to forget to ask a simple question: why would an entire continent just up and move halfway across the world?
- The Treasure of the Kapitana (2007). It is the distant After the End future, the new Middle Ages. Everything has changed, and nothing has changed. The people still live, seek, and fight to obtain treasure. Sailor-mages enchant the winds and raise sunken ships from the bottom of the sea. Long-dead sorcerers try to restore their former power. A prince from the faraway Albion (Great Britain) and a sailor from Taurida (Crimea) find themselves in the center of events related to the flagship of the Turkish fleet, sunk in a battle long ago. The quest for gold and valuables turns into the fight for the lost unity of the world, the main treasure found at the bottom of the sea.
- The Hotel (2012).
- Two Preserves (2012). A hapless bartender from the space liner Odessa finds himself on a planet whose surface is uninhabitable. Instead, people live on so-called Leaves floating in the sky and fly around using wings given to them by local maples. The bartender and his companions, a hunter and a storyteller, have to discover in their travels the role the missing crew of the liner played in the local civilization. Meanwhile, another Earthling, an embriomechanic, is learning to communicate with another tribe of local flyers, telepaths who live in trees. The consequences of his interference into the lives of the natives are difficult to predict.