Grigory Ryzhakov – Russian Writer

Ecology and Literature


The alternative cover for my new speculative fiction novel – Made In Bionia

As a scientist I have always been more interested in the fate of our planet rather than the mankind. When I was a child I wanted to be an inventor, so the machines would do the job with more efficiency and less pollution. When I was in my teens my favourite subject was not taught in school, yet we have had school Olympiad on it in my town, region and on the whole state level. The subject was ecology. All my knowledge about it I have gained from the books translated from English into Russian by then authors like Eugene Odum. When I was fourteen I had won the regional Olympiad in ecology and got a diploma from the governor as the best young ecologist of 1996.

Ironically, I’ve never done any field work studying ecology or environmental pollution or tried to clean up some polluted natural habitat, so, though I was glad about the award, deep inside I knew that it was purely an academic achievement of a studious nerd. I didn’t contribute to helping nature practically and, thus, never deserved that title.

I’ve never been much of an outdoors person; hence, I’ve chosen a path of a lab scientist not a field researcher. Eventually, I became specialised in molecular biology, though my interest in ecology never ceased. I would not necessarily join Green Peace or similar organisations, at least for now, but I still feel the need to speak about ecological issues. I think at least through fiction I can vent out my passion for ecology.

So when I started writing fiction about eight years ago ecology became one of the important themes I explored. My first book was written in Russian and recently I translated it into English. The title is Made in Bionia. It’s a speculative fiction novel about the onset of a global ecological catastrophe. The main character, a private investigator called William Carrot has to steal a biotechnology in order to save the poisoned ocean from dying, only to find himself pursued by a gang of assassins and betrayed by a woman with whom he has fallen in love.

The main theme is environmental. I wanted to demonstrate how something as tiny and obscure as a microscopic organism could potentially cause a global extinction.

The Day of The Triffids – FULL MOVIE

We need to be aware that our biosphere is a highly dynamic system with multiple feedback mechanisms, so if we introduce a major disturbance into the environment, it may backfire and cause pandemics, water/food shortages, or something else, maybe not in a ridiculous way like the revenge of plants in The Happening or The Day of the Triffids, but a vicious pathogen or a highly poisonous organism are quite possible scenarios.

I feel that lately science fiction became too plot-driven and low on high concepts and big ideas. I miss dystopian novels of the XXth century, rich in science and philosophy. The world is changing and we need literature to reflect this and make us think about these issues.

Literature and other media types like films have enormous influence on our society: they can turn us into dumb consumers craving entertainment or, on the contrary, make the world a better place through education. And the latter has been one of the biggest factors that urged me to start writing fiction.

What is your motivation to write stories?


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