Strange Telescopes: Following the Apocalypse from Moscow to Siberia

Daniel Kalder, Author Overlook Press $26.95 (401p) ISBN 978-1-59020-226-5
Like his first book, Lost Cosmonaut, this travelogue trips through the dark side of the former Soviet Union, finding curious societies and characters everywhere. Intrigued by a story about a Moscow group called ""the Diggers,"" who live in a sub-city network of tunnels and secret bunkers, Kalder (a Scotsman who lived in the former S.U. for 10 years) decided to track them down; the ""anti-climactic"" endeavor found the Diggers hanging out in the underground maze, but living terrestrially. Inspired anyhow, Kalder decides to penetrate the ""massed army of dreamers, artists, hippies and musicians that arose after perestroika."" His next foray takes him to witness exorcisms ""where the reality of demons was already beyond dispute,"" in the company of an independent film maker who is himself obsessed with Satanism. Back in Moscow, Kalder's drawn to a group leading ""almost heroic"" lives of discipline and self-sufficiency on a commune, led by the ""Jesus of Siberia."" He also pursues an odd man with an unfinished monument to freedom, who claims responsibility for inventing perestroika. Calling his trek a ""metaphysical-existential-cosmic quest,"" Kalder can be terminally chatty and unfocused, but provides rare glimpses into the odd afterlife of a collapsed superpower.
Reviewed on: 05/11/2009
Release date: 05/01/2009
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 416 pages - 978-1-4683-0467-1
Open Ebook - 416 pages - 978-1-4683-0468-8
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