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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Fantasy Genre Is Flourishing

Russian readers had to wait for the collapse of communism before they could delve into the genre of fantasy.

Against the backdrop of Soviet reality, fantasy was considered too escapist, a useless form of literature. Only The Hobbit by J.R.R.Tolkien -- in an abridged translation for children -- managed to reach Soviet readers before perestroika and glasnost.

Now fantasy is at the peak of its popularity, especially among the male audience between the ages of 10 to 40.

Two out of every three Russian translations of fantasy have been published during the last three years by Severo-Zapad in St. Petersburg. Now the second largest publishing house in Russia, since 1992 it has produced nearly 100 fantasy books by more than 50 authors.

Among them are five volumes of Tolkien's works (in hardcover, paperback and as a gift set), seven volumes of the Conan the Barbarian saga, Ursula Le Guin's trilogy and books by Andre Norton as well as other classics of this genre. None of the most popular titles was printed in a quantity of less than 100,000 copies.

Severo-Zapad is trying to diversify its offerings by publishing classical Russian literature and modern Western classics, including poetry in bilingual editions.

But fantasy, the publisher's first love, is still the heartbeat of Severo-Zapad's activity. This summer and fall four volumes of the Doc Savage saga by Kenneth Robson were published, as well as Dave Duncan's Seventh Sword trilogy. The publisher premiered the first volume in the series Asta's World, invented and written for Severo-Zapad by a group of Russian writers.