Nal Podolsky. Time of Cultural Fury

Author: Nal Podolsky
Title: Time of Cultural Fury

Year: 2010

Time of Cultural Fury is a strange dystopian novel – but surprisingly believable.

Anti-utopia in general is something rather gloomy, rotten, total and radical, usually followed by the imagery of barbarization and the loss of culture after some dreadful catastrophe or other. “Time of Cultural Fury” is a very different kind of anti-utopia.
Podolsky tells a story about how in Russia, (in a not so distant future) the main value in life becomes Art. The Hermitage museum of St. Petersburg and The State Russian Museum replace such industrial monsters as Gazprom and Lukoil. In this world you can go to prison when accused of being “an enemy of ballet” or “a foe of paintings”. And you can never ever get a job (even as a genitor) if you don’t pass a general exam on the creative works of Stravinsky.
The conditions of art totalitarianism bring upon Russia the Rebellion of Iron. It is not merely provoked by fanaticism for art, but also jeopardizes the whole opera-ballet system. Thousands of old tanks, “woken” by the “Black square” painting by Kazimir Malevich, move on and advance on St. Petersburg. It is the attempts to avert danger from the Northern Capital of Russia that make up the plot of this book. Though the tanks are not only a danger to St. Petersburg. It seems they might bring about a world-wide apocalypse.
The arabesque fantasy of Podolsky gives a vast space for metaphysical, philosophical and social interpretations.