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Biography

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Overview (3)

Born in Vrytsa, Russia
Died
Birth NameIvan Antonovich Yefremov

Mini Bio (1)

Ivan Yefremov was a Russian writer of science fiction, and an awarded scientist, the founder of Taphonomy.

He was born Ivan Antonovich Efremov in 1908, in Vyritsa, St. Petersburg province, Russia, but later, during the Russian Civil War, Efremov added one year to his age stating April 22, 1907, as his date of birth. His father, named Anton Efremov, was a lumber merchant in Russia. His mother, named Varvara Aleksandrovna (nee Ananieva), was from a family of farmers. Young Efremov was showing early signs of a child prodigy, he was reading voraciously from age 4, and was fond of books by Jules Verne. In 1913 the Efremovs family moved to Berdiansk an the Azov Sea. There Efremov studied at Classical Gymnasium. During the Russian Revolution of 1917, his family suffered from severe financial and property losses, his parents separated, and young Efremov was on his own and was struggling to survive. In 1919 he joined the Red Army during the Russian Civil War. He was severely wounded in 1920, and suffered from a mild speech disorder for the rest of his life. In 1921 he returned to Petrograd (St. Petersburg) and worked as a driver to make ends meet.

In 1923 Efremov studied at Petrograd School of Navigation, and, after passing a navigation test, he joined the crew of a ship and spent a year sailing along the Pasific Coast of the Russian Far East. He returned to Leningrad in the fall of 1924 and had a meeting with academician Sushkin who became a teacher and a father figure for Efremov. Under the guidance of Sushkin, he began studies at the Museum of Zoology and at Department of Biology at Leningrad University. Efremov became involved in field expeditions, he advanced in his studies and research in Paleobiology and Archaeology, then transfered to Institute of Paleonthology. Eventually he continued his studies at the Leningrad Mining Institute, from which he graduated after passing external exams with honors in 1935. At that time he became a Laboratory Head at the Institute of Paleonthology and member of paleontological expeditions, and traveled many times to Volga region, Ural Mountains, Central Asia, and to Siberia. In 1941 Efremov earned his Doctorate in Biology.

During the 1940s and 1950s Efremov participated in many geological and paleontological expeditions in Trans-Caucasus, Central Asia, Far East, and Siberia. He made several scientific discoveries including the discovery in 1946-1949 of the mysterious "Valley of Dinosaurs" in Southern Goby Desert in Mongolia. At that time Efremov summarized his research and discoveries and became the founder of Taphonomy, a branch of paleontology studying death and ossification of dead organisms applied to geological formations and the time-line of Planet Earth. In 1950 Yefremov published his research on Taphonomy, and in 1952 he was awarded the State Prize of the USSR for his research and discoveries. He predicted the locations and discovery of diamond mines in Siberia. In 1958 he traveled to China and was among the founding members of a Russian-Chinese paleontological expedition. However, he was not a communist, so his career was limited to research and he expressed himself in writing.

Ivan Efremov started writing fiction during his illness in 1942. His writings were praised by Aleksei Tolstoy. Efremov published his first collection of stories in 1944. In 1946 he published a collection of stories titled 'Almaznaia Truba' (aka.. The Diamond Tube) predicting the development of diamond industry in Siberian Russia. His popular novel, 'Tumannost Andromedy' (The Andromeda Nebula 1957), was Efremov's answer to anti-Utopian books by 'Evgeni Zamyatin' and Aldous Huxley. Efremov wrote about a United Mankind with highly developed sciences and social life, it was translated in many languages and brought him fame. In 1967 the first part of 'Tumannost Andromedy' was adapted to film as _Tumannost Andromedy. Plenniki Zheleznoi Zvezdy (1967)_ (aka.. The Andromeda Nebula. Prisoners of the Iron Star). The film was a big success with audiences, albeit Efremov was not satisfied with that adaptation. In 1963 he published 'Lezvie Britvy' (aka.. The Razor's Edge), a novel dealing with extreme abilities of human mind. While the official Soviet ideology was trying to use Efremov's popular success by presenting his books as an idealistic description of communism, Efremov distanced himself from the Communist propaganda, he never joined the Soviet Communist Party, and, even worse, his writings contained some witty criticism of social problems in China, USA and the Soviet Union.

In 1968 he published a visionary novel 'Chas Byka' (The Hour of Bull). It described an oligarchy and dictatorship on planet Tormans in the future juxtaposed to society on planet Earth, alluding to restoration of Stalinism under the rule of Leonid Brezhnev. The book immediately became a rarity; it was banned for having such lines as: "There are no heroes, there are only bad executors", and Efremov was interrogated by the KGB. His apartment was searched by the KGB, and his manuscripts and writings were confiscated and banned. His book 'Chas Byka' was confiscated from all public libraries and schools of the Soviet Union. Efremov was attacked by the Soviet official censorship, he could not publish his literary works any more and remained under suspicion and surveillance for the rest of his life. He died of a heart failure on October 5, 1972, in St. Petersburg (then Leningrad), Russia.

Efremov's last book, titled 'Tais Afinskaia' (aka.. Thais of Athens), represents his vision of human harmony through the story of the legendary hetaera of Athens. It was published posthumously with dedication to his wife, Taisia Iosifovna Efremova.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Steve Shelokhonov

Trivia (1)

Efremov was banned by the KGB after his 1968 publication "Chas Byka".

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