New Literature on Tolkien Studies

One more update for my bibliography on Tolkien studies:

  • Астрединова И. Ю. Культ дерева в произведениях Дж. Р. Р. Толкина // Афанасьевский сборник. Воронеж, 2012. Вып. 12. С. 254–261.
  • Браун В. Б. Аспекты средневековой философии в творчестве Дж. Р. Р. Толкина: проблема света // Вестник Ленинградского государственного университета. Сер.: Филология. 2015. № 2, т. 1. С. 87–96. Философские проблемы бытия и их художественное выражение в творчестве Толкина.
  • Горбунова Я. Я. Система художественных образов в романе Дж. Р. Р. Толкина «Властелин колец» // Русский язык и классическая литература в поликультурной среде. Якутск, 2013. С. 131–135.
  • Нестерова Е. А. Возвышенность как место реализации сакрального сюжета во «Властелине колец» Дж. Р. Р. Толкиена // Сюжетология и сюжетография. Новосибирск, 2015. № 2. С. 62–68.
  • Нестерова Е. А. «Емкость» и «Вместилище» как семантическое поле, организующее образ главного героя Дж. Р. Р. Толкиена // Вестник университета Российской академии образования. 2015. № 3. С. 117–119. Анализ образов главных героев «Хоббита» и ВК.
  • Нестерова Е. А. Специфика сюжетного параллелизма в творчестве Дж. Р. Р. Толкиена // Сюжетология и сюжетография. Новосибирск, 2014. № 2. С. 29–36.
  • Перцева В. Г. Роль словарей языка писателей в переводе художественных произведений (на материале имен собственных в трилогии Дж. Р. Р. Толкиена “The Lord of the rings”) // Художественная литература в пространстве перевода. М., 2015. С. 164–167.
  • Пологова И. Д. Соотношение образов главного героя и злодея в жанре фэнтези // Язык и репрезентация культурных кодов: V Международная научная конференция молодых ученых (Самара, 15–16 мая 2015 г.). Самара, 2014 (печ. 2015). С. 168–170.
  • Поринец Ю. Ю. Изображение добра и зла во «Властелине колец» Д. Р. Р. Толкина и «Волшебнике Земноморья» У. Ле Гуин // Научная дискуссия: вопросы филологии, искусствоведения и культурологии. 2013. № 12(19). С. 92–96.
  • Поринец Ю. Ю. Изображение «иного мира» в англоязычной фантастике середины XX века в произведениях Д. Р. Р. Толкина и К. С. Льюиса // Диалог и взаимовлияние в межлитературном процессе. СПб., 2015. Вып. 19: Единство и национальное своеобразие в мировом литературном процессе. С. 169–170.
  • Симанова Д. Е. К вопросу перевода имен и названий в произведениях Дж. Р. Р. Толкина // Актуальные вопросы зарубежной филологии, лингвокультурологии, межкультурной коммуникации, методики преподавания иностранных языков. Кострома, 2015. С. 23–31.
  • Темиргазина З. К., Абрамова А. Некоторые примеры создания Дж. Р. Р. Толкиеном окказиональных слов на основе заимствований // Славянские чтения — 10. Омск, 2015. С. 101–106.
  • Четова Н. Й. Роль авторских интенций в формировании концептуального пространства воображаемого в произведениях Дж. Р. Р. Толкиена // Филологические науки в МГИМО. 2013. № 52(67). С. 164–169.
  • Шустова Э. В. Особенности и этапы исследования творчества Дж. Р. Р. Толкина в российском литературоведении // Филологические науки: вопросы теории и практики. Тамбов, 2015. № 8, ч. 1. С. 210–213.

Download the bibliography (PDF, 147 Kb, in Russian).

Quod erat demonstrandum: INION Is to Move To the VINITI Building

The situation around my Institute became relatively clear on yesterday afternoon.  At two o’clock our acting director Ilia Zaitsev and our ex-director Yuri Pivovarov were called to the FANO where they were told the INION was to move to the building of the Institute of Scientific and Technical Information (VINITI) in Usievicha Street near the Sokol metro station.  The FANO has already tried to force us to do so last year, but we refused.  First, at the same time it was talked a lot about the perspectives of our merger with the VINITI that is completely unacceptable for us as our institutes are quite different and, taking into account the today’s conditions in Russia, such a merger will the most probably cause nothing except further shortage of funding.  Second, the VINITI is placed in the opposite part of Moscow, and we still use our old building in Profsoiuznaia Street and have one more small office in Dmitriia Ul’ianova Street, so it won’t be suitable for us at all if some of our departments are placed so far away.  Third, Zaitsev visited the VINITI building last year and says the rooms that are proposed to us are in a poor condition.  In winter time, for instance, we’ll have to work like in a fridge because windows need a repair.

It seems that this time people at the FANO have taken into account their last year’s unsuccessful experience and decided first to use Aleksei Pavlov and his enterprise in order to frighten us so that later they could play a role of our ‘saviours’.  At the same time, however, they say they have no money for our move, nor for a repair in the VINITI building.  Our Institute has no money for that either.  No more information is available now, I’ll write again when I find out anything else.

News from INION

…are more and more like war communiques.  The ‘repair’ is going on; the colleagues who are in the building say they have called the police.  The workers are meanwhile tearing out the parquet in the conference hall where our tomorrow staff meeting is to take place and are taking the chairs out.  The company that is managing the building is acting like bandits.

The expulsion of the INION, latest news

The message that our academic secretary sent to the internal mailing list on Saturday evening is worth to be quoted word for word:

Dear colleagues!

For those who was not [in our building] in Krzhizhanovskogo Street, I can report that they are setting us at naught meanly. It is not a matter of harmless rhythmic knocking that is bringing headache. The workers are tearing off the parquet in respirators. The air is full of dust. And our employees have no respirators.

Some part of the first floor is covered with sand now. The same thing will soon happen with fourth and fifth floors as well.

The administration of the Institute asks everyone who will physically be able to come to the staff meeting on Tuesday at twelve not to fail to come.

When this ‘repair’ was just beginning on Thursday, we thought it was an attempt to put a scare into us. But probably things are much more serious, and they are trying to produce unbearable conditions for us in order to paralyze our work and thus to force us physically out of the building. I wonder what will happen next week

Is INION to Move Again?

I wanted to write finally something positive about my Institute, but the only really positive news is still that we still continue working, despite all the difficulties, and our work is surprisingly successful. However, even this is in question since yesterday.

First, when we came to work in the morning, we saw strange workers in our building ‘repairing’ the floor. The results of their work look like this:

This was only the beginning. At about one o’clock, our acting director Ilia Zaitsev received an official paper with a claim that we are to ‘vacate’ the building in seven business days. No other housing was proposed instead. This requires some additional explanation.

Our main building in Nakhimovskii Prospect was destroyed by a heavy fire in January 2015. The construction of a new building is only to begin next year. Several weeks after the fire, we were given four floors in another building in Krzhizhanovskogo Street as a temporary housing and were proposed we would be given the other two floors as well later. Formally, our Institute is a part of the Russian Academy of Sciences, but during its infamous ‘reform’ in 2013, all its institutes were subordinated to the newly established Federal Agency of Scientific Organizations (FANO). The building in Krzhizhanovskogo Street belongs to the Academy of Sciences, but is managed by a state enterprise that is also subordinated to the FANO. D’you think it is to provide us the best working conditions?Not at all. Its director Aleksei Pavlov has tried to force us out of the building since the very first month after we settled in here, and the FANO has been pretending not to be able to do anything with it all this time. By the moment, he only managed to force us off the ground floor that is now rented to a dental clinic, a shop of paints and lacquers, and a hookah lounge. It’s by him that the yesterday’s paper is sighed.

He argues the building is in a critical condition. But as far as we know, none of the commercial organizations on the ground floor is required to move away, in spite of that ‘critical condition’ of the building. Moreover, Pavlov signed an agreement with our Institute only a short time ago that allows us to use the building at least until 31 December. He didn’t probably know anything about the ‘critical condition’ of the building while signing that agreement. And three days ago, the acting President of the Academy of Sciences Valerii Kozlov proposed to unite our Institute with the Institute of Scientific and Technical Information (VINITI). It’s an old idea, first proposed a year ago. And it’s completely unacceptable for us because our Institute and the VINITI do quite a different work, and an attempt to make our Institute a part of the VINITI will most probably mean the liquidation of our Institute. So it seems that the yesterday’s events were not an initiative of Pavlov, but something much more serious.

Our nearest plan is to organize a staff meeting on Tuesday. We also hope to receive an official explanations from the FANO by that time. They were pretending not to know anything almost all the day yesterday, but in the evening they had to give some comments to the journalists after we published the news about our expulsion in mass media. Now they are lying through the teeth that they have brought to our notice that this building is only a temporary housing and that they have already proposed us several variants of new housing. Our own administration doesn’t know anything about those ‘proposals’. I’ll write more as soon as I get any more information.

Happy 23 February!

The 23 February holidays are going to be rather busy.  Tomorrow—a mini-lecture on how to search and download foreign research papers in the Internet, at the Veskon-2017, an annual Moscow festival for Tolkien studies and role playing games.  On Friday—one more report, at the same festival, together with my university friend, about the geography of the South and the East of the Middle-earth (an expanded version of our last year’s talk, now with an additional analysis of two dozens of different maps of the Middle-earth made earlier by different authors).  And finally on Sunday—one more lecture on searching the research papers in the Internet, this time at the Nikolai Fedorov Museum and Library.  Time to share the working experience with other people ;-)

Penguins in Space: Running Orbiter in GNU/Linux

There are quite a lot of space flight simulators, but most of them are purely science fiction games and don’t always respect physical law.  Orbiter, on the contrary, was invented as a scientifically and technically correct simulator.  There are no space wars or interstellar flights there, but the real behaviour of a spaceship on orbit is shown authentically.  The distribution includes digital models of the Earth, the Moon, all the other planets of the solar system and some of the satellites.  As to spaceships, Space Shuttle Atlantis is available, as well as the International Space Station and the Russian Mir station (in the virtual universe of Orbiter it’s still on orbit, one of the training missions is to undock from the ISS and to fly to Mir).  In training missions, a futuristic Delta-glider rocket plane is used, with atomic engines, that is more easy-to-learn than Atlantis.  The same spacecraft is used for interplanetary flights.  Technically the program allows the users to develop their own spaceships and even their own planetary systems.  Collections of addons are available in the Internet, with those addons one can ‘drive’ virtually everything that has ever flown.

The game therefore is written more for education than for entertainment, so it’s free of charge, but the source code isn’t available and the developers have no plans to support operating systems other than Windows.  Nevertheless, the program runs quite correctly in GNU/Linux via WINE.  It means by the way that it should work also on a Mac, but I didn’t try.  The current version was published in summer 2016, after a seven-year delay.  As it turned out, the developers have been going on to work hard all this time.

You can download the game from its official website.  Two options are available: a MSI installer for Windows and a ZIP archive.  It’s the latter one that should be used in GNU/Linux, but it’s more convenient in Windows as well because it doesn’t need any installation.  It’s enough just to unpack it into any directory you prefer (better not into c:\Program Files) and to run the orbiter.exe file.  The only useful feature of MSI installer in comparison with the ZIP archive is that a desktop shortcut will be generated automatically.

On my own computer, Debian GNU/Linux 8 and WINE 1.6.2 are installed.  The CPU is Intel Core i5-3570K with integrated graphics.  I used an installation guide from here, in short it’s very simple:

  1. Install GNU/Linux and WINE.
  2. Download a ZIP archive with Orbiter and unpack it, for example, into ~/.wine/dosdevices/drive_c/orbiter.
  3. Download from here the file D3D9ClientR7.zip and unpack it into the same directory where you have unpacked Orbiter.
  4. Run the command:
    winetricks d3dx10 d3dx9_36 vcrun2005 corefonts
  5. Run the Orbiter_ng.exe file (unlike orbiter.exe it uses an external graphics engine).
  6. Click Modules, and click Expand all twice.  Enable the D3D9Client checkbox.
  7. Check the other parameters and enjoy the game.

My own experiments, however, had different results.  The Orbiter_ng.exe file runs correctly, but any time I try to launch a scenario the game immediately crashes with a message about a fatal error in D3D9Client.  The orbiter.exe file, on the contrary, runs without any errors and doesn’t need any D3D9Client.  There are several issues, but within reasonable.  Both window mode and full-screen mode are available, you can play Orbiter on one virtual desktop (even in full-screen mode) and work on another one, no discrete graphics is required (I play with a maximum resolution for my monitor, 1280×1024).  Hope you will enjoy it, too :-)

Orbiter 2016 Delta-glider

Learning to fly…

Orbiter 2016 Delta-glider

Flying over South America.

Once More about a New Building for INION

An extended version of my post about the architectural competition for the best design of a new building for my Institute has been published in Troitskii variant newspaper that specializes in news about science in Russia.

The text of the article can be found here (in Russian).

The website of the newspaper is http://trv-science.ru/.

A Collection of Annotations on Russian History

This year, our Department of History began to publish, along with detailed abstracts of new publications, which used to be our main ‘product’, also shorter annotations. We are still working at their format, but it is already clear that they will only contain the most important information about an article or a monograph, without any detailed retelling of its contents. We hope it will allow us to reflect in our abstract journal much more new publications than we were able to do previously. Such an opportunity seems to be quite significant, as in the Soviet time there were some thirty employees at our department, and twelve issues of the abstract journal were printed a year, whereas now we have only fifteen researchers and are only able to publish four issues of the journal a year, so the selection of sources for abstracts is actually rather far from following any regular criteria. Writing annotations along with detailed abstracts is still an experimental work, its perspectives are rather unclear, but the annotations which I have already written are worth to publish them in the Internet.

As the annotations are rather short, I will post all of them in a single PDF file with a set of bookmarks instead of a table of contents. As soon as new annotations appear, I will update the file and announce this in the blog.

My own main field of research interest is the history of the Soviet Union, especially before and in the time of the Second World War; so here I am going to post mostly annotations of books on the Soviet history or on history of post-Soviet Russia. I also decided to limit myself to annotations of books published in Russian. There are quite a lot of reference resources in the English part of the Internet, and they are much more informative than my personal Web site. On the other hand, the most part of Russian academic literature still remains almost unknown for the international research community because only a small part of papers is translated into English. I hope my collection of annotations will become one more bridge, although a bit narrow, between Russian historians and their colleagues in other countries.

Download the collection of annotations (PDF, 79 Kb).

Presentation of the Projects of a New Building for INION

Last Friday, a presentation of architectural projects of a new building for my Institute took place at the Shchusev Museum of Architecture in Moscow.  The event was a bit funny, but to the same extent senseless, as the Federal Agency of Scientific Organisations (FANO) still tries to make all the decisions about our future building without our participation.  For instance, we only found out in mid-July that a public contract for designing of the building had been already signed (‘we’ means the whole Institute, including the administration).  The tendering process took place in late June.  It was the Giprokon company that ‘won’ the competition; the same company did this in spring when the previous tendering process was declared void due to infringements of the procedure.  The preliminary specifications were also written at the FANO, and the result was quite predictable.  They suggest to make the book storage almost three times as small as it was before the fire—it’s an old idea of the FANO that books are no more necessary in the computer age.  Of course it’s completely unacceptable for us as there were already not enough space in the book storage before the fire; if a new storage will be smaller than the problem will soon arise again.  We tried to explain all of this to representatives of FANO in May, they promised to take our criticism into account, and now we can see that they really did it, but in an unusual way: they organised a new tendering process in secrecy and simply ignored all our proposals in a new edition of the preliminary specifications that were included into the final text of the public contract.  The current competition for the best architectural design was organised by Giprokon according to that contract.

On Friday we could see the results of such an approach.  Fourteen projects were presented altogether, including seven ones developed at Giprokon; they said that according to the law they had to make as many projects as the independent architects did.  One could see, however, that five of their projects were made quite formally; only two projects seem to be a real working design.  One can also suppose which project they will most probably try to defend, as in their presentation they used an image which we first saw as early as in January.  It means, by the way, that Giprokon was already working at a project of a new building for us in winter, although no tendering process had been announced and no preliminary specifications had been published yet.

The quality of all the seven Giprokon’s projects is the same poor.  One can see that they correspond to the specifications from FANO and that the authors can hardly imagine how an academic institution works, especially an institution for social sciences and humanities.  As a result, all that they could produce was a purely speculative decision that didn’t correspond to our needs at all and looked more like an entertainment centre or a shopping plaza, but not like an academic library.  This can be said about all their seven projects.

Three of the other seven projects looked like diploma works; unfortunately, they were no better than those developed at Giprokon.  There were also three more or less interesting projects.  The author of one of them proposed to reconstruct our building exactly as it looked like before the fire (it was an interesting piece of the Soviet architecture of 1960s and 1970s), but using modern technology.  He didn’t change the size of book storage and suggested to construct an additional section of book storage on an underground level and several more underground levels under the yard, also mostly for book storage.  The project as a whole is interesting although requires some improvement; the problem is that it’s a project of conservation of what had existed previously, not designed for the future development of the Institute.

The authors of one more project proposed to make the new building twice as big as the old one; the project therefore doesn’t correspond to the official specification, as well as the previous one.  The authors also suggested to increase the size of the book storage and, that was the most interesting, proposed to assign their copyright for the project to our Institute.  The project, however, looks to be incomplete, it raises doubts from the aesthetic point of view, and it’s rather difficult to understand how we will use such a big building (and whom else FANO will ‘settle’ there together with us).

One more project is interesting aesthetically and includes two stages of construction, that can be seen as a base for the future development.  But the plan of indoor premises is not developed in detail, as I can understand, so this variant can be acceptable only if it’s possible to make the book storage large enough without compromising the other rooms.

The results of competition are to be announced on 16 August.  An exhibition of the entries will be organised at the same Museum of Architecture; they also promise to post them on the official website of the competition, http://www.konkurs-inion.com/.