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Revolutionary ExperimentsThe Quest for Immortality in Bolshevik Science and Fiction$
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Nikolai Krementsov

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199992980

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199992980.001.0001

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“Neither Life, Nor Death”: Anabiosis

“Neither Life, Nor Death”: Anabiosis

(p.65) 3 “Neither Life, Nor Death”: Anabiosis
Revolutionary Experiments

Nikolai Krementsov

Oxford University Press

Starting with Alexander Beliaev’s story “Neither life, nor death,” this chapter explores actual and fictional investigations of anabiosis. It follows Porfirii Bakhmet’ev’s discovery of the “border between life and death” by freezing and thawing living organisms: insects, bats, and fishes. It documents Bakhmet’ev’s efforts to further this research and to build a special laboratory for his studies, halted by his untimely death in 1913. It chronicles the period of “suspended animation” that research on anabiosis entered following the Revolution, despite the enthusiastic popularization of anabiosis by the eminent zoologist Petr Shmidt in the media. It analyzes numerous fictional experiments conducted by scores of writers, including Alexander Iaroslavskii, Aleksei Tolstoy, and Boris Pil’niak, with “freezing and thawing” of humans inspired by Bakhmet’ev’s discovery.

Keywords:   anabiosis, Porfirii Bakhmet’ev, Alexander Beliaev, Petr Shmidt, popular science, Alexander Iaroslavskii, Boris Pil’niak

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