Professor Persikov, an eccentric zoologist, stumbles upon a new light ray that accelerates growth and reproduction rates in living organisms. In the wake of a plague that has decimated the country’s poultry stocks, Persikov’s discovery is exploited as a means to correct the problem. As foreign agents, the state and the Soviet media all seize upon the red ray, matters get out of hand…
Set in 1928 but written four years earlier, during Stalin’s rise to power, The Fatal Eggs is both an early piece of science fiction reminiscent of H.G. Wells and a biting, brilliant satire on the consequences of the abuse of power and knowledge.
Cockrell’s self-effacing, fluent prose restores the elegant irony of the original, while rising to the challenge of Bulgakov’s occasionally abstruse medical lexicon.
The exuberance of it … has to enliven the reader, and make us laugh.
Bulgakov was not merely a brilliant observer of what was going on around him, but had an uncanny ability to pick out the particular manifestations of folly and discord which would set the tone of the era to follow.
Born in Kiev in 1891 to Russian parents, Mikhail Bulgakov trained as a doctor and volunteered for the Red Cross on the outbreak of the First World War. He later enlisted as a doctor for the anti-Bolshevik White Army, before eventually giving up medicine to concentrate on literature. The Master and Margarita is his most famous work, and has been hailed as one of the greatest novels of the twentieth century.