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Glossary and Character Taxonomy  Breakdown by Country of Origin   Bibliography   Table of Contents    The Best of the Encyclopedia

Los. Los was created by the Russian author Alexei Tolstoi (Garin, Russian Scientist) and appeared in Aelita (1922); the novel was filmed in 1924.

Los is a Planetary Romance Hero. He is a Soviet scientist and inventor whose wife has recently died; he was too busy to acknowledge her while he was perfecting his rocket. Now the rocket is done, but Los is a grieving widower. Despite (or perhaps because) of this he decides to go to Mars. He takes with him his friend Gusev, a Red Army officer, and Archibald Skyles, an American newspaper reporter. However, once they reach Mars they discover that it is inhabited by a fascist civilization of aliens who are the descendants of ancient emigrants from Atlantis. Los falls in love with Aelita, the daughter of the Martian dictator, the chairman of the Supreme Council, and together they and Gusev lead a rebellion and overthrow the fascist government of Mars and institute a Communist paradise.

* I'm including Aelita in the Best of the Encyclopedia category because it's the archetypal Soviet science fiction film. During the 1920s, when the Soviets went through a phrase for a couple of years of granting the creators of popular culture a lot of leeway as long as they included pro-Soviet and pro-Communist material in their creations, there was an outpouring of genre stories, novels, and films from creators within the USSR. Science fiction was one of the most popular genres with creators and consumers. And Aelita was at the top of the sf written and filmed at that time. A successful Communist revolution and utopia on Mars, led by a very intelligent, very Soviet scientist/inventor/adventurer who finds love among the aliens on another planet--what was there for a Soviet reader and watcher of films not to fall in love with? Of course, the film was more popular than the novel, and the film (made by the very talented film writer and director Yakov Protazanov) was so successful as to establish the concept of Communist Mars in the minds of viewers everywhere (and inspire fictive and cinematic imitations) and to become the archetypal Soviet sf film of the era. Nor has it aged badly; taking into account the limitations of the time and place and the changing styles in cinema between 1924 and the 2020, the film still works very well and is an enjoyable diversion. 

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