Belyaev Alexander Romanovich (1884 – 1942), the prose writer.
Born March 4 (16 N. s.) In Smolensk in the family of a priest. Since childhood he read a lot, was fond of adventure literature, especially Jules Verne. Later he flew on airplanes one of the first designs, he made gliders himself.
In 1901 he graduated from the theological seminary, but he did not become a priest, on the contrary, he came from there as a convinced atheist. He loved painting, music, theater, played amateur theatricals, studied photography, and studied technology.
He entered a law school in Yaroslavl and simultaneously studied at the conservatoire in violin. To earn money for studies, he played in a circus orchestra, painted theatrical scenery, and practiced journalism. In 1906, after graduating from the Lyceum, he returned to Smolensk, worked as a sworn attorney. He acted as a music critic, a theater reviewer in the newspaper Smolenski Vestnik.
He did not cease to dream of distant countries and, having saved up money, traveled in 1913 to Italy, France, Switzerland. Impressions of this trip he saved for life. Returning to Smolensk, he worked in the Smolensk Herald, a year later he became the editor of this publication. Severe illness – bone tuberculosis – for 6 years, three of which he was in plaster, chained him to bed. Not succumbing to despair, he is engaged in self-education: he studies foreign languages, medicine, biology, history,
In 1923 he moved to Moscow, began serious literary activity. Prints sci-fi stories, novels in the magazines “Around the World”, “Knowledge-Power”, “World Pathfinder”, deserving the title of “Soviet Jules Verne.” In 1925 he published the novel The Head of Professor Dowell, which Belyaev himself called an autobiographical story: he wanted to tell “what a head without a body can experience.”
In the 1920s there were such famous works as “The Island of the Lost Ships”, “Amphibian Man”, “Above the Abyss”, “Struggle in the Air”. He writes essays on the great Russian scientists – Lomonosov, Mendeleev, Pavlov, Tsiolkovsky.
In 1931 he moved to Leningrad, continuing to work hard. He was especially interested in problems of space exploration and ocean depths. In 1934, after reading Belyaev’s novel The Airship, Tsiolkovsky wrote: “… was cleverly written and sufficiently scientific for imagination.” I will allow myself to express Comrade Belyaev’s pleasure. ”
In 1933 the book “Leap into Nothingness”, 1935 – “The Second Moon”. In the 1930s, the “Star of the CEC”, “Wonderful Eye”, “Under the Arctic Sky” were written.
The last years of his life he spent near Leningrad, in the city of Pushkin. I met the war in the hospital.
January 6, 1942 Belyaev died of hunger in the occupied Pushkin.
A short biography from the book: Russian writers and poets. A short biographical dictionary. Moscow, 2000.