Beginning December 1, readers will have the opportunity to download author Alexander Potemkin’s novel Humankind Undone for free.
Here are some excerpts from reviews of the book by well-known philosophers and contemporary literary critics:
“In its volume and scope, this novel is reminiscent of a medieval treatise—it is a vast wellspring, or to be more precise, a compendium of information, an encyclopedia of important and captivating projects. Global questions—from the creation of the world and its biological evolution to the social makeup of world order in the future—problems posed by contemporary science and technological progress (in particular, genetic engineering, artificial insemination or cloning, transferring the mind onto a hard disc, etc.)—are all topics that arrest the author’s attention.”
Valentin Nikitin, D.Sc. (Philosophy), academician (Moscow)
“Alexander Potemkin’s novel addresses a very serious topic, which is declared in its title, Humankind Undone. It is declared resolutely and fundamentally. Humans have been undergoing continuous modification for two-and-a-half millennia and Potemkin’s novel takes the next step. It moves along the same invariable path—expressing doubts about human integrity, putting humankind to the test, issuing the sentence, and meting out the punishment.
“The author’s titular declaration and the behavior and discourse he assigns to the main protagonists show his intention to have the last say about humankind and issue a sentence that is not subject to appeal.”
Vladimir Kotelnikov, D. Sc. (Philology), chief researcher at the Institute of Russian Literature (St. Petersburg)
This book is built on ideological contemplation not only about the moral and spiritual downfall of humankind at its current stage of evolution, but also about the possible ceasing of its physical existence due to the destruction (or self-destruction) of human nature as such. This topic is nothing new, since it has been revealed in different ways in the writings of Russian 20th century philosophers.
“It is a topic that addresses the humanistic crisis—a crisis that affects the worldview foundation of the new European culture (according to Berdyaev, humanism in the 20th century has been regressing into the realm of Antichrist). It goes without saying that Potemkin’s novel addresses this topic in a specific way, using examples from contemporary life. The genre of the philosophical novel allows the author to present different versions of a discussion on the tragic nature of human existence in dialogue form. In the wider context, the novel not only delves into metaphysics as such, but also demonstrates elements of intellectual journalism, political science and cultural studies.”
Mikhail Maslin, D.Sc. (Philosophy), professor at Moscow State University (Moscow)
“Humankind Undone is a philosophical novel, in which the eternal problems of Being and Spirit, the meaning of life, death, immortality, and history are all subjected to contemplation and reexamined in the context of our fervid times.
“When reading Potemkin’s novel you get the feeling that he thinks he is the first to write anything of this kind! What audacity! Or to be more exact, he is saying that no one has the guts to write about this kind of thing anymore. But here we have writing done with great style and aspiration, in the tradition of Dostoevsky and Gogol—whereby he goes over the heads not only of those who wrote 150 years ago, but of contemporary writers too. He acts as though he has not read them and is outside the literary process, bursting in from the side from goodness knows where.”
Georgi Gachev, Soviet and Russian philosopher, culture expert, D.Sc. (Philology) (Moscow)