Much like Vladimir Lenin, his onetime rival for the leadership of the Bolshevik party during its formative years, Alexander Bogdanov (1873–1928) was a visionary. In two science fiction novels set on Mars, Bogdanov imagined a future in which the workers of the world, liberated from capitalist exploitation, create a “physiological collective” that rejuvenates and unites its members through regular blood exchanges. But Bogdanov was not merely a dreamer. He worked tirelessly to popularize and realize his vision, founding the first research institute devoted to the science of blood transfusion.
In A Martian Stranded on Earth, the first broad-based book on Bogdanov in English, Nikolai Krementsov examines Bogdanov’s roles as revolutionary, novelist, and scientist, presenting his protagonist as a coherent thinker who pursued his ideas in a wide range of venues. Through the lens of Bogdanov’s involvement with blood studies on one hand, and of his fictional and philosophical writings on the other, Krementsov offers a nuanced analysis of the interactions between scientific ideas and societal values.