Who are you are Igor Akimushkin? To birthday of the great popular writer
there are writers whose name are familiar to thousands (and even to millions of people), their books do not lie too long on shelves, love them and re-read. And at the same time we not only do not know about the writer almost anything, but also opportunities to learn something distinct are deprived.
Among the Soviet readers 1960 - 80 - x years it is difficult to find the one who, being fond of zoology, could pass by Igor Ivanovich Akimushkin`s books. Its six-volume “Fauna“ still flaunts at me in a visible place near such great popular writers as Bram, Darrell and Grzhimek. However, unlike them, is known of Akimushkin`s biography disappointingly a little - it is impossible to find even exact date of death of the writer.
With date of birth the situation is better - almost in all sources it is specified on May 1, 1929 (the truth, once is told about March 1 and it is, most likely, a typographical error). Future popular writer in Moscow, and, like Darrell was born, already in the childhood began to show purposeful interest in dumb animals. Still the little boy he very much liked to be at the dacha where watched surrounding living creatures and right there thought out to bugs - spiders own names. Soon he learned that there is such science zoology where managed to work at names also to it. From now on the question “Whom to Be?“ disappeared at Igor by itself.
He visits a circle of young biologists at Moscow Zoo, gets class and right there - in 1947 - comes to MSU on the biologist - soil faculty. Having ended it in 1952 - m, Akimushkin gets a job in Institute of oceanology at Academy of Sciences of the USSR. Exactly there he defends the dissertation about octopuses of the Pacific Ocean and is entitled Candidate of Biology. Not without reason one of its first books - “Primacies of the sea“ (1963) - will be devoted to cephalopod mollusks - one of the most reasonable beings among invertebrates. But whether Igor could think, composing in the childhood names for animals what in 1968 in the name of recently opened squid will immortalize also his surname - Cycloteuthis akimushkini Filippova?
However, by 1968 the surname of Akimushkin was already widely known not only in scientific community. Our hero began to be printed in 1956, but in 1961 - m he decides to try on a field of promotional literature for children and youth. That year there are two books at once - “Traces of unprecedented animals“ and “A track of legends“ - how legends and rumors of improbable animals sometimes are wrapped in quite real opening of new types.
Books had just wide popularity. Distinct language, the intriguing narration manner, erudition not only in the professional sphere, but also in art, history, mythology - did Akimushkin`s books madly interesting even for the people far from zoology. Besides Akimushkin widely used foreign sources, and the Soviet reader for the first time learned many facts from his books.
Small example. I was asked concerning article about children recently - wolves - from where Amala and Kamala`s history went? And so, the eyewitness wrote down it, allegedly, - the priest J. E. L. Singh then it in 1927 got on pages of newspapers. And us this history was informed by Igor Akimushkin.
V. Flint, from I. Akimushkin forward to the book “Where and How?“ (1965): “Just in the head “Investigation by a sound“ we with fascinating interest read
about the surprising phenomenon - echolocation of bats and dolphins, read as a certain revelation. And meanwhile for the Soviet reader it should not have been news! Three years ago by the State publishing house of the physicist - mathematical literature it was translated into Russian and the book of one of founders of the doctrine about echolocation in fauna, Donald Griffin, “An echo in life of people and animals“ is published by fifty-thousand circulation. The book is serious, clever. The data reported in it are received that is called first-hand: the author himself did thousands of experiments, analysed tens of hypotheses. And it is written, apparently, popularly. And still the book was remembered only to experts, passed by the mass reader! In what here business? Yes in this most “correct rhythm“ about which it was told and which D. Griffin, probably, did not find“.
C 1960 - x years of the book of Akimushkin leave with a noticeable frequency - “Entertaining biology“, “Where and How? “ (about orientation of animals in space), “The tragedy of wild animals“ (about the exterminated and endangered species), “Pervoposelentsa of sushi“ (about spiders), “Invisible threads of the nature“ (about ecology), “Whims of the nature“... Besides, our hero managed to script both scientific documentaries, and the book for absolutely little readers (“Once upon a time there was a beaver“, “Who without wings flies?“, etc.) .
Against national popularity Akimushkin in 1963 enters CPSU, and in 1971 becomes the winner of an award of All-Union society “Znaniye“. In 8 years it will even be admitted to the Writers` Union of the USSR, and he during this time will write the main work...
It is about the well-known six-volume Fauna series which became the real plainness even for such talented popular writer as Akimushkin. It would seem - whether in power to write to one person practically about all - all creatures inhabiting the earth? And whether it is worth competing to such authoritative editions how “Life of Animals“ - whether it be legendary Bram`s work, or thorough (under the same name) a semitomnik of prod. - va “Education“ where tens of authoritative scientists worked?
Of course costed - Bram`s archaism and scientific academism of “Education“ lost to Akimushkin`s style - live, fascinating, and at the same time skillfully teetering on the brink of entertaining and scientific character. To it served both abundance of photos, and design of the book ingenious (in my opinion). On each side there were white fields decorated the amusing, supplementing the text pictures of a brush of A. Bloch and B. Zhutovsky. The main text went in large print, and quotes or additional data (which could be passed) a font less.
By the way, the writer not only quotes others, but also remembers the meetings with the world of the nature. Akimushkin`s acquaintances marked out him more than once as good athlete and hunter who, though did not go abroad, but went round many corners of the extensive Soviet Union much.
Promoting (if it scientific, but not pseudoscientific) - very difficult genre. The popular writer - even the scientist - cannot be the thorough expert in all areas. Akimushkin had misses and inaccuracies and, but that they against the modern nauchpopovsky consumer goods which filled up counters.
“I went on the way of generalizations, selectivity though in every way I seek to keep behind books value them as reference books“.
In the USSR was considered that scientifically - popular literature is urged to broaden horizons of people, to feel the participation in other spheres of life and, it is desirable, to stimulate them to further knowledge. However, with rare exception, the mass of popular editions does not give to
any real knowledge now, or gives them only as a set of the interesting facts taken out of the general context to please to fashion. That is, in a statement of information there is no sequence, it is fragmentary and does not apply for that the layman or the child sought to study and expand the knowledge. From the reader / viewer only exclamation “is required to Waw!“ and more than anything. For example, the number of popular books about dinosaurs occupies “lion`s share“ of total of similar editions about all fauna. And in the majority they do not cause in the reader of desire to get acquainted in more detail with biology, zoology, geology. They are only urged to amuse his curiosity, to please an eye, to entertain.
However we will return to Akimushkin.
its “Fauna“ were steadily published from 1971 to 1975, so far, as it seems to me, the author was simply not tired. The fifth volume - about insects - was less on volume and according to information that it is undeserved in relation to the most numerous class of fauna. However in 1981 a series was added with one more volume in which, according to the writer, it is for the first time (!) in world scientifically - popular literature united under one cover of the information about pets. It is necessary to tell, in the genre the writer was a pioneer more than once - the same “Traces of unprecedented animals“ and “A track of legends“ - were one of the first books on cryptozoology (the sphere of search of the animals who are considered legendary or nonexistent).
In 1993 Igor Akimushkin died at the age of 64 years. But its books did not forget - in 1998 - there was a reprinting of “Fauna“ - this time in 4 - x volumes and addition about missing types of invertebrates. This time the book was decorated by color photos, but, unfortunately, pictures therefore the old edition still esthetically looks much more advantageously disappeared.
I dream to publish sometime similarity of “Fauna“ too - but in a bit different direction (to give, first of all attention, roles of animals in our culture). And if I manage it, then I will surely devote the book to Igor Ivanovich Akimushkin - the best Soviet popular writer of zoology from all, me chitanny.