Through the Eyes of a Soviet…

This post originally appeared as a comment on youtube in response to the following video.

By one Norton S:

“I was a kid living near Pryp’iat’ when the forth nuclear reactor exploded. Both of my parents worked at that Nuclear Power Plant. My sister went to school in Pryp’iat’ on April 26, 1986. Nobody told us nothing about the danger. Moreover, those, who wanted to leave Pryp’iat’ for personal reasons weren’t allowed to do so. Only after more than 36 hours after the disaster, on sunny Sunday evacuation begun. We were told that the evacuation is only a “temporally measure” and that we will come back to our homes on the next day, after they’ll “clean up” Pryp’iat’. Well, more than 30 years have passed since that promise. They told us nothing about the level of radiation, neither gave us potassium iodide. My parents, who went back as so-called “liquidators” told me that even in the May of 1986 they were deceived about the radioactivity level and didn’t receive potassium iodide. Most of their colleagues are dead by now. There were lie everywhere and about everything.

The mini-series nailed most of that lies and show its consequences. The criminal and cowardice nature of the soviet government, the incompetence and fear of big and small “bosses” without proper education, but with big ambitions. The fear and meanness of careerists with black souls, ready to lie to the last and easily sacrifice others. Especially easily such liars are willing to sacrifice others. The conscript soldiers and reservists (which were called “partisans” by liquidators) who were sent to the roof to clear it from graphite are mostly dead by now. These “bio-robots” were sometimes misused, worked over the “safe” time, sent back more and more. Such dehumanization is terrifying. Evacuated people not only lost their homes and all their previous lives – they were doomed to diseases and “stigmatization” by society. Their lives were divided on “before” and “after” the disaster. In the May, 1986 along the roads near Pryp’at’ lay a lot of shot dogs – it was heartbreaking to see, my mother recalls. She was looking for our dog among those dead bodies.

Soviet atmosphere and life recreated as thoroughly as possible. Total lies, cowardice, incompetence and inhumanity of the system and its functionaries evoke memories and is as frighten as a revived corpse enchanted by necromancers from HBO. Craig Mazin has created a spiritualistic seance under the guise of the mini-series. The degree of immersion and horror is amazing. No horror film is capable of what reality is capable of. Musical accompaniment, background noises, absurdity and madness of what is happening on the screen, the doom of the performers of someone else’s will, going to suffering and death. And the total lie of all and about everything. All of these shown by wonderful actors cast, with tense dramatization, perfect ambient sounds and music. Deep and haunting show, with excellent balance between staying true to the real story and keeping audience in suspense despite the fact that we all know how the story ends.

Among the shortcomings, I will note the “necessary evil” of political correctness – the fictional character of Uliana Khomiuk, the whole line of which is extremely “Mary Sue-ish” and annoying. Exaggerations with the miners, the overly glorification of Legasov and Shcherbina, etc, but all these don’t spoil the main idea of ​​the film. By the way, the design flaws of the reactor were indicated and specialists warned about the danger of the “konechny effect” and the need to modernize rods and fuel channels in reactor. Latest warning was in 1983 (all secret ofcause). But the NPP had to be commissioned by May 1, 1984. The soviet bosses liked to time everything for the communist celebrations. That timed. Only after the disaster did they begin to correct the shortcomings that they had been hearing about back in the 1970s (still hiding the truth).

“The real danger is that if we hear enough lies, then we no longer recognize the truth at all”. The whole soviet system was build on lies, on denial of truth. All we are eager to believe in convenient lies rather than to accept painful truth. And sooner or later such ignorance of reality inevitably leads us to collision with it – the real world reminds about itself ruthlessly to those, who are willing to live in dreams instead of reality. But when the lies became building material for the whole political system, the manifestation of truth can became catastrophic. Truth is like radiation – it is invisible and you can easily deny its existence until you begin to vomit and die from radiation sickness or, if “lucky”, from cancer.

“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” John 8:32. Or live in lies, in illusions, slaves of fear, and it will truly crush you. Everyone decide for themselves.

P.S. Complains about the absence of “Russian language” are ridiculous – locals spoke Russian at best with their national accents. In small villages locals spoke Ukrainian or Belorussian or mixed both languages. Thereby one essential factor was missed in the mini-series. As liquidators joked with grim humor, in Pryp’iat’ Moscow wanted to extinguish all the national minorities – in 1986 conscripts from Latvia were “thrown” to Pryp’iat’, in 1987 – conscripts from Central Asia. The local population were Ukrainian with nearby Belorussians. Moscow didn’t care much, because population of Russia did not suffer at all in a result of that stupid experiment conducted by the order of Moscow bosses on the reactor designed with engineering miscalculations. When it exploded, mostly Ukrainians and Belorussians suffered, with other national minorities sent there as conscripts.”

I’ll be at the Independent Audiobook Awards in KC, MO June 7th.

If you live anywhere near KC, Missouri, I’ll be there on the 7th.  My novel, Commune Two, is a nominee for the PA category and I’ll also be appearing on a discussion panel at 9 am that day.

Come out and have a drink with me if you have the time.  Bring things to sign if that’s your thing 😉

All event details (plus travel info and tickets) can be found here.

– Josh

FB Live Event & Q/A – Sat, March 23rd @ 0930 PST

Hey, all.  In celebration of the 1-year anniversary of the 50 Shades of Bray fan page, I’ll be running a Facebook Live event where I run my stupid mouth for about 1.5 hours.  I’ll be answering any questions you guys have to post and I’m told there will be some prize give-aways as well.  If you’d like to come chat with me for some unknown damned reason, save the date on your calendar and don’t forget to tune in!

Click here to register for the event.

– Josh

Audiobook Production Updates: C4 and All Gifts, Bestowed

So I got an e-mail from Bob this morning covering the release dates of my most recent novels, Commune 4 and All Gifts, Bestowed.  The news is not what anyone wants to hear, I’m sure, but there are some very good reasons for why it has played out as it has.  I’ll explain the situation here.

At play are several key factors:

  1. R.C. Bray is ridiculously popular.
  2. For whatever reason, my books have been well received.
  3. Seriously, R.C. Bray is ridiculously fucking popular.

The last year has been a pretty crazy one, both for Bob and myself.  We’ve seen these Blue Heron titles (and the Commune Series right along with them) grow in popularity within the audiobook market space; really to degrees that are unprecedented.  From the perspective of the average reader, I’m sure it all just looks like another book on Audible and it makes sense that Blue Heron’s titles should be slugging toe-to-toe with some of these other major properties that have the benefit of massive publishing houses behind their marketing.

But I assure you, this is not normal.  Bob’s recent successes in the last year have brought him some unexpected clout under the Blue Heron banner such that he now has access to certain coveted features that we just didn’t have in the past; features like pre-order links and concrete release dates.  This is all rather new and has been a learning experience for all of us.

Part of that learning experience includes figuring out how Audible coordinates these activities with the publishers they partner with, and this leads me to my next point.  The date given thus far has been a hard release date of March 19th for Commune 4, which I think we all would have loved to see.  But due to the low-level minutiae of the platform at large, this is simply not to be.  It really comes down to coordination issues, a few assumptions, and a general unfamiliarity with these new opportunities to which we now have access.

What does that mean for you, the reader?  Well, it means that you should see a pre-order link for Commune 4 on April 5th and the audiobook will go live for sale on May 10thAll Gifts, Bestowed will have a pre-order available on April 26th and go live on June 7th.

My sincere apologies for the mix-up.  We’ll get this all sorted out as quickly as possible and have the process well ironed out in the future.

– Josh


Commune 2 Re-Release!


That’s right.  The ebook format for Commune Book Two is back in action, once again.  My publisher is working fast to get the paperback and hardcovers up on on Amazon as well, just as they’ve done for Commune 1!

And remember: if you want a signed copy of these books, there are instructions advising how you can make it happen.

– Josh