Moscow 2042 begins in a Munich beer garden in 1982. The central character is a Russian émigré writer, Vitaly Nikitich Kartsev, who bears a strong resemblance to Voinovich himself. In conversation with a German acquaintance, Rudi Mittelbrechenmacher, Kartsev is faulted for his indifference to science fiction and his unwillingness to accept the possibility of time travel, which his friend Rudi assures him is a reality. Kartsev responds by going to a travel agency to seek passage to Moscow in the twenty-first century. His success in making the necessary arrangements means that Kartsev will have direct experience from which science fiction may be written.
When Kartsev’s projected travel becomes known, he is approached by various people who have an interest in future Moscow. John, an operative from the Central Intelligence Agency, poses as a New Times magazine representative and offers to pay the cost of Kartsev’s expensive trip in exchange for the story he will bring back. Wealthy representatives of a Middle Eastern government abduct Kartsev and offer him money if he will return with plans for a nuclear bomb. Then, before his departure in time, Kartsev is persuaded to fly to Toronto to meet another émigré writer, Sim Simych Karnavalov (Alexandr Solzhenitsyn). Karnavalov wants Kartsev to carry into the future a floppy disk containing the completed “slabs” of a very large work, here called The Greater Zone. Kartsev is also...
(The entire section is 536 words.)