Named by his father after the Soviet OMON, the Interior Ministry riot police, Omon, a Soviet astronaut, renames himself Ra after the Egyptian sun god. As he approaches his final crisis, Omon reflects on the lies he's told and on the one that has just been revealed to him that the Soviet space program (that he's based his entire life upon) is entirely other than what it purports to be. As Omon tries to reconcile the events of his life, he remembers what a Colonel of the KGB once told him, " ... the more consciously you perform your feat of heroism, the greater will be the degree of truth." The ensuing truths he uncovers are astonishing. He enrolls in a training program for cosmonauts, only to learn that his first assignment will also be his last. For although the Soviet space program claims to carry out its missions to the moon, they don't yet have the technology to make a return flight. The voyage that results combines the absurdity of Soviet protocol with the wonder and pathos of space flight. This haunting tragicomedy was nominated for the 1993 Russian Booker Prize (which Pelevin won for a collection of short stories, The Blue Lantern, also available from New Directions).
- ISBN-13: 9780811213646
- ISBN-10: 0811213641
- Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
- Publish Date: February 1998
- Dimensions: 8.02 x 5.13 x 0.43 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.39 pounds
- Page Count: 154