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Sci-fi writers imagined the Ukraine conflict that they're now fighting in

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Life imitates art

Euromaidan protesters rest and strengthen their barricades on Hrushevskoho Street after another night of clashes with riot police in Kiev, Ukraine.
Euromaidan protesters rest and strengthen their barricades on Hrushevskoho Street after another night of clashes with riot police in Kiev, Ukraine.
Mykhaylo Palinchak / Shutterstock.com

The idea of a modern conflict between pro-Russian and pro-Western forces has appeared in numerous works of speculative fiction over the years, namely in the video game series Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, and before that in the lesser-known game Lock On: Modern Air Combat. But the current, real-life conflict in the Ukraine and Crimea is even more eerily reminiscent of recent sci-fi books written by Russian and Ukrainian authors.

As Cathy Young explains in vivid detail over at Slate, numerous sci-fi novels published in the early 2000s — War 2010: The Ukrainian Front, War 2011: Against NATO, Omega, Battlefield Ukraine: The Broken Trident, among them — describe scenarios in which Ukraine becomes a battleground between Russian separatists and Ukraine nationalists backed by the US and NATO. Several authors of those books, most notably Fedor Berezin (of War 2010 and War 2011), have since gone on to play active roles in the conflict itself, with Berezin aggressively propagandizing on behalf of Russian separatists in Ukraine. How the conflict evolves remains to be seen, but some critics accuse the sci-fi writers of creating a fertile environment for the conflict to take root in the first place. In any case, it's a particularly worrisome example of life imitating art more than the other way around.