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The Capsule

A Novel

THE CAPSULE takes place in year 45 of the Age of Perfection. In any period of history, humanity would call this world a paradise. Citizens of the United State of Earth live in fully-automated capsule apartments. A computer program called Systema looks after their physical and psychological comfort. There is no need to work since the government, led by the Wise Ruler, provides for all necessities and desires. Systema has specially designed an entertainment program suited to your tastes and emotional needs. The world outside the capsule is a dangerous place filled with deadly viruses and wild animals, but you needn’t feel alone. The virtual reality of Net City offers a full social life where you can meet friends, check on your family and fall in love just like the real world…

Liza, an unassuming comment moderator, was just as happy in her capsule as anybody else. Then one day her best friend died under mysterious circumstances, and her virtual acquaintances respond in a way that is curiously, menacingly one-dimensional. With help from a mysterious group of rebels, Liza abandons the safe confines of her capsule in search of answers and to save her life. How does a young man die in the Age of Perfection? Is somebody manipulating Systema behind the scenes? Are the avatars of Net City friends, enemies, or simply illusions? Who is really in control of the world beyond the capsule?

This novel deals with issues of freedom and power, political control and the limits of artificial intelligence that are becoming more relevant in her home country and around the world.

The cyberpunk dystopia "The Capsule" is the first novel of female Russian author Olga Loukianova, books researcher and IT- entrepreneur. It was translated into English by Steven McGrath in 2018. "The Capsule" passed from hand to hand and now it has become available to the wide circle of readers.


Olga Loukianova was born and still lives in Moscow, Russia. She began writing while in middle school. Her first efforts were in poetry, then came stories, and after that plays. To become a true writer, Olga studied at the Faculty of Philology at Moscow State University, where she received her first degree in 2004. Five years later, Loukianova defended her Ph.D. dissertation in Russian literature, which focused on futurist Velimir Khlebnikov.
Shortly after graduation, Loukianova began a decade of work as an IT entrepreneur, starting with Philology 2.0, an online platform for literary and humanities enthusiasts, and ending with e-commerce startups. She co-founded several new tech companies in Russia for various products and services. During this time, Olga continued to write. She always wrote “for the drawer” and never sought publication for her work because shejudged it critically.
The course of her life changed sharply after her last start-up company collapsed in 2013. Olga began re-thinking her goals and ambitions in life. She understood that for her as a writer, it was now or never. «The Capsule» was completed in 2017.

Steven McGrath

ATA-Certified Translator

“The Capsule has an ideal mix of depth and flow. In a relatively short novel, I felt fully immersed into the fantasy world, both because of the its contextual detail and real-world plausibility. Throughout the whole story, I always wanted to find out what would happen to Liza and her friends next. Without interrupting the storyline, the richness of detail and symbolism gave me plenty of room to make associations and guess at the underlying themes of Olga's prose”

Sergey Shaporov

IT-entrepreneur, CTO in startups by Yandex,, Qiwi, etc.

“The novel is about freedom and power. I like "The Capsule" especially because it doesn't exaggerate the problems but shows them as a part of an ordinary reality. Meanwhile a larger game is playing itself out. Deep philosophical questions are raised. And it describes an alternative use of AI. Very fascinating!”

Galina Bogolubova

Theatre Producer, literary scholar, deputy artistic director of Ermolova Moscow Theatre

“The plot of The Capsule, written in brilliant Russian, is well thought out, keeps in suspense until the end of the story. It is not so much about the future as much as what is happening now.”

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