H.L. Oldie

H.L. Oldie is the joint pen-name of Oleg Ladyzhensky and Dmitry Gromov.

Oleg Ladyzhensky was born 1963 in Kharkov, Ukraine. In 1980 he enrolled in the Kharkov Institute of Culture as a student of the Theatre Production Department and was graduated from there in 1984. From 1984 to 1999 Ladyzhensky worked as a stage director. He has a Black Belt of the 2nd Dan in Goju Ryu Karate-do and is the Chief Instructor of Goju Ryu Karate school in Kharkov and a full-contact Karate referee, Ukraine.

Dmitry Gromov was born 1963 in Simferopol, Ukraine. In 1969 his family moved to Sevastopol and in 1974 to Kharkov, Ukraine, where Dmitry lives now. In 1980 Dmitry enrolled the Kharkov Polytechnic Institute as a student of the Inorganic Chemistry Department and graduated from there in 1986. Dmitry worked as a chemist at the Scientific-Research Institute of Main Chemistry in Kharkov. 1991 Dmitry obtained his MS in Sciences. Dmitry has a Black Belt of the 1st Dan in Goju Ryu Karate-do.

Their most successful and praised series is OIKUMENE often compared with DUNE by Frank Herbert.
Here some reviews:

In the genre of “space opera” this trilogy is simply obliged to move these living classic authors on a pedestal.
Perhaps this is the best work to date by Oldie. And although the genre is unexpected for them, the book, in my opinion, significantly exceeds, for example, the “Trojan” cycle of Dan Simmons [1. Ilium: 2. Olympos]. Yes, even if it doesn’t surpass – taste is subjective – in any case, this is a book written with talent, love and professionalism. This already completely distinguishes it from the stream of crafts that bronze masters of Russian science fiction are usually producing.
It is a self-contained work. What a blessing that Oldie did not begin to crumple the finale and break off the reader, which has already become an idiotic tradition. They did not spawn worlds and galaxies and then abandon them. And they stayed within the framework of the genre, without giving a damn about the plot, without making the hero a lifeless doll and not imagining himself in the heat of a star disease as a hybrid of Chekhov and Dostoevsky. They simply wrote a fantastic masterpiece.
And the lyrical digressions in the book are not at all narcissistic toxication, but an additional way of communicating with the reader. And the feasts of the main characters emphasize the action and characters of the heroes, and do not testify to the food ups and downs of the author. And funny jokes scattered throughout the text. And, of course, a good language. There is something to be learned by colleagues – “high talents out of categories”.
I would put more than a dozen [10 points on a 10-point scale]. But since it still doesn’t work out, I’ll go cool. In the meantime – quietly, so as not to wake the criticized critic – authors, bravo and Hurray!

I am sure that I will not be mistaken if I call “Oikumena” the most mature and serious creation of Oldie. Starting with “The Messiah Cleans Up the Disc,” Oldie’s books are gradually moving toward more realistic subjects, mature philosophies, and original ideas. Plus, their senseless merciless philosophy disappears from their stories, for the sake of which Oldies were ready for any distortion and illogical plot.
At the moment, the culmination of such an evolution is the “Oikumene” cycle. This is the first space opera of the duet, and it immediately “breaks ahead”, stands out from the entire gigantic mass of “books about space” with its originality and excellent study.
Interesting is the composition of the series. Each trilogy is essentially a biography. Borgotta, Regina, Mark – talk about the key, radical changes in their lives, „growing up“. And I am sincerely convinced that Oikumene will not be limited to only three biographies. Oldies have not exhausted the potential of “Oikumene” and by one tenth – there is a huge mass of unique stories and ideas that they can tell in the future.
Over time, after many, many years, „Oikumene“ will become a key creation of Oldie. When we hear “Oldie”, we will remember about “Oikumene”. Tolkien – “The Lord of the Rings”, King – “The Dark Tower”, Asimov – “Academy”, Martin – “PLiO”, Doyle – “Sherlock Holmes”, Robert Howard – “Conan”. The duet obviously will not concentrate only on the space opera, but I have no doubt that from time to time it will recall it and write new stories into this large-scale canvas.

No other space science fiction cycle has so many advantages – an impeccable literary language, an unstoppable fantasy, an incredible scale and more than a non-standard universe.
Here, for example, I. Banks‘ The Culture. How good it is – but still, these are scattered novels about different times and events.
The Hyperion Cycle by Simmons? Has anyone even read it to the end? Successful (ingenious) is only the first novel. Further worse.
Barrayar by L.M. Bujold? It is also unlikely.
The world of Ender by O. S. Card? Again parasitism on the first masterpiece novel.
Expanse by J. Corey. He also wrote a creative duet. Too mundane and, again, interest is descending, and not vice versa, unfortunately.
I can’t say anything about Peter Hamilton and David Weber – I haven’t read it, but I doubt very much that compositionally and artistically their cycles will be able to compete with Oldie’s Oikumene.
Along with the cycle about “Oikumene”, you can probably put Frank Herbert’s Dune.

I have not received such pleasure for a long time as from reading this cycle. Before that, I had the impression that our “cosmic” science fiction had pretty much degenerated into continuous massacre in the appropriate surroundings, and here such a thoughtful and unusual world, without an imposed division in bad/good. I read so many books that almost always in the course of the narration it becomes obvious to me what will happen in 10-20 pages, but not in this cycle. It struck me so intense that I ran to tell my daughter – „I found a book where I do not know what will happen next!“ Yes, the imagination of the authors is at the highest level.
I would like to note that by the middle of reading I had persistent associations with Dune, not in the plot, no. In something elusive. Maybe in a certain alloy of “easy unscientific” with elaborated details of a fantastic world and epic atmosphere of the work.