Posted on April 17, 2014 in Archive

Meet Dmitry Glukhovsky: author, journalist, futurist


Russian journalist and sci-fi novelist, Dmitry Glukhovsky, is the man behind the worldwide phenomenon ebook Metro 2033 that gave readers the ability to have a voice and become a part of the series. If you haven’t heard of it, Metro 2033 describes the consequences of atomic war, and follows the only survivors as they strive for existence in the Moscow subway (Metro).

Glukhovsky began writing the story when he was just 18, though he originally thought of the idea at a young age while catching the Metro to school. One day he discovered that the Moscow subway was originally planned and constructed as a shelter in case World War III broke out, and from there his imagination ran wild.

After being declined by publishers, Glukhovsky posted the interactive story on social networking sites as a free-to-read text with multimedia elements (including its own original soundtrack) in 2002. The experiment drew 3 million readers worldwide who were fascinated with this universe Gulkhovsky had created. The self-published web release attracted 2 million readers before a single paperback version was created.

Glukovsky at the Moscow Metro where his novel was set.

Glukovsky himself, waiting in the Moscow Metro where his virtual world began.

Metro 2033 produced an appetite in its fans. They wanted more stories but this was at a time when Glukhovsky was working as a radio presenter and a journalist, as well as an author. So to keep a strong readership and feed their desire for more stories he launched “The Universe of Metro”, a platform allowing fans and authors worldwide to create their own stories, intertwined with the same universe created by Glukhovsky.

In three years it has evolved into a series of around forty books. He gave this opportunity to writers to contribute their own versions of the post-apocalyptic tales to be told from different countries, in different voices, without any control over the creations and stories that came out of it. You would think, as the artistic creator of this vision, that Glukhovsky would want to oversee the pathways in which the stories take but that is not the case.

“I think it’s not interesting if I tell everything. So instead I offer… writers, both professional and beginners, [the opportunity to] write their own story set in their hometowns, their home cities,” he says.

Authors from the UK, Russia, Cuba, Italy, Poland, Germany and China have posted their own versions of the post-war events set in their countries, giving Glukhovsky the part of the reader where he can experience the adventures for the first time. He is actively using multi- and trans-media, crowdsourcing and social networking, as well as fan fiction to tell the stories he wants to tell.

Glukhovsky’s creation has also evolved into a popular computer game ‘Metro: Last Light’, which is a continuation of the story told in Metro 2033. It has an in-depth storyline written by Glukhovsky, including random people that the gamer can talk to along the way who share their story if you want to hear it.

Even Hollywood want in on the action, with plans to adapt the story to be set in Washington DC where the subway is also called the Metro. Glukhovsky is surprisingly ever-so-cool about the adaption of his creation saying, “The idea is, it’s a text. It’s a living creature. And it can now go through transformations and live a life of its own. I don’t want to control every step. I want it to be a talent-driven thing, a prominent thing, but I don’t want it to be exactly what I thought it would be.”

On top of creating a worldwide phenomenon and videogame, Glukghovsky’s journalistic career is impressive as well. He worked as a reporter travelling from Morocco to Guatemala to Iceland and Japan. He reported Israel’s standoff with Hezbollah under the missiles in Kiryat-Shmona and made the world’s first report from the North Pole.

He has worked for EuroNews TV in France, Deutsche Welle Radio, and Russia Today and has lived in Israel, Germany and France, speaking fluently in English, French and Hebrew, can read German, some Spanish, as well as his home tongue Russian. Some people are just born to achieve.

Glukhovsky believes the future for publishing lies in the digital realm where electronic books, equipped with their own soundtracks will be co-written by authors and published on various social networking formats and will be bought with a click. In his words, “Paper rots yet books are immortal.”

Last year he published his latest book, ‘FUTURE’ and his plans involving his own future include television shows, video games and Nobel-prize winning novels.



Dmitry Glukhovksy at the Frankfurt Book Fair talks about the convergence of storytelling across various media, and transmedia interactivity.