As the turbulent years following the Russian revolution of 1917 settle down into a new Soviet reality, the brilliant and eccentric zoologist Persikov discovers an amazing ray that drastically increases the size and reproductive rate of living organisms. At the same time, a mysterious plague wipes out all the chickens in the Soviet republics. The government expropriates Persikov's untested invention in order to rebuild the poultry industry, but a horrible mix-up quickly leads to a disaster that could threaten the entire world. This H. G. Wells-inspired novel by the legendary Mikhail Bulgakov is the only one of his larger works to have been published in its entirety during the author's lifetime. A poignant work of social science fiction and a brilliant satire on the Soviet revolution, it can now be enjoyed by English-speaking audiences through this accurate new translation. Includes annotations and afterword.