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Roadside Picnicby Arkady and Boris Strugatsky
Synopses & Reviews
Red Schuhart is a stalker, one of those young rebels who are compelled, in spite of the extreme danger, to venture illegally into the Zone to collect the mysterious artifacts that the alien visitors left scattered around. His life is dominated by the place and the thriving black market in the alien products. But when he and his friend Kirill go into the Zone together to pick up a "full empty," something goes wrong. And the news he gets from his girlfriend upon his return makes it inevitable that hell keep going back to the Zone, again and again, until he finds the answer to all his problems.
First published in 1972 and immediately acclaimed as a science-fiction classic, Roadside Picnic is included on almost every list of the hundred greatest science-fiction novels, despite the fact that it has been out of print in the United States for almost thirty years. It was the basis for Andrei Tarkovsky's filmic masterpiece Stalker and the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. video games, which have proven immensely popular.
This brand-new translation, which corrects many of the errors and omissions of the previous one, has been supplemented with a foreword by Ursula K. Le Guin, and a new afterword by Boris Strugatsky explaining the strange history of its publication in Russia. Finally, one of the greatest science fiction novels — and one of the most popular pieces of Russian fiction — is back in print in an authoritative edition.
"Since its 1972 appearance in Russia, the Strugatsky brothers' novel has been published worldwide, inspired Andrei Tarkovsky's memorable film Stalker, and been the basis for the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. video games. As this vivid new translation demonstrates, it also remains a powerful study of human behavior in the presence of superhuman power. The action takes place in and near a Visit Zone, one of six areas suddenly scattered with incomprehensible artifacts and disturbing phenomena; one baffled scientist ruefully suggests that aliens visited Earth like careless tourists and dumped their trash here. While cautious people keep their distance, furtive explorers called 'stalkers' enter the Zones to retrieve objects that are wonderful but unpredictably deadly. Over-lapping narratives show stalker Red Schuhart's struggle to master the Zone's inexplicable treasures and terrors. Boris Strugatsky's afterword describes how uneasy the manuscript made myopic Soviet bureaucrats; it has survived triumphantly as a classic because it expresses humanity's inarticulate rage and wonder at life's frustrations and promises." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"The story is carried out with a controlled fierceness that doesn't waver for a minute." Kirkus Reviews
"Brilliantly and beautifully written...a truly superb work of science fiction." Infinity Plus
"Lively, racy, and likable...complex in event, imaginative in detail, ethically and intellectually sophisticated." Ursula K. Le Guin
"Amazing....The Strugatskys' deft and supple handling of loyalty and greed, of friendship and love, of despair and frustration and loneliness [produces] a truly superb tale....You won't forget it." Theodore Sturgeon
"[A] vivid new translation...it has survived triumphantly as a classic." Publishers Weekly
"No doubt: a powerful, classic work of science fiction. Certainly recommended." The Complete Review
"Really interesting...a pretty wild Soviet publishing battle tale." Greyt Thoughts blog
"If you're going to read just one Soviet-era Russian science fiction novel, it should be Arkady and Boris Strugatsky's dark, ambiguous Roadside Picnic." io9
"The Strugatskys' worldview remains both uniquely cutting and replete with humanity....The characters' conflicted views of their troubled world make for a read that still feels fresh today. It's also a book that's bound to make you feel a little less sure of humanity's place in the universe." Discover
Red Schuhart is a stalker, one of those young rebels who are compelled, in spite of extreme danger, to venture illegally into the Zone to collect the mysterious artifacts that the alien visitors left scattered around. His life is dominated by the place and the thriving black market in the alien products. But when he and his friend Kirill go into the Zone together to pick up a "full empty," something goes wrong. And the news he gets from his girlfriend upon his return makes it inevitable that hell keep going back to the Zone, again and again, until he finds the answer to all his problems.
First published in 1972, Roadside Picnic is still widely regarded as one of the greatest science fiction novels, despite the fact that it has been out of print in the United States for almost thirty years. This authoritative new translation corrects many errors and omissions and has been supplemented with a foreword by Ursula K. Le Guin and a new afterword by Boris Strugatsky explaining the strange history of the novel's publication in Russia.
Arkady and Boris Strugatsky are widely known as the greatest Russian writers of science fiction, and their 1964 novel Hard to Be a God is considered one of the greatest of their works.
It tells the story of Don Rumata, who is sent from Earth to the medieval kingdom of Arkanar with instructions to observe and to influence, but never to directly interfere. Masquerading as an arrogant nobleman, a dueler and a brawler, Don Rumata is never defeated but can never kill. With his doubt and compassion, and his deep love for a local girl named Kira, Rumata wants to save the kingdom from the machinations of Don Reba, the First Minister to the king. But given his orders, what role can he play?
Hard to Be a God has inspired a computer role-playing game and two movies, including Aleksei German’s long-awaited swan song. Yet until now the only English version (out of print for over thirty years) was based on a German translation, and was full of errors, infelicities, and misunderstandings. This new edition—translated by Olena Bormashenko, whose translation of the authors’ Roadside Picnic has received widespread acclaim, and supplemented with a new foreword by Hari Kunzru and an afterword by Boris Strugatsky, both of which supply much-needed context—reintroduces one of the most profound Soviet-era novels to an eager audience.
About the Author
Arkady and Boris Strugatsky are brothers who collaborated on more than 25 novels and novellas. Their books have been widely translated and made into a number of films.
Ursula K. Le Guin is a prominent author whose novels and stories have won every major science fiction and fantasy award as well as the Pen/Malamud and the National Book Award. Her works include The Dispossessed, The Left Hand of Darkness, and A Wizard of Earthsea. She lives in Portland, Oregon.
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