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Roadside Picnic Paperback – 11 Oct 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (11 Oct. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575093137
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575093133
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.7 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 18,358 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Book Description

'Deft and supple ... a truly superb tale' Theodore Sturgeon

About the Author

Arkady Strugatsky (1925-1991) and Boris Strugatsky (1931-2012) Arkady and Boris Strugatsky began to collaborate in the early 1950s after Arkady had studied English and Japanese and worked as a technical translator and editor, and Boris was a computer mathematician at Pulkova astronomical observatory. The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction describes them as 'the best Soviet SF writers' and works such as Hard to be a God, Definitely Maybe, The Snail on the Slope and Monday Begins on Saturday are powerful and poignant novels that continue to amaze and move readers. Andrei Tarkovsky's much admired film, Stalker, was based on their most famous work, Roadside Picnic.

Arkady Strugatsky (1925-1991) and Boris Strugatsky (1931-2012) Arkady and Boris Strugatsky began to collaborate in the early 1950s after Arkady had studied English and Japanese and worked as a technical translator and editor, and Boris was a computer mathematician at Pulkova astronomical observatory. The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction describes them as 'the best Soviet SF writers' and works such as Hard to be a God, Definitely Maybe, The Snail on the Slope and Monday Begins on Saturday are powerful and poignant novels that continue to amaze and move readers. Andrei Tarkovsky's much admired film, Stalker, was based on their most famous work, Roadside Picnic. Read more at http://sf-encyclopedia.com/entry/strugatski_arkady

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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By D Brookes on 8 Sept. 2008
Format: Paperback
One of the best pieces of sci-fi fiction in the last few decades, "Roadside Picnic" tells the story of a Stalker, one of the few who dare to enter a zone of suspended disbelief that is the remnant of a possible alien visitation. Stalkers venture into the deadly realm for artifacts, which are sometimes useful, sometimes enigmatic, sometimes life-threatening, in order to survive in the oppressive, broken social climate surrounding the zone.

Anybody who's ever played the video-game "S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl" will recognise the very concise plot; those who've read "Nova Swing" by M. J. Harrison will have also come across one of the many pieces of fiction inspired by this short novel.

The writing is terse and superbly descriptive, shifting from a first-person narritive to third partway through. The change is expertly handled by the Strugatsky brothers, who are masters at the hard under-stated personalities that frequent Soviet fiction - think the protagonist from "Solaris", if you've read it, and you'll know what I mean.

Some have critisised the novel for being "too much sociology and not enough sci-fi", that is to say, not what they were expecting. However if you get exactly what you expected in a novel, you probably just read pulp or a 1960s comic book. "Roadside Picnic" is a beautifully written, inspiring read, with strong, desperate characters and a thrilling premise.

The only downside is that it is perhaps too short: the potential for other aspects of the story to be played out - like the original of the zones, further applications of artifacts, scientific or unanticipated, or the continued stories of some of the characters - are put aside in favour of a delicious form of mystery that will keep you reading right up until the fantastic thought-provoking denoument.

Unmissable.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By technoguy TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 3 April 2013
Format: Paperback
This magnificent Russian SF novel is about 40 years old and was written by two Russian brothers,Arkady and Boris Strugatsky,and this is a new translation where the original language,idiomatic,slangy,violent and fresh,has been restored.Set in the early 70s,ostensibly in Canada.There are 4 chapters,detailing the life of Red Schuhart a stalker,who ventures illegally into the Zone,in spite of the extreme danger to retrieve the mysterious artefacts that alien visitors left scattered around.The book starts off with a description of the Zones,6 of which have been left randomly across the planet.Aliens have visited the earth and gone away again leaving behind them several landing areas littered with their refuse, bizarre technological wonders to be found in the Zones. These areas, where the physics of matter are warped in mysterious and dangerous ways, are thought to be the trash piles of aliens who dropped by for a picnic and didn't clean up after themselves The Zone in this novel,Harmont, has a town nearby that was changed by the alien visitation,where a thriving black market in alien products has grown up.The 1st chapter is written in the 1st person from Red's point of view,he is an amoral, lively, unpredictable buccaneer with a revolting vitality.Red has survived after many incursions into the Zone,and has a legendary status,but he isn't some exceptional or particularly unusual human being, but just some guy getting by as best he can in peculiar circumstances.The 1st time he gets out of the Zone where he went with a scientist to retrieve an "empty", two discs held together in space with nothing between them,we find out his girlfriend Guta is pregnant.We know that their child is likely to die or be born mutated due to his visits into the Zone.Read more ›
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By John Kwok on 2 Jan. 2013
Format: Paperback
One of the best science fiction novels published last year is, oddly enough, among the oldest; Arkady and Boris Strugatsky's "Roadside Picnic", the inspiration for Andrei Tarkovksy's critically acclaimed film "Stalker". When it was published originally in its abbreviated English translation decades ago, none other than Theodore Sturgeon acclaimed "Roadside Picnic" as the product of "....[the] Strugatskys' deft and subtle handling of friendship and love, of despair and frustration and loneliness [produces] a truly superb tale..... You won't forget it." These are sentiments which I not only share but I believe are strongly emphasized in the newly translated edition of the entire original text of "Roadside Picnic", which is considered still as the greatest Russian science fiction novel of the 20th Century, as an excellent example of the traditional science fiction trope of "First Contact", but as Ursula Le Guin notes in the foreword to this edition, it is a "First Contact" tale in which aliens have visited Earth and ignored us, leaving behind in several areas, "Zones", debris that is potentially useful - and dangerous - to humans, especially to those willing to scavenge - "the stalkers" - it. Set somewhere unspecified in English-speaking North America, most likely Canada, "Roadside Picnic" is a most memorable odyssey of a young stalker, Red Schuhart, who is willing to test the limits of friendship and loyalty, love and desire in realizing that he must return again and again to the nearest "Zone" as a means of finding himself, as a means of finding solutions to all the problems he is facing.Read more ›
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