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Roadside Picnic by Arkady Strugatsky
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Roadside Picnic (original 1972; edition 2012)

by Arkady Strugatsky, Boris Strugatsky, Ursula K. Le Guin (Foreword)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,105None7,458 (3.98)66
Member:mark
Title:Roadside Picnic
Authors:Arkady Strugatsky
Other authors:Boris Strugatsky, Ursula K. Le Guin (Foreword)
Info:Chicago Review Press (2012), Edition: First Edition, Paperback, 224 pages
Collections:Read but unowned, Favorites, Read in 2012
Rating:*****
Tags:literature, translated, russia, library, umich, read, 2012, top12, extreme wonderfulness, 20th

Work details

Roadside Picnic by Arkady Strugatsky (1972)

  1. 70
    Solaris by Stanisław Lem (S_Meyerson)
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    Gateway by Frederik Pohl (Vonini)
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    Zona: A Book About a Film About a Journey to a Room by Geoff Dyer (bertilak)
  4. 00
    The Ugly Swans by Arkady Strugatsky (leigonj)
    leigonj: By the same authors, both books feature strange happenings: in Roadside Picnic the curious effects left by a brief Alien visitation in 'the zone', and in Ugly Swans the perpetual rain and mutants in a small town, caused by who knows what?
  5. 00
    The Cinema of Andrei Tarkovsky (British Film Institute) by Mark Le Fanu (S_Meyerson)
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    Complete Fuzzy by H. Beam Piper (Vonini)
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    Railsea by China Miéville (bertilak)
  8. 02
    Fortitude [short story] [podcast] by David Brin (bertilak)
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» See also 66 mentions

English (34)  French (3)  Russian (1)  German (1)  All languages (39)
Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
Science Fiction
6 Stars

Roadside Picnic, while written in 1971, feels like it somehow belongs to the Golden Age AND the Modern Age of Science Fiction. Based on the after effects of an alien visitation Roadside Picnic feels like it could have been written in the 1930’s. However, the language and the way the strange occurrences are handled are definitely modern. This is some of the wittiest, humorous, and downright scariest Science Fiction to come around in a long time. (Psssst, it’s scary as hell because it reads real…) ( )
  TheAlternativeOne | Mar 18, 2014 |
I hadn't originally planned to read this but I saw the movie with some friends and one of them recommended the book. It's very sad, and I think purposefully unfulfilled. I think, like the abruptness of a bug trap, I don't think the reader is supposed to know what happens. The last words we read are like an echo, a last thought, a moment of pure rebellion. It's one of those books where the journey is best part and the point of the story, rather than the conclusion. The film that is based off the book is similar in this way that it only hints at what the Zone really is and where it came from. But that is what makes the Zone so extremely dangerous, is that the reader knows as much about it as the characters do. Rederick Schuart isn't a hero, he is a man struggling between his own curiosity about the Zone and making ends meet for his family. His isn't the kind of character that has an epic destiny, a determination to save everyone, he just wants to be free from those that run his life. So instead of being disappointed like some, I'm glad the book progresses the way it does. ( )
  asukamaxwell | Mar 13, 2014 |
Beautiful, yet unfulfilling, I am left with a hunger for more ( )
  IAmAndyPieters | Feb 16, 2014 |
This is said to be a classic of Russian science fiction. The idea of discarded alien artefacts, absurdly dangerous to retrieve from the zones where they are littered, but with potential of fabulous wealth for the stalkers who bring them out illegally, is a strong one. However, the language seems to have suffered a lot for being translated, and the sceanarios start off very bleakly, and get even bleaker. Not recommended. ( )
  Matt_B | Jan 26, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
 

» Add other authors (110 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Arkady Strugatskyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Strugatsky, BorisAuthormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Bormashenko, OlenaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
You have to make the good out of the bad because
that's all you have got to make it out of.
Robert Penn Warren
Dedication
First words
I suppose that your first serious discovery, Dr. Pilman, should be considered what is now called the Pilman Radiant?
INTERVIEWER:... I suppose that your first important discovery, Dr. Pillman, was the celebrated Pillman radiant? (tr. Bormashenko, 2012)
Quotations
We usually proceed from a trivial definition: intelligence is the attribute of man that separates his activity from that of the animals. It's a kind of attempt to distinguish the master from his dog, who seems to understand everything but can't speak. However, this trivial definition does lead to wittier ones. They are based on depressing observations of the aforementioned human activity. For example: intelligence is the ability of a living creature to perform pointless or unnatural acts.
It all had to change. Not one life and not two lives, not one fate and not two fates -- every little bit of this stinking world world had to change ...
On the one hand, we are forced to admit, on the other hand, we can't dispute.
I'm anxious about going into the Zone and cold sober to boot. I grab him by the shoulder belt and tell him exactly what he is and just how his mother conceived him.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0575070536, Paperback)

Red Schuhart is a stalker, one of those strange misfits who are compelled by some unknown force to venture illegally into the Zone and, in spite of the extreme danger, collect the mysterious artefacts that the alien visitors left scattered around. His life is dominated by the Zone and the thriving black market in the alien products. Even the nature of his daughter has been determined by the Zone. And it is for her that Red makes his last, tragic foray into the hazardous and hostile depths.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:28:57 -0400)

"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 he'll keep going back to the Zone, again and again, until he finds the answer to all his problems."--… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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