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Definitely maybe: a manuscript discovered…
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Definitely maybe: a manuscript discovered under strange circumstances (1976)

by Arkady Strugatsky, Boris Strugatski

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 4 of 4
Science Fiction Realism at its best. This short novel is a fascinating look at a period in the authors' lives where their fiction and real experiences were connected in an indistinguishable manner. The greatness of this work is that although the period in which it was written has come and gone, its statement on human revolution is true in our current time; true science fiction in that the past envisions a real, and frightening, future. Yet people fight on. ( )
  rastamandj | Jun 14, 2017 |
A short but captivating tale of confusion on a cosmic scale, all taking place inside a few units of some undescribed soviet era apartment building. Vonnegut-esque with a Russian twist. This still feels very modern today here in America, possibly due to so much talk about government control and all of the paranoia that accompanies such talk. A novel from a time and place where there was actually that sort of government influence in everyday lives rings true in the cultural climate of America circa 2014. A very fun read, too. ( )
  Booktacular | Aug 16, 2014 |
No, not the 2008 romantic comedy, though that was good too. :)

Written in 1977 in the Soviet Union under the title “A Billion Years Before the End of the World”, this is the story of a group of scientists who are on the verge of making important discoveries in their various fields, when their work is interrupted by a series of random events which range from the sensual to the ominous. There is an unseen force at work that threatens them, something they’ll never completely comprehend, though one of their more interesting speculations is that it’s the Universe organically ‘striking back’ against rationality and the advances of science, essentially in an entropic counterbalance, in order to maintain stasis.

The novella is described as “science fiction”, but it was a vehicle for the Strugatsky brothers to comment on life in the Soviet Union, a fact not lost on the censors at the time. The full text was not published until 2000, and just recently translated into English. It was a very personal story for them, one of the difficulties of having courage in the face of an oppressive power which is absurd, faceless, and blind. Some back down out of fear for themselves or their family, knowing that it’s wrong, will mean that they won’t be able to look their kids in the eyes the same way again, and that others will have to carry forward the fight without them. The spiritual desolation that results is captured in this haunting line which recurs: “I was told that this road would take me to the ocean of death, and turned back halfway. Since then crooked, roundabout, godforsaken paths stretch out before me.” ( )
2 vote gbill | Mar 9, 2014 |
Showing 4 of 4
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» Add other authors (24 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Arkady Strugatskyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Strugatski, Borismain authorall editionsconfirmed
Bouis, Antonina W.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ehlert, WeltaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Astrophysicist Dmitri Malianov sends his wife and son off to her mother's house in Odessa so that he can work, free from distractions, on the project he's sure will win him the Nobel Prize. He'd have an easier time making progress if he wasn't being interrupted all the time, by deliveries, by women in short skirts, and finally, by several of his friends, also scientists, who drop by, saying they all felt they were on the verge of a major discovery when they got ... distracted. Is there an ominous force that doesn't want knowledge to progress, or could it be something more natural?… (more)

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