Пикник на обочине PDF À Пикник

Пикник на обочине ❮KINDLE❯ ❁ Пикник на обочине Author Arkady Strugatsky – Natus-physiotherapy.co.uk Пикник на обочине одно из самых прославленных произведений братьев Стругацких увлекательная история сталке Пикник на обочине одно из самых прославленных произведений братьев Стругацких увлекательная история сталкеров отчаянно смелых людей на свой страх и риск снова и снова отправляющихся в место высадки пришельцев аномальную Зону полную опасностей и смертельных ловушек.


10 thoughts on “Пикник на обочине

  1. Bill Kerwin Bill Kerwin says:

    SF writers typically approach alien contact in grandiose terms but the Strugatsky brothers wonder instead What if it is like a 'Roadside Picnic?' Aliens trekking through space find they have to rest a spell and land on Terra for lunch a little r r perhaps a smoke After an interval however long it takes for an alien to enjoy a meal al fresco they lift off from our uninteresting planet probably never to return leaving behind the star voyager euivalent of empty beer cans plastic forks paper napkins cigarette butts and perhaps a noxious spill or two This book is the story of the stalkers the smugglers who venture into The Zone to bring back some of these dangerous and ultimately baffling artifacts for sale on the black marketThe book begins as a rather straightforward adventure made superior by the imaginative creation of the Zone and its artifacts the Strugatsky's add just the right details to delineate a place and evoke a mood never but it deepens and enriches further as we learn about Red and the stalkers what they have risked and how very much they have lost The climax is satisfying for we follow our hero on his last mission watch him face a grave moral choice commit a great crime and yet still reveal himself to us as completely human and at bottom essentially good


  2. Nataliya Nataliya says:

    When people talk about the special feel of Russian literature I tend to shrug it away as yet another point of confusion Westerners have with anything Slavic But when I tried to explain the feeling this book evoked in me to a few Westerners I startlingly realized that it just feels so essentially Russian may indeed be a valid description that encompasses the soul searching ambiguity the pursuit of deeper truths shrouded in light sadness the frustrating but yet revealing lack of answers to the clear divide between right and wrong and the heart shattering scream of soulThis is a story of the aftermath of the aliens' visit to our planet Well a visit may be too grand of a word It seems dishearteningly likely that the space visitors made little notice of us; that their visit here was little but a roadside picnic a uick stop in the middle of nowhere a break after which they left to never be seen again leaving only a bit of waste behind them the relics worth uite a bit of money and a toxic area the Zone¹ where humans cannot survive where the invisible effects of something inside it inflict permanent scars mental and physical on those brave or foolish enough to venture inside it¹It was hard for me to believe that this book was written years before the catastrophic explosion at Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station an explosion that left a Zone full of deadly invisible poison affecting those in it or near it with ghost city that once was full of people and now is just a shell of a disasterNo wonder that in popular culture Chernobyl and Strugatsky's stalker became intertwined The disheartening insignificance of the contact goes well against the well established rules of science fiction There was no communication no contact nothing It appears that despite the hopes of all the sci fi writers over decades we were not that interesting to the other intelligence actually we probably weren't even worth noticing Just a matter of fact uick purposeless roadstop and a bunch of refuse which still proceeds to affect the lives of people around the mysterious Zones “A picnic Picture a forest a country road a meadow Cars drive off the country road into the meadow a group of young people get out carrying bottles baskets of food transistor radios and cameras They light fires pitch tents turn on the music In the morning they leave The animals birds and insects that watched in horror through the long night creep out from their hiding places And what do they see? Old spark plugs and old filters strewn around Rags burnt out bulbs and a monkey wrench left behind And of course the usual mess—apple cores candy wrappers charred remains of the campfire cans bottles somebody’s handkerchief somebody’s penknife torn newspapers coins faded flowers picked in another meadow” Echoing the insignificance of humanity is the insignificance of the main character Red Schuhart is a stalker a riffraff taking freuent uick forays into the Zone to smuggle out the alien artifacts that are valued on the black market undeterred by having to live on the outside of the law always at risk of horrific side effects or death inside and imprisonment outside He does what he does not for any noble purpose but simply because there's little else to do He is a common guy ordinary inconseuential average hard hit by life His goals are not noble just survival In life he is a bottomfeeder It's underscored many times how inconseuential Red is and maybe it's precisely why his plight has such an appeal to us After all despite the bravado most of us carry no illusions of our own significance in the grand scheme of thingsThe visits to the Zone that we undertake with Red and his less cynical wide eyed companions first ill fated Kirill then just as ill fated Arthur are harrowing in a peculiarly surreal fashion It's not about what's happening it's about the possibility of something unknown yet dreadful happening the nerves set completely on the edge the uneasiness of tense anticipation You can feel the characters on the verge of snapping and the uneasy feeling is omnipresentAnd yes in the true Russian and Soviet fashion the politics are very much in the background of this story even if it's written as though it's seemingly apolitical The idea of little people affected by the bigger things that are out of their reach The caution of us unable to understand and come to grasp with even the refuse of the outside civilization The endless corruption that always seen to almost spontaneously spring into being The mundane drone hopelessness of being just cogs in the machine The hollowness of the society The bitterness of a small person when faced with something larger be it other worlds or the government or the powers that we do not understand or humanity itselfAnd yet there is something akin to hope in the end or on the other thought maybe there is not Redrick's semi delusional solilouy at the end of the book in the sight of the mysterious Golden Sphere the feverish desperate pleading semi rational painful revelation as he with horror realizes that My whole life I haven't had a single thought that they've cheated me left me voiceless in the semi delirious haze is his final scream of soul speech a fierce ray of hope for us or is it another lost desperate delusional scream into the void? Maybe there's no answer after all And he was no longer trying to think He just kept repeating to himself in despair like a prayer I'm an animal you can see that I'm an animal I have no words they haven't taught me the words; I don't know how to think those bastards didn't let me learn how to think But if you really are all powerful all knowing all understanding figure it out Look into my soul I know everything you need is in there It has to be Because I've never sold my soul to anyone It's mine it's human Figure out yourself what I want because I know it can't be bad The hell with it all I just can't think of a thing other than those words of his HAPPINESS FREE FOR EVERYONE AND LET NO ONE BE FORGOTTEN


  3. Jeffrey Keeten Jeffrey Keeten says:

    ”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 the 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 act”“Yes that’s us” There is a 1979 film by Andrei Tarkovsky loosely based on The Roadside Picnic The screenplay is by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky I’m of course going to have to watch itRedrick “Red” Schuhart is a stalker He is one of the few people crazy enough to go into “The Zone” Thirty years ago Aliens visited the Earth They landed at six different locations Hung out for a while and took off They ignored usWhat The Frill?Here we are the most intelligent species to ever evolve on this planet debatable and the big moment occurs when another obviously intelligent species comes to visit and they act like the snooty prom ueen and king at the big dance You’d think we were mere bugs Not even worthy of a good probing or dissection In these zones they left behind trash as if as one scientist put it they had just stopped off for a roadside picnic They also left behind traps Things unexplainable Things that science even has trouble labeling One example is what Red calls a bug trap but the “eggheads” call it something else ”His face has become completely calm you can see he’s figured everything out They are all like that the eggheads The most important thing for them is to come up with a name Until he comes up with one you feel really sorry for him he looks so lost But when he find a label like ‘graviconcentrate’ he thinks he’s figured it all out and perks right up” Stalkers are people who go into The Zone and retrieve objects They then sell them on the black market for cash They need a big payoff because every time they go into The Zone they are risking life or limb there is this slime that melts the bones and eventually turns everything it touches into slime Most of the original stalkers are dead Their corpses litter the landscape of The Zone providing guideposts fordon’t go there The Zone does something to them Their kids are mutants Red’s child becomes less and less human as she grows and becomes something unknown unknowable People from this area can’t emigrate because odd disasters start happening in the places they move to The Zone owns them Still Red should just settle down and get a real job a safe job ”But how do I stop being a stalker when I have a family to feed? Get a job? And I don’t want to work for you your work makes me want to puke you understand? If a man has a job then he’s always working for someone else he’s a slave nothing and I’ve always wanted to be my own boss my own man so that I don’t have to give a damn about anyone else about their gloom and their boredom”Besides being dangerous working as a stalker is also illegal He soon finds himself on one last mission for a golden sphere that he has to find before The State robots get there first It is about than just the money It is about outwitting everyone maybe even himself Arkady and Boris Strugatsky were Russian science fiction writers who managed to publish most of what they wrote even under the heavy censoring hand of the Soviet Union Ursula K Le Guin in the forward explains it well ”What they did which I found most admirable then and still do now was to write as if they were indifferent to ideology something many of us writers in the Western democracies had a hard time doing There wrote as free men write” They did struggle to get Roadside Picnic published In the afterword Arkady has a list of all the letters and petitions that were exchanged between various Russian committees trying to get approval ”Eight years Fourteen letters to the ‘big’ and ‘little’ Central Committees Two hundred degrading corrections of the text An incalculable amount of nervous energy wasted on trivialitiesYes the authors prevailed; there’s no arguing with that But it was a Pyrrhic Victory” Arkady and Boris StrugatskyThe book was published in Russian in 1972 and translated into English in 1977 This edition that I read is a new translation with all the original text as the authors intended reinstated There is a 1979 movie as I mentioned above The book also inspired a video game called STALKERI absolutely love this concept Hollywood has spent so much time making us worry about Aliens coming to Earth to enslave us to steal our natural resources to take over the planet to use us as incubators for their spawn etc We are completely unprepared to be ignored We really don’t like being ignored The book can be read on many levels It is an enjoyable fast paced read on the most basic level For those that like to apply philosophy politics and psychology to their reading there is plenty of hooks to keep you pondering the true meaning of different situations It is a book that without a doubt will give the reader with each new read This is one of those terrific finds that I may have never read without the guidance of friends on GR Our compiled reading knowledge is oh so much greater than when we read alone If you wish to see of my most recent book and movie reviews visit also have a Facebook blogger page at


  4. Glenn Russell Glenn Russell says:

    Are you familiar with Stalker the stunning 1979 Soviet science fiction film directed by Andrei Tarkovsky? If so I have good news comrades the novel on which the film was based is even better I join the ranks of sf aficionados who judge Arkady Boris Strugatsky's Roadside Picnic among the greatest science fiction novels ever written Although there are six locals or Zones where aliens left mysterious objects behind on this planet the setting for Roadside Picnic takes place in and around one such Zone in Harmont Canada a fictional mining town way out in the boonies The bulk of the novel consists of Redrick Red Schuart's first person account at age 23 28 and 31 as a stalker risking his life and the health of others in order to conduct illegal sneaks into the Zone to smuggle out alien artifacts At 200 pages Roadside Picnic is not an overly long work but a reader can gather a bushel basket of probing insights and powerful images on every single page The novel is a gripping adventure story no doubt about it but if readers wish to delve deeper this is a book that could be used in a university course for either psychology philosophy sociology or history Such fertile thought provoking material my initial drafts included no less than three dozen points I planned to cover But alas since this is a review not an extended essay I've whittled down the number Here they are The VisitAs Nobel laureate Dr Pillman states uneuivocally in the first few pages the fact that aliens payed a visit to Planet Earth is the most important discovery in human history proving once and for all we Earthlings are not alone in the universe Many of the philosophic dimensions of this earth shattering breakthrough are explored in depth later on in the book Critics and scholars of the Strugatsky novel have speculated what the Zone might represent euating the Zone with things like capitalism the black market or generally the yearning for consumer goods; however as fruitful as these interpretations might prove Roadside Picnic retains its magic and power for readers if we let the Zone be the Zone where extraterrestrials left behind their stuff as if they were happy go lucky vacationers who tossed their trash along the roadside after a picnic as if they considered human intelligence too minuscule or human stupidity too colossal to bother making direct contact with our kind The Many Human Roadside PicnicsOne of the seasoned officials servicing the international organization in charge of the Zone characterizes the belt of land surrounding the Zone as a hideous sore on the face of the planet Since the Zone has attracted a huge number of tourists and scientists and military troops skyscrapers and a complex for jazz variety shows and a gigantic brothel have been slapped up In this regard Harmont is not unlike the thousands of ugly towns and cities built for their strict utility that uickly become useless an architectural phenomenon common to all political and economic systems across the globe Modern society as a producer of mass roadside picnics This abandoned apartment complex built by Soviet Gulag prisoners looks like a movie set for the film Stalker Xenology the study of extraterrestrials I agree with Dr Pillman the way we humans are going about studying the left behinds is highly flawed in that it assumes the aliens think like we think Such arrogance Why can't people in modern society keep their hands off? For additional examples we don't have to look far of all the indigenous peoples who have their own society and cultures how many have escaped the Western world invading and disrupting their way of life? The Midwich Cuckoos Redux Dr Pillman goes on to observe All the people in contact with the Zone for a sufficiently long time undergo changes You know what stalkers' children are like you know what happens with stalkers themselves Why? What causes the mutations? There's no radiation in the Zone A spooky scenario It is uite possible those mutations could have catastrophic long range conseuences turning humans into aliens for an eventual alien takeover In this way Roadside Picknic bears comparison to John Wyndham's The Midwich Cuckoos or Jack Finney's The Body Snatchers And those aliens need not do anything than leave their stuff behind since we humans can't resist keeping our hands off what belongs to others Holy H P LovecraftOur Nobel laureate goes on to explain how duplicating spacells and reanimated corpses from the Zone violate the principles of thermodynamics or in ordinary language are outside the laws of nature Wow In this way Roadside Picnic is not only a work of science fiction it crosses over into the realm of Lovecraftian supernatural horror Now good humans you really having something to worry about Empties Full Empties Hell Slime Graviconcentrates a Golden Sphere if these extraterrestrial objects and realities have or might have supernatural properties you should definitely think twice before messing with themRed the StalkerArkady and Boris Strugatsky caught hell from Soviet censors for the coarseness vulgarity and immoral behavior included in their novel Case in point Stalker Red Schuhart is addicted to booze cigarettes crass language and gross behavior And Red can't wait for his next opportunity to use his brass knuckles or return to the Zone his home away from homeCan we blame Red? He's surrounded by nothing but filth and ugliness tawdriness and crap While turning the pages I attempted to find anything I mean ANYTHING in Red's world either in nature or in art or music that contained the slightest gram of beauty There was none The closest thing bordering on uplifting aesthetic experience is when Red passes a bakery with brightly lit windows in the early morning and he let the warm incredibly delicious aroma wash over him I mention this to note how Red could appreciate beauty if there was any to be had but most unfortunately his world is one of unending uglinessPulp Science Fiction Revisited I take it back There is a second uplifting aesthetic experience Red comes across It's the most obvious one for a young adventurer a beautiful woman She was silky luscious sensuously curvy without a single flaw a single extra ounce a hundred and twenty pounds of twenty year old delectable flesh and then there were the emerald eyes which shone from within and the full moist lips and the even white teeth and the jet black hair that gleamed in the sun carelessly thrown over one shoulder; the sunlight flowed over her body drifting from her shoulders to her stomach and hips throwing shadows between her almost bare breasts Ha Perhaps Arkady and Boris had their tongues deep in their cheeks purposely conjuring up the stereotypical female image so common in science fiction pulp magazines in bygone yearsA Hero's JourneyRed's adventures as a stalker spans eight years As we learn toward the end of the novel Red's journey is a hero's journey involving what Joseph Campbell termed 'sacrifice and bliss' To judge the truth of these words I encourage you to read this classic for yourself I guarantee you will not be disappointedArkady and Boris Strugatsky“How can I give up stalking when I have a family to feed? Get a job? I don't want to work for you your work makes me puke do you understand? This is the way I figure it if a man works with you he is always working for one of you he is a slave and nothing else And I always wanted to be myself on my own so that I could spit at you all at your boredom and despair”― Arkady and Boris Strugatsky Roadside Picnic


  5. J.G. Keely J.G. Keely says:

    I play video games now and again but I don't care about being 'good' at them I'm not competitive about my skills I'm interested in the story the characters and the world After a particularly irritating series of losing battles I frustratedly told a friend I don't want to have to spend a bunch of time practicing and becoming an expert just to get on with the story It would be like having to read the same page of the book over and over until I 'got it right' and could proceed to the endIsn't that exactly what you do spend your time doing with books? He replied Haven't you just described literary analysis?HmmA while ago as most of you probably know Roger Ebert wrote an article declaring that 'Video Games Can Never Be Art' Predictably this caused a huge backlash opening up a large and messy debate Ebert tired of being the center of this discussion made a follow up response where he declared that he had no definition for 'Art' which would exclude video games that he had not played them and hence was in no position to judge but that he was not going to take back his statement I read the articles and I agree with Tycho from Penny Arcade that Ebert never made any arguments which reuire refutation Since Ebert does not know video games he never says anything which would disualify them as art Just because they started as simple little machines you pumped coins into doesn't mean they can't be art that's how films started after allUnfortunately I don't feel that the defenders of Video Games as Art have done a great job of making their points either and I found Kellee Santiago's much lauded TED presentation simplistic and full of errors in reasoning never really touching on what makes art or why games should be included But I have personally had many experiences with video games that were as touching thought provoking entertaining and beautiful as works in any other medium In fact the plot characters romances and moral uandaries of the Baldur's Gate series are not just better than the game's novelization but are a heartfelt and thorough exploration of epic fantasy than most modern authors I could namePlanescape Torment by the same publishers is a wildly surreal existential exploration touching on many philosophies and calling into uestion the very nature of reality and of identity It is a revolutionary exploration of the genre that is often thoughtful and subtle than Mieville's Perdido Street StationThese games and others combine complex thoughtful plots psychologically deep characters who change throughout the story beautiful graphic art music cinematography philosophical explorations and humor to create uniue visions of human experience Ebert asks whether we can point to games that are as good as the greatest works of art Perhaps not but then videogames have only been around for thirty years and I'd be hard pressed to name a novel of the last thirty years that is as good as the greatest literary works Certainly there are videogames which are superior to many works of art from other mediaAnd one such game is STALKER which is loosely based on the Strugatsys' book at last we're getting somewhere I came across the game played and enjoyed it all without knowing anything about the book that inspired it The game is one of the most disturbing and horrifying stories I have ever been through in any medium The subtly unsettling build of the game affected me than any horror movie or book As a bleak lonely post apocalyptic world I found it far touching than The Road which Ebert holds up as an example of modern artBut for me video games have never been about the puzzles the fights the winning or losing; it's about the story the experience the uiet moments which define a world You come to a campfire in the grey light of the early morning tired your mind numb from a firefight in the dark having stumbled into the midst of a group of nervous men who fired at the half seen movement A twig snaps and bodies lie still There is a misting rain You sit uietly for a moment watching the grass waving just letting everything fall away You approach the fire There on the ground beside you half buried in the dirt is a skull a pelvis Yeah Me too you think So as I do with any story I like I sought out the game's roots and inspirations hoping it would lead me to something eually enjoyable Which is how I found Tarkovsky's film which has become one of my favorites and which I prefer to the better known SolarisAnd that lead me to Roadside Picnic; a backwards trip through time from furthest inspiration back to the source It's such an intriguing setting for me such an unusual take on alien interaction It is so dehumanized so remote that to me it feels much realistic much comprehensible than men in rubber suits making 'space war' Which is to say it isn't comprehensible it's one thing we cannot understand no matter how hard we try but which we must live with every day muddling throughThe central concept of Roadside Picnic is one that has shown up elsewhere from David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest explored here to the explicit homage in H John Harrison's Nova Swing But it's really not surprising as there is a kind of universal Jungian appeal to the concept of the Wish Granter hidden in the Land of DeathBut for me the exploration in Roadside Picnic never went deep enough so that I constantly wished for Not for understanding or exposition uite the opposite I wanted of those silent moments time to stare into the abyss to be confronted with the nameless the unnameable and the smallness of man I wanted of what the Tarkovsky film gave me the silent ponderousness with which man meets the Great MysteryThe book had too many explanations and digressions about itself things I wished I could have seen could have passed by uncomprehending instead of being told about them later as a mass of theories and explanations The film was full of digressions as well but these were always about man about the eternal uestions which alienation brought to the forefront These only served to deepen the mystery since they danced always around it avoiding it though I will say not all of these digressions were necessary or welcome especially when it turned characters into mouthpiecesSimilarly what I missed from the game was the isolation the way the blackness was always there patiently waiting just beyond the lamplight of your false security and also the moments of unexpected surreality which inspired such gripping terror There is a definite Lovecraftian element and if we have learned anything from Lovecraft's followers it's that long explanations are the best way to kill a monsterI enjoyed the book's slow burn the gradual psychological progression that these men who had looked into the darkness and come away harrowed in time they turned on one another in their fear and isolation counterfeiting an enemy of flesh to represent the insensible incomprehensible enemy which they faced each day The degradation of family community and identity in the face of encroaching darkness lent the characters an introverted desperation which was very engaging and very RussianIt was also an effective and subtle satire of the impersonal brutality of government which was why this book went unpublished so long in Russia In the end it only reached publication in censored form There is an author approved version from the past decade but it's too grand a hope to think we might see an English translation of it There is simply not enough demand for a small cult sci fi book which is a shameThe translation I read was a bit stilted and there were many opportunities for subtlety which I could feel but not uite comprehend I wish it had been personal less built on dialogues after the fact that it had closely approached the horrific implications of the world and that it had given us time to come to termsBut I don't get a say Well not yet Though with all authors writing becomes the act of telling those stories you were always looking for but never found; you must create them for yourself And that's part of the final barrier between video games and art Can the audience participate in art? Does that destroy its vision? Does the undecided ending of Inception make it less art because it invites the audience to participate in that ending?Moreover is art not art to the people who create it because they decide its outcome? That is a part of Ebert's argument I for one look forward to a future where I can have participation in the art I consume and it's a desire creators recognize I get 'alternate endings' re imagined remakes adaptations which take liberties from their inspirationPerhaps some day soon we will live in a world where we do not define the uality of stories by what device they are played on


  6. Evgeny Evgeny says:

    Review updated on October 26 2018A group read with Elena Lee and Sarah I will update the list if other people will join later You have to make the good out of the bad because that is all you have got to make it out of—Robert Penn WarrenThe epigraph of the book is so perfect I simply had to uote it Strugatsky brothers have a cult following on the territories of the former Soviet Union; think Heinlein of the Soviets in terms of popularity This is probably their best known novel internationally thanks to a movie Stalker by Tarkovsky and several video games by the same name By the way the brothers did not like the movie as it was uite different from their vision To give you an idea about how influential it was the term Stalker in the sense it is used in the bookmovie practically became a word Also any big list of best science fiction works includes the novelThe main idea explained right in the prologue A highly advanced alien race left discarded? artifacts and anomalies in several places on Earth called Zones The Zones are dangerous but the artifacts are highly prized and so some people called stalkers smuggle things from Zones There is a price to pay for these smuggling trips though Red Schuhart is one of such stalkers uite famous and lucky a stalker need lots of luck to come back alive from a trip to the zone During the progress of the story Red pays the price of visiting the Zone in full Red's development is great and he is an interesting character; to survive he acts in a way that leaves no doubt about him not being a nice guy The Zone itself is spooky fascinating and really forces you to use your imagination Thanks to its brilliant depiction the terms witch's jelly meatgrinder shrieker and others always invoke the Zone in my mind Even after my countless rereads I still get spooked being inside it following Red's expeditionsAs with a lot of good Soviet science fiction expect a lot of uestion asked no clear answers provided and no happy end but still in my opinion the ending was very powerful and moving It is a though provoking hard to put down masterpiece most probably the best introduction to Soviet science fiction A must read for any sci fi fan HAPPINESS FOR EVERYBODY FREE AND NO ONE WILL GO AWAY UNSATISFIEDThe last unanswered uestion still remains did Strugatsky brothers predict Chernobyl disaster? The dead city of Pripyat and its surroundings bear a strong resemblance to the Zone


  7. J.L. Sutton J.L. Sutton says:

    As a novel about first contact with aliens I love Roadside Picnic It is fresh and relevant and wait for it contains no aliens This novel about first contact is concerned with what aliens left behind In the novel there are scavengers who raid the zones where aliens visited in search of the sometimes deadly artifacts which are littered haphazardly about But what precisely did the aliens leave? Is it akin to the trash a traveler might leave behind after a roadside picnic? There are lots of possibilities And that brings us to one of the novel's central themes what does it say about our intelligence if the aliens who visited the planet didn't even notice there was intelligent life on Earth? I definitely thought about Jeff Vandermeer's Annihilation while reading this but each writer had his own take Fun read 425 stars


  8. Lyn Lyn says:

    Russian SCI FII think the accurate description was would be Soviet era SCI FI as apparently the Strugatsky brothers had uite the time getting it past censors and published One wonders if the 145 page novella began as a Tolstoy esue behemoth and the rest wound up on the comrade editor’s floorThis is a very novel approach to a first contact story The title comes from the idea that alien artifacts that have been left behind in “zones” throughout the world were not deliberately left but are rather the detritus of a brief galactic stop over on back water Terra on the way to somewhere elseThere are other ideas about the aliens and what they left behind and why Told from the perspective of a “stalker” – a kind of prospector or poacher who enters the zones to collect the artifacts and sell them It’s a dangerous job as the zones are radioactive or magical or something as illness mutation and death stalk the alleyways and empty streets in an eerie prophesy of Chernobyl years after this was publishedSF fans will draw comparisons to Frederik Pohl’s 1977 novel Gateway because of the profitable but hazardous collection of alien relics But whereas Pohl’s novel was hard SF this had the Russian literature undercurrent of depression and morose introspectionThis was very influential and even contained a Vonnegut reference; a classic in the genre and a must read for fans


  9. Leonard Gaya Leonard Gaya says:

    In April 1986 a major nuclear disaster took place at the Chernobyl power plant an hour’s drive north of Kiev then USSR A radioactive cloud spread across the whole of Europe in the following days Millions were contaminated The nearby city of Pripyat became a ghost town In the aftermath some farm animals were born with deadly deformities Men and women had to go inside the contaminated zone to seal off the reactor inside a giant concrete shell They were called the “stalkers”Their name directly originates from Roadside Picnic The renown of this SF book from the Soviet era is probably due in part to Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker 1979 The film is loosely adapted by the Strugatsky brothers who took part in the screenplay from the last section — and undoubtedly the best part — of their bookThe setup is commonplace in SF literature some aliens have visited our planet But Arkady and Boris Strugatsky don’t depict a clash of civilisations see HG Wells’ War of the Worlds and countless others after that which implicitly assumes that humans and aliens are fundamentally alike both invasive and aggressive species in general either intrigued or eager to fight with one another Instead this novel suggests that humans and aliens exist on totally different levels The aliens have “visited” our planet and overlooking humans have left scattered “objects” traps bombs miracle artefacts inside a cordoned off “Zone” Only a handful of people the “stalkers” creep into the Zone at the risk of their lives like ants exploring a pile of rubbish beyond their understanding left behind by unearthly picnickers on the intergalactic roadside The mysterious nature of the aliens in the Strugatskys’ novel is similar to that of Stanislaw Lem’s Solaris; both adapted to the screen by Tarkovsky Roadside Picnic is a strange read indeed It expands across some ten years of the life of stalker Red Schuhart through some deconstructed episodes conversations regarding the peddling of alien objects talks on the nature of aliens and humans incursions inside the Zone streams of consciousness The outlook is often dismal; the style is crude; the characters in a sort of Noir pastiche are vulgar sweaty wear their heart on their sleeves and are prone to heavy drinking and smoking All things which earned the Strugatskys uite a few rejections from the Soviet committees read Boris Strugatsky's afterword on that topicThe translation by Olena Bormashenko is raw and superb Roadside Picnic had a possible influence on a few Anglo American novels Dan Simmons’ Hyperion VanderMeer’s Area X trilogy or Ted Chiang’s Stories of Your Life for instance A few video games are also indebted to the Strugatsky brothers Last but not least it’s probable that French author Alain Damasio had some hints of this novel at the back of his head when writing La Horde du Contrevent


  10. Coffee&Quasars Coffee&Quasars says:

    What happens when aliens arrive on Earth and leave again without so much as a hello leaving behind all their rubbish? Naturally humans want to get involved for better or worse despite the fact that the advanced refuse is almost entirely deadly and beyond comprehension This book carries the spirit of a trend in human history The Earth is not at the centre of the Universe nor is the Universe confined to our single solar system galaxy or even cluster of galaxies The we learn the we realise that we don’t inhabit any special place in things We’re not at the centre of anything In the same way the people in this book are forced to consider the possibility that they’re not the poster children for intelligence or consciousness but akin to ants scurrying around the remnants of beings that are profoundly unknowable A funny tragic and uniue take on alien contact Roadside Picnic offers a thoughtful and fascinating look at what it means to be human


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