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Roadside Picnic 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 31 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My copy of this book is a soft of the Roadside Picknic with Tale of the Troika. I have read it 3 times now and enjoyed it enough each time to want to read it again. It is dark and vague in some ways and frighteningly clear in others. It was undoubtedly one of the most important SF book of late 70's. But its important here to add that it stands today as well as it did when it was published. It has not aged much. True the political situation in that part of the world has changed, but not so much for the poor and desparate. The charachters develop and the reader can identify with their plight. Aliens, never depicted, are viewed as incomprehensible, dangerus and careless. An intoxicating mixture. On another level this novel is a commentary on the human condition, our own dangerousness, and perhaps most important the importance of hope. A fun read but also has many layers if your open to Them.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a great piece of character-driven science fiction! And this new translation is really wonderful. Highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im on my second read-through now and i know i will read it again afterwards. I wish it was longer. One complaint is that the translation at times seems to be missing things. Still aa great book though.
Tunguz More than 1 year ago
Several alien spaceships have visited Earth at some point in the late twentieth century. Their landing sites seem to have been chosen at random, and during their visit they made almost no attempt at contact with humans. When they finally left, their landing sites were permanently altered and “polluted” with various artifacts and substances, and the sites themselves exhibit many strange and troubling behaviors. In the years and decades following the aliens’ departure a vast array of scholars, scientists, technology experts, military interests, and black market opportunists tried to make sense of the visit and leverage the landing sites for their own varying interests. However, exploring the sites was always a very risky activity, and those who dared to venture within their carefully guarded perimeters frequently exposed themselves to harmful and often lethal consequences. These landing site visits, however brief, had impact not only on the explorers, but also subsequently on almost everyone who the explorers came in touch with.  This short Sci Fi novel reduces the subgenre of the alien visit to its most basic elements: the landing sites themselves, mysterious left-over artifacts, and the fundamental and irrevocable change that this visit has brought upon the human civilization. Within this minimalistic setup it is still possible to extract a surprising amount of narrative richness and human and intellectual drama. The main protagonist, Redrick “Red” Schuhart, is a hard-nosed “stalker” – an opportunistic and illegal rummager of the visitation zones – who is trying to make the most of his ability to extract valuable artifacts and sell them on the black market. Red is an almost prototypical antihero who is nonetheless guided by some high-minded principles and moral standard. This moral probity particularly comes into play in his relationship with his own family. He tries his hardest to protect them and help them out, especially since they have incurred a personal tragedy due to Red’s involvement with the visitation zone.  This is a very deep and richly psychological book. Readers accustomed to the more western-style science fiction may find it more philosophical than what they are accustomed to reading. The “Roadside Picnic” nonetheless has a very well developed plot and nuanced and believable characters. This is science fiction at its best – good writing, rich plotline, and deep, potentially open-ended, questions and problems that it grapples with. 
AlbinoMonGoosE More than 1 year ago
I love this book! Its pretty short and at first I was unsure if I could grasp the concepts it talks about but from the beginning this book gave me everything I wanted, the ending is pretty great but also confusing and a little depressing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cheeky breeky.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read this book probably 5 times and i have seen movie “Stalker” based on this book about same amount of times, yet I have never get bored. Every single time i find more and more to it. The Strugatsky brothers are truly masters of their craft. Each conversation, each scene, each character has so many layers, that every time you discover the story from the new side. This book awake a desire to understand others, to look on the things from different perspective, to think critically. As they said themselves "thinking is not an entertainment but an obligation”. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
great read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story with an unusual point of view
ryanseanoreilly More than 1 year ago
A moody morass rallying against the gray walls of reality, in perfect tone. This book lilts like a weather-beaten gravestone, sunk in a forest cemetery littered amongst the broken fragments of classic science fiction tropes. Originality shines through in the story line and voice of the authors (and translator—I read the 2012 translation). The plot laps in along the written words in understated waves, cutting into the psyche as silent and nondescript as a straight razor. The characters are displaced misfits revolving in orbital magnetism around demarcated zones. These “zones” are the site of past visitations from unidentified extraterrestrial beings. In the wake of these visits the aliens have left behind foreign objects that imbue strange physics of unknown purpose. An interesting premise that immediately goes off the rails when it’s revealed that nobody knows anything about the aliens; and that none of this is precipitating a massive invasion. The aliens came and went without saying hello, goodbye or cleaning up after themselves when they exited the planet. What’s left is their junk. Commence story. The science fiction elements in this tale are subtle and yet present in perfect form. There is no ambiguous allusion to the weird or otherworldly. Strange things happen that are not of this earth, but not in any kind of grandiose fashion. Yes, the planet and mankind’s destiny is forever changed, but not in the way that some Hollywood script might explore. Also absent are long diatribes mining over the murkier parts of dark science. This is not hard sci-fi. The focus tends to be more on the interpersonal relationships of the characters who live on the fringes of the alien zones and how their immediate, domestic lives are affected. Relationships, work, local politics all center around a black market of trade that has evolved and devolved based on the supply and demand of skilled human workers who can negotiate the dangerous obstacles in the zones and retrieve some of the coveted alien pieces for further study. There is no quest. Well, that’s not entirely true, but the story is not so much about getting the sacred “boon” to save the world as it is about what we happen to learn about ourselves in our quest to know and understand—everything. Lots of questions are posed and the actions of the characters feel almost like poetic gestures poised against the eternal esoteric void of the universe. I’ve seen some reviewers read a “faith-type” journey into this story. I also feel compelled toward this view, but not in any specific denominational sense. I felt that the protagonist was on a spiritual journey of some sort. Almost like a vision quest. He throws himself into the dangerous zones as if he is throwing himself at the universe. Daring to be understood. So much of the story is beyond the words and obtuse. Much is left to interpretation. Yet, things are not so abstract as to put off a straight reading. Very concrete events happen that can be tracked and followed. There just seems to be the perfect amount of an ethereal aura present that the story is transported up out of the gloomy-gray of the abandoned and ever-decaying zones, and lifted into an eternity of human existence. The experience is haunting and thought provoking. This is one of the few books I’d like to come back and re-read to see what I’ve missed and what other universal truths I could glean from the prose.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
No one is forgotten.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked this year's ago and enjoy it.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome book!