Roadside Picnic

Roadside Picnic

Just finished this very good Russian science-fiction novel by brothers Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, first published in 1972.  I had only recently learned of the book via io9’s piece updated upon the November 2012 death of Boris at age 79 (Arkady died in 1991).

The plot follows the life of a ‘stalker’ who keeps entering a very dangerous and mysterious Zone.  The Zone is the area surrounding the spot where an alien ship had landed on Earth and long-since departed, leaving behind artifacts and dangerous conditions.  Stalkers head in to retrieve the artifacts; not that many of them come out again.  This is a wonderfully-written book, very effectively setting the mood for the effects that the Visit and the Zone conditions have put on the adjacent town.  Some good philosophical considerations/discussions in the book, as well, including a discussion of Science itself.

Add to your list.

PS – I will have to track down the 1979 Andrei Tarkovsky film “Stalker” which is based on “Roadside Picnic” (with the Strugatsky brothers writing the screenplay).  I quite enjoyed Tarkovsky’s “Solaris”.


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