Roadside Picnic Paperback – May 1 2012
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About the Author
Arkady and Boris Strugatsky are the most famous and popular Russian writers of science fiction, and the authors of over 25 novels and novellas. Their books have been widely translated and have been made into a number of films. Arkady Strugatsky died in 1991. Boris Strugatsky died in November 2012. Ursula K. Le Guin is the author of A Wizard of Earthsea, The Left Hand of Darkness, and other science-fiction classics.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
However, the book is more than just inventive and evocative sci-fi. The characters have a raw authenticity that puts other sci-fi books to shame, and though the book contains elements of tragedy and hopefulness, the overwhelming feeling is one of human insignificance in the wider universe.
A great book that will satisfy your urge for new ideas -- but leave you existentially disquieted.
I had played a game called "Stalker: Call of Pripyat" (very good FPS) and had heard that it was loosely based on both the Roadside Picnic and the movie Stalker. So after playing the game I decided to check both of them out. Both the movie and game use the Roadside Picnic as a source but of course have deviated considerably to create their own unique experience.
The Roadside picnic deals with an apparent Alien visitation that no one witnessed. However the Aliens have left their mark by leaving their "debris" scattered about. One of the scientist refers to this visitation as having a roadside picnic and leaving your garbage behind for the creatures to use not knowing if its beneficial or destructive (e.g. food crumbs to oil stains from the car). This debris is referred to as "artifacts" and no knows how to use them or what their purpose is. Some seem to be beneficial and some are very deadly. Five areas in world are affected by this but the story focuses only one area which is not really identified and for some reason most critics assume it is in Canada. However being Canadian I don't actually read that into the description.
The effected area is called the "Zone" and is militarily cordoned off. Its illegal to the enter the zone and retrieve the artifacts which in turn creates a black market for these artifacts. People who make a career of sneaking onto the zone are called "Stalkers".Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I liked it, but not for the scify story; the book depicts characters that are subjecting themselves to extreme self punishment for some imeginary gains to their self esteems.Published 27 days ago by Wolfric
I enjoy the backstory of this book as much as the novel itself. Written behind the Iron Curtain in the 70's, I was amazed by the tone and atmosphere created ((read the afterword by... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Jeffrey Swystun
Russian SF from the 1970s. The setting is apparently Canada (according to Ursula Le Guin) but is very reminiscent of the USSR and also the USA. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Brant
Brilliant idea and a well written book from start to finish. Very loosely connected to the "Stalker" video games. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Mr. Lego
Extremely cogent book. One of the best sci fis I have read. Iron curtain product. Highly recommend it for the elaborate characters dose of reality in a fantastic setting with a... Read morePublished on Dec 10 2012 by paul