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Red Schuhart is a stalker, one of those young rebels who are compelled, in spite of extreme danger, to venture illegally into the Zone to collect the mysterious artifacts that the alien visitors left scattered around. His life is dominated by the place and the thriving black market in the alien products. But when he and his friend Kirill go into the Zone together to pick up a "full empty," something goes wrong. And the news he gets from his girlfriend upon his return makes it inevitable that he'll keep going back to the Zone, again and again, until he finds the answer to all his problems. First published in 1972, "Roadside Picnic" is still widely regarded as one of the greatest science fiction novels, despite the fact that it has been out of print in the United States for almost thirty years. This authoritative new translation corrects many errors and omissions and has been supplemented with a foreword by Ursula K. Le Guin and a new afterword by Boris Strugatsky explaining the strange history of the novel's publication in Russia.
This 1963 masterpiece is widely considered one of the best novels of the greatest Russian writers of science fiction. Yet until now the only English version (unavailable for over thirty years) was based on a German translation, and was full of errors, infelicities, and misunderstandings. Now, in a new translation by Olena Bormashenko, whose translation of the authors’ Roadside Picnic has received widespread acclaim, here is the definitive edition of this brilliant work. It tells the story of Don Rumata, who is sent from Earth to the medieval kingdom of Arkanar with instructions to observe and to save what he can. Masquerading as an arrogant nobleman, a dueler and a brawler, Don Rumata is never defeated, but can never kill. With his doubt and compassion, and his deep love for a local girl named Kira, Rumata wants to save the kingdom from the machinations of Don Reba, the first minister to the king. But given his orders, what role can he play? Hard to Be a God has inspired a role-playing video game and two movies, including Aleksei German’s long-awaited swan song. This long overdue translation will reintroduce one of the most profound Soviet-era novels to an eager audience. Arkady and Boris Strugatsky were famous and popular Russian writers of science fiction, with more than 25 novels and novellas to their names. Hari Kunzru is the author of highly praised novels including Gods Without Men and The Impressionist. Olena Bormashenko is the acclaimed translator of the Strugatskys’ Roadside Picnic.
The Snail on the Slope takes place in two worlds. One is the Administration, an institution run by a surreal, Kafkaesque bureaucracy whose aim is to govern the forest below. The other is the Forest, a place of fear, weird creatures, primitive people and violence. Peretz, who works at the Administration, wants to visit the Forest. Candide crashed in the Forest years ago and wants to return to the Administration. Their journeys are surprising and strange, and readers are left to puzzle out the mysteries of these foreign environments. The Strugatskys themselves called The Snail on the Slope "the most complete and important" of their works.
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