Arkady Strugatsky, Boris Strugatsky, Soviet science fiction

Roadside Picnic (1971, Soviet Union)

1971Soviet Union

Categories: alien artifacts1970s sci-fi


Roadside Picnic  1971 sci-fi book

Six zones on Earth, believed to be areas where alien spaceships have landed, contain strange and often mysterious artifacts that are important for the science, but also quite valuable on the black market. The areas were surrounded and are kept under surveillance from United Nations forces, to keep the civilians from the zones, but people known as stalkers keep sneaking into the zone and collect the artifacts even though it is highly dangerous. And not only because the UN soldiers would shoot them, the real danger is inside the zones - strange anomalies that can kill or heavily injure the stalkers are the real threat.

Red Schuhart is one of the experienced stalkers, but to make some money he is sometimes hired by the scientists to join the official missions into the Zone. During one of those missions his friend accidentally touched some strange looking web and died shortly after leaving the Zone. Schuhart sees it as a warning and wants to give up the night missions on his own, especially since his girlfriend is pregnant. But his past as a stalker won’t let him just leave. Not when he hears again the legend of golden sphere that is somewhere in the Zone, the sphere that grants every wish.

The most famous novel of Strugatsky brothers that was made into 1979 movie by Andrei Tarkovsky and also was used as a basis for computer games from Stalker series. The plot is very involving, the idea for the world of the Zone is simply brilliant, but just like with other Strugatskys novels the ending is somehow too simple and even a little bit disappointing.



Our rating

6.4 / 10


Overall rating

7 / 10


Reality complexity

2 / 5


Adventure

4 / 5


Story complexity

3 / 5



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