Roadside Picnic

Roadside Picnic

Book - 2012
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Red Schuhart is a stalker, one of those strange misfits who are compelled by some unknown force to venture illegally into the Zone and, in spite of the extreme danger, collect the mysterious artefacts that the alien visitors left scattered around. His life is dominated by the Zone and the thriving black market in the alien products. Even the nature of his daughter has been determined by the Zone. And it is for her that Red makes his last, tragic foray into the hazardous and hostile depths.
Publisher: London : Gollancz, 2012.
Branch Call Number: SCIENCE FICTION
Characteristics: ix, 209 p. ;,20 cm.
Notes: This translation originally published: New York: Macmillan, 1977; London: Gollancz, 1978.
Translated from the Russian.

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p
ptait_0
Jan 24, 2020

Classic Russian literature in my experience. I'm a big Nabokov (Vladimir Vladimirovich , also known by the pen name Vladimir Sirin) fan. I can visualize the vividly bleak landscapes and people. I think I have Russian ancestry, but have also grown up in New England cross country skiing. This book also has science fiction elements and I LOVE that.

c
chazbufe
Oct 10, 2018

It's been decades since I read the original translation of this, and as I recall it read much more smoothly than this at-times-awkward new translation. Even though I don't like this new version, "Roadside Picnic" remains a great, very original sci-fi novel.

k
KennethSmith
Nov 01, 2017

I enjoyed this book a great deal when I first read it in high school in the 1970s. I am re-reading it now and enjoying it again, however I find this new translation to be rather too American for my Canadian taste.

b
bwrogers
Oct 01, 2017

I don't want to speak ill of a classic but it's a bit slow-going. Nonetheless, the premise is a fascinating one and the development of the protagonist keeps things moving. In some ways it would have been better served by turning the middle section, it's strongest part, into a short story. It's not a heavy investment of time though, and the setting, rich with dread and caprice, is worth it.

s
Starpoem
May 06, 2017

* This book is different from any other sci fi I've ever read. It's a unique twist on a first contact story.

* The hero, Redrick Schuhart, is a lovable scoundrel.

* It's a quick read--under 200 pages.

* The particular edition (2012 Chicago Review Press) that I read included useful "extras"--an introduction by Ursula K. LeGuin and an afterward by Boris Strugatsky.

w
weirdduck88
Oct 01, 2016

As a fan of Stalker, I’ve been meaning to read this for quite some time but never got around to it. It’s much different than the film, which was a bit surprising, especially since the two guys who wrote the book also cowrote the film. I do have to say, although I’m not usually a fan of sci-fi, I found the sci-fi elements in the book to be intriguing and I wish there was some sort of glossary out there that defined all the various alien technology and anomalies. It was pretty cool.

The first third I found difficult to get into. The writing style is a lot different than what I’m used to, and it might be because it’s a work in translation. I almost gave up — but I’m glad I didn’t because the last chapter was everything I wanted the book to be.

c
clebras
Sep 09, 2013

The film Stalker by Tarkovski is one of my favorites but this is a great book on its own. Originally I read the 1977 edition owned by the library and this new translation seems so much better. It is a powerful story. The final section is quite different from the rest, more like a thriller. Reading this version makes me wish Tarkovski could have added a few more elements from this novel into the film, which had so little dialogue, so you really had to make up your own mind about characters' motivations and such.

o
OrwellsLament
Feb 12, 2013

This should be considered a vital SF classic. It is the basis for Tarkovski's film 'Stalker', and the video game 'S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Shadow of Chernobyl'

dvschmidt Aug 29, 2012

Christianity Today recommendation

DesPlainesReaders Aug 27, 2012

A town, presumably in Canada, experiences a boom in prospectors (named "stalkers") looking to acquire nearby remains of alien contact for profit. It is difficult to say which result is worse, the dangerous aspects of an alien culture, or what they discover about our own. This short novel is the basis for the 1979 Russian film Stalker. Readers of China Miéville's The City & the City would enjoy this newly translated classic. ~wearespartacus/notTom

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