Review: Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky

Roadside Picnic is short, bleak, and fantastic. It has a typical Russian life-is-a-meaningless-struggle-against-absurdity vibe, but there’s enough going on to make it an interesting read.

Aliens have visited Earth, but then left, leaving behind a zone where commonplace things are sometimes instantly deadly. But in the zone are also artifacts of alien technology, which you can sell for decent money, if you survive trips into the zone. The main character travels to the zone, despite the effects it has on his life and family.

The basic premise is very similar to Annihilation (also a good book), but predates it by over forty years. They’re different enough that you can happily read both, but maybe not one right after the other.

Recommendation: Buy it. This is good stuff. If you like it, also check out Hard to be a God by the same authors.

3 thoughts on “Review: Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky

  1. There is also a Russian movie with English subtitles called “The Zone” and it is very long and atmospheric, but worthy on a rainy day, and it made my comprehension of Roadside Picnic complete.

  2. I hadn’t heard of this book until recently, but it sounds very interesting and I’ll be sure to pick it up on my next book Haul. I have Stalker at home, but have yet to watch it.

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