Strugatsky

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Strugatsky

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1morwen04
Jul 30, 2015, 11:49am

I'm on a slight Strugatsky kick. I watched the movie Stalker years ago after stumbling across it somewhere. I loved the movie. Well fast forward about ten years and I finally run across a copy of Roadside Picnic Read that and fell more in love with the story. Since then I've been slowly going over what works I can get from my library. I've read Tale of the Troika (no touchstone found) and am currently reading The Time Wanderers (also no touchstone found :() Does anyone have any opinions about what their works? Favorites or least favorites? Trivia?

2rebeccanyc
Jul 31, 2015, 3:05pm

I started out with the recently released The Dead Mountaineer's Inn, which is kind of a spoof of mysteries with some sci fi thrown in. Then, even though I'm not a sci fi fan, I read Roadside Picnic. I recently rented Stalker from Netflix, and was somewhat disappointed in it relative to the book. I'm not particularly interested in reading more because I'm not a sci fi reader.

3agmlll
Editado: Ago 1, 2015, 10:30am

I have enjoyed everything I've read by the Strugatsky brothers. Roadside Picnic is one of my favorite books. Definitely Maybe and Hard to Be a God have also recently been released. There is a 2013 movie version of Hard to Be a God available on DVD.

4languagehat
Editado: Ago 1, 2015, 11:51am

I too have enjoyed everything I've read by the Strugatskys; I just wish I'd known about them when I was a teenage sf addict. I highly recommend Hard to Be a God and The Snail on the Slope; their earlier Escape Attempt is excellent sf but not as "literary" (they got more and more literary as they went on), and Monday Begins on Saturday is delightful but more fantasy/satire. (Well, actually I didn't much care for The Second Invasion from Mars, but I like them so much I'll probably give it another try one day.)

5morwen04
Ago 3, 2015, 10:03am

Well after reading The Time Wanderers I was going to purchase the Noon Universe for my brother (he is a big fan of Stanislaw Lem) but most of them seem to be out of print and while not hard to find are definitely hard to know what quality of used book I would be purchasing. It's always sad to me when good authors go out of print.

Thanks everyone for the opinions and recommendations. And reminding me that I did read Definitely Maybe but hadn't remembered until I saw the cover for the recently released edition.

I read a note (on wikipedia) said that Snail on the Slope was an almost rewrite of the first draft of Disquiet (the touchstones really don't like me) has anyone read both of these? Would a reader be able to guess this going into these two novels cold?

Are there any other Soviet Era Science Fiction authors people can recommend? SciFi authors and I have had a bumpy relationship but I rather enjoy the interchange of science fiction and soviet ideology.

6LolaWalser
Ago 3, 2015, 10:47am

Zamyatin's We is a classic which directly inspired Huxley's Brave new world. It's far more outspoken in its criticism than the Strugatskys could have allowed themselves. It's also a literary masterpiece.

7languagehat
Ago 3, 2015, 6:10pm

Ivan Antonovich Efremov is probably the most famous non-Strugatsky Russian sf author (Zamyatin can hardly be considered such, though he wrote a classic of early sf); unfortunately, as I wrote elsewhere of The Andromeda Nebula, "It’s frankly not very good—lots of chunks of 'As you know, mankind long ago eliminated…' exposition and ludicrous love interests shoehorned in (showing the wisdom of early American sf writers in entirely avoiding the issue)—but it’s interesting enough to keep me reading (if occasionally skimming)." I started another of his (Hour of the Bull) but gave up quickly.

8agmlll
Ago 4, 2015, 12:27am

I thought Ice Trilogy by Vladimir Sorokin was pretty amazing. (The second book does seem a little unnecessary.)

9rebeccanyc
Editado: Ago 4, 2015, 7:02am

I loved Ice Trilogy too. I didn't think of it as sci fi because of its political angle, but of course it has elements of it.

10pitjrw
Editado: Ago 5, 2015, 2:38pm

Back to Strugatsky, I'm want to second morwen04 on Far Rainbow. Of his works I've read it certainly is the most accessible and emotionally resonant. For a good review, see Noel Perrin's write up in A Reader's Delight. It begs for a movie treatment.

11morwen04
Ago 6, 2015, 4:25pm

I have previously read We. I guess I don't think of dystopian literature as SciFi even though it is. I have also read Ice Trilogy but that is post-Soviet and more magical realism. I would pair it closely with Haruki Murakami and some Victor Pelevin.

I am more interested in Soviet era SciFi works. Wikipedia actually a page for Russian Science Fiction and Fantasy. Can anyone recommend anyone from this list?

Alexander Belayev, Grigory Adamov, Vladimir Obruchev, Alexey Tolstoy, Alexsander Kazantsev, Georgy Martynov, Vladimir Savchenko, Georgy Gurevich, Kir Bulychov, Alexsander Kolpakov, Sergey Snegov, Nikolay Nosov, Evgeny Veltistov, Vitaly Melentyev, Yan Larri, Vladislav Krapirin, Vitaly Gubarev?

There's some information about most of these authors on wikipedia but I trust the people here more than the faceless people behind wikipedia.

12agmlll
Ago 6, 2015, 8:55pm

I remember liking Aelita by Alexei Tolstoy .

13languagehat
Ago 7, 2015, 9:33am

People whose judgment I trust have assured me that Kir Bulychev is wonderful, and I look forward to reading him.

14morwen04
Ago 8, 2015, 2:52pm

Thanks everyone I've requested a few books from my library system

15languagehat
Ago 9, 2015, 9:25am

Report back if you have recommendations!

16vaniamk13
Ago 9, 2015, 11:36pm

I thought Alexei Tolstoy's collection of fantastic tales The Marie Antoinette Tapestry absolutely brilliant.

17languagehat
Ago 10, 2015, 9:45am

Which stories does it include? Or, if there are too many to easily list, which are your favorites? There doesn't seem to be any information about it online.

18vaniamk13
Ago 10, 2015, 11:32pm

My copy was published in 1991 by Raduga (USSR), 373 pages.

Lovely Lady
Mercy!
The Peregrinations of Semyon Nevzorov or Ibiscus
Count Cagliostro
The Ancient Route
Dream Cities
The Marie Antoinette Tapesty
The Viper
The Russian Character

I believe I read it about 7-8 years ago and can no longer remember exactly which stories I thought best, but I remember enjoying all of them tremendously. Although online sources cite Alexei Tolstoy as a an early Soviet SciFi writer, I believe the stories in this collection would likely be classified as fantasy or historical fantasy with more than a little satirical humor in each story.

19languagehat
Ago 11, 2015, 4:32pm

Thanks, much appreciated!

20kaggsy
Editado: Ago 12, 2015, 2:44am

Having just dug about in my Russian books, I find I have a collection entitled The Ultimate Threshold trans. by Mirra Ginsburg. Subtitled A Collection of the Finest Soviet Science Fiction, it has authors like Henrik Altov, Anatolu Dmeprov, Olga Larianova, Ilya Varshavsky and many others I've not heard of - might be a good place to start!

21morwen04
Ago 12, 2015, 11:34am

http://translatedsf.thierstein.net/tiki-index.php?page=Original%20Languages

So while doing some research based on the information everyone has given here I found the above link. It will take you a list of translated (into English) Science Fiction listed alphabetically by the original language. The definition of SciFi is stretched a bit at times but I enjoy lists.

22languagehat
Ago 13, 2015, 9:13am

Terrific list, thanks for posting it! (You're not kidding about the definition of sf, though: Gogol??)

23sparemethecensor
Ago 13, 2015, 10:28am

Ditto... Sounds like one of those "anything weird gets called SF" definitions.

24morwen04
Set 4, 2015, 12:54pm

Soo I went on vacation and due to weight limitations ended up not bringing any physical books with me. Since I've been back I picked up Earth and Elsewhere and Aelita. As well as putting in interlibrary loan requests for some others. So far I've only been able to finish the first short story in Earth and Elsewhere, which is "The Way to Amalteia" by the Strugatsky brothers. It was, predictably, good. I'll keep everyone posted on other authors as I get to them. Thanks again for everyone's recommendations

25morwen04
Set 9, 2015, 11:57am

Finished Earth and Elsewhere apart from the Strugatsky the other stories are:

A Part of the World by Gansovsky, Sever
- Reminded me in parts of Brazil (bureaucracy and the descriptions of the backgrounds just brought the movie to mind, the plot was no where near the same)

Another's Memory by Bulychev, Kir
-Essentially Frankenstein without the gothic horror aspects. Clone with identity crisis

A Tale of Kings by Larionova, Olga
-An alien kidnaps an Adam and Eve from Earth to remember their humanity-- I feel like the translation failed this one as the plot elements were interesting but the overall feeling coming out the story for me was eh

Tower of Birds by Oleg Korabelnikov
-This was not Science Fiction. It's a fairy tale. Man gets lost in woods, meets up with forest spirits, learns how to be one with the universe. The story is good (do need some knowledge of Russian/Slavic spirits b/c these are not explained) but I was confused the entire time about its inclusion into this collection.

Thank you for everyone who recommended Aelita! I devoured that. I kept picturing a Fritz Lang version of the story in my head as I read it. Going to attempt to get the movie.

26languagehat
Set 12, 2015, 8:29pm

Thanks for the report!

27morwen04
Out 3, 2016, 6:14pm

My goodness I got sidetracked for much longer than I thought. I thought I had read all the Strugatsky's but then realized that I'd only read their Noon Universe (and a few others). So I interlibrary loan'd The Ugly Swans. This was mostly interesting as the same themes are repeated in later works. The Strugatskys don't seem to be fans of explaining everything. I'm not sure if that's a product of the translations I have access to or original to them. Possible a mix of both.

I also read Aliens, Travelers, and Other Strangers. As with any mix of stories it's a bit of a mixed bag. I will say reading this collection I noticed how suspenseful or tense a lot of Soviet/Russian Sci Fi is. I highly highly recommend picking this up if only for the novella by Sever Gansovsky called Vincent Van Gogh. I don't want to say too much because it deals with time travel but it does it in a refreshing, good way.

I did end up watching Aelita. The movie was so changed from the story and not in my opinion for the better. I also picked up the movie for The Amphibian but I haven't gotten to read the book yet. It's up next.

28languagehat
Out 4, 2016, 10:55am

Thanks again -- I've added the Gansovsky story to my reading list!

29agmlll
Editado: Out 8, 2016, 1:50pm

I see that The Doomed City has recently has recently been issued by the Chicago Review Press. It seems like they are publishing a lot of books by the Strugatskys, but I can't find any reference to an organized plan.

30morwen04
Out 18, 2016, 10:08am

I know I said The Amphibian was next up on my list but I have that until December and Yellow Blue Tibia is due back in about a week so that's next. I don't know if anyone has read it but I'm hoping for an interesting modern look back over Soviet sci fi but who knows. The reviews are mostly positive but I've avoided reading too much about it so as to not be spoiled.

>29 agmlll: My copy of The Doomed City came in at the library so I have that for another 2 weeks so that will probably come after. I've been looking forward to it for some time. I have not been questioning the re-release (or just release) of Strugatsky in english I've just been enjoying it and hoping for more.

>20 kaggsy: I've finally put in an interlibrary loan request for The Ultimate Threshold so I'll probably get to this after The Amphibian

31languagehat
Out 19, 2016, 6:28pm

I just finished Gansovsky's "Vincent Van Gogh"; at first I was annoyed that it was one of those stories whose plots depend on the protagonists being idiots, but it was done in such a winning way, with the narrator saying "Hey, we were young and foolish," that I got over it, and it became quite gripping. Thanks for the recommendation, morwen04!

32morwen04
Out 21, 2016, 5:41pm

>31 languagehat: I'm glad you ultimately liked it. It's true the protagonist does start a bit too much the idiot but I, at least, by about 1/3 through, figured that was on purpose by Gansovsky. The needling of the tropes commonly found in similar titles ended up being one of my favorite parts of it. I'm also a Doctor Who fan and that definitely drove a chunk of my enjoyment because I have to turn off the part of my brain that screams "Holy Plot Holes Batman!" that this title redressed in some ways.

33morwen04
Out 24, 2016, 12:32pm

Well Yellow Blue Tibia was a bust. Don't think I can recommend it, certainly cannot recommend it for anyone who enjoys Soviet Science Fiction. If I explained the plot it wouldn't sound bad (all the basic plot points are there) but I just didn't like it or it definitely wasn't what I thought it would be from reviews/summaries. I think my feelings can be summed up by the fact that the title is a butchering of the pronunciation of "I love you" in Russian and that's treated seriously.

Finished The Doomed City. That was the least hopeful of all the Strugatsky's I've read. Boris Strugatsky wrote an afterword where he talks about this being autobiographical and there fear of being caught/arrested/erased pervades the narrative.

34languagehat
Out 25, 2016, 9:30am

Yeah, the Strugatskys got darker and darker over time; "The yids of Peter’s city, or Melancholy talks by candlelight" (1990) is a play in which Leningrad Jews get notices to report with all their belongings to a stadium.

35morwen04
Out 31, 2016, 7:08pm

>34 languagehat: oh but stories that begin that way never have bad endings /sarcasm

Finished The Amphibian I can't tell for sure but I think the translator may have excised little bits. The story is a fun short tale a little in the line with Doctor Moreau (but optimistic instead of horror). I am a big fan of the idea of changing people/species by grafting in other species, most of the time this is a horrific act against nature/God which were being written before we had our current grasp of genetics. (I hope I live long enough to get the see the same naive joy in current science fiction in the future). Overall though the short story is a bit weak.

I also read Journey Across Three Worlds. This is another short story anthology. The titular story is by the Abramovs (father and son team) and was the strongest (and longest, which may be connected) story in the collection. It's a rather odd little story about a man jumping between parallel worlds (well "jumping" more like he takes over his other self in parallel worlds). It has some major pit falls but was interesting enough.

Next there's a very short Strugatsky story The Gigantic Fluctuation. This was fun but very short, around 20 pages in my copy.

Then there's The Snowball by Yemstev and Parnov. This suffered the most by the obvious plot hole of time travel. The main character takes a journal he knows a character in the future has to prove that he travel in time, except that if he had taken it in the past it wouldn't duplicate it in the future it would just be gone. That was distracting from an otherwise well written story.

Cadet Ploshkin by Varshavsky seems to have been added as science fiction because they're technically on space ships but no actual "science" is seen as the plot revolves around the titular cadet playing a prank on the officers.

I have zero memories of Gansovsky's The Two.

I found the girl in The Girl Nothing Happens To by Bulychev to be so obnoxious and precocious that I finished the story out of spite, others may not have the same feelings towards it.

The final story The Seventh Floor by Arkady Lvov was confusing. I don't know if I just wasn't doing a close enough reading or if the translator just decided to skip some transitions or if the story is just that malformed but while I got the gist of the story I also feel like I missed huge, important, chunks.

I'm not really sure why I went into so much detail except that I got annoyed that I couldn't find any information going into the collection. I will add that the Abramov and the Strugatsky stories are available for free online at archive.org.

I will also add that the edition I read was an English language edition that was published to be sold in Russia so there could have been linguistic differences in how it was translated verses how the English for the English speaking crowd was translated but I'm certainly not going to hunt down another copy to check.

36languagehat
Nov 1, 2016, 8:52am

I really appreciate your going into so much detail! The Lvov sounds intriguing; I've got his novel The Courtyard, but didn't realize he wrote sf. I'll read the story (in Russian) and report back on my confusion level.

37languagehat
Editado: Nov 10, 2016, 8:51pm

OK, I finished The Seventh Floor; I'm not sure what in particular you found lacking, but it was about the education of a potential genius (Gri) whose father (Din) enjoyed the free play of his mind but worried about taking it too seriously for fear he would turn out to be one of those former child prodigies who end up bitter and useless. The old man on the seventh floor tells him he's wrong to expect a clear vision of the future, that they have to let Gri spread his wings and see how far he can get. Not a great story, but I enjoyed the description of his playing hooky and watching the wasp and the beetle. (I also learned some new Russian vocabulary, which is always fun.)

38morwen04
Nov 14, 2016, 7:44pm

>37 languagehat: if you read it in Russian and everything made sense then I'm guessing the translation was poor. I understood the basic story but it would like jump. For instance one paragraph Gri is in class, the next he's watching the wasp and beetle and playing with a dolphin with no transition to tell me he was playing hooky until the teacher tells his parent.

39languagehat
Nov 15, 2016, 2:09pm

That's weird! In the Russian, he starts off headed for class but sees the monorail and succumbs to a sudden impulse to get on it and go to the end of the line at the shore, whereupon he takes a dolphin ride, hangs out in the forest till dark, etc. It's all laid out in straightforward fashion (unlike the new movie Arrival, which I just saw last night!).

40morwen04
Dez 9, 2016, 2:38pm

I finished The Ultimate Threshold over a week ago. I wrote down a thought about each of the short stories as I read it but keep forgetting that list which probably means I'm not going to remember it. I thoroughly enjoyed this collection though. So far the most balanced for the short story collections I've read.

41morwen04
Dez 10, 2016, 8:10pm

ok ok I just started The World's Spring and I just had to share a few lines from the introduction:

"The postwar decade (1946-1956) was characterized by a type of science fiction bordering on popular science. Our critics have termed this type 'science fiction with short sight', and it contributed very little to the treasure of Soviet sf."

42morwen04
Dez 13, 2016, 9:36am

Finished World's Spring last night. It and The Ultimate Threshold are to date the best collections of Soviet short story SF I've ever come across. Possibly even the best SF short story collections but I haven't read that many so my sample size is fairly small. There are a couple of duds in World's Spring (the last story particularly did not float my boat) but for every dud there were 3 beautifully written stories. I found Gakov's little bios before each short story informative and interesting and I really enjoyed his short introduction.

43languagehat
Dez 13, 2016, 1:49pm

Sounds great! Could you recommend a few stories you thought were especially good?

44kaggsy
Dez 14, 2016, 8:26am

I have both of these collections and I've read stories from each for a guest post on a sci fi blog. They were excellent - the standard of Soviet Sci Fi does seem to be high.

45languagehat
Dez 14, 2016, 9:39am

Here's a contents listing for World's Spring that includes Russian titles, which is very helpful for those of us who read Russian:
http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?521695

I'd love a few recommendations of especially good stories, since I'm unlikely to have time to read the whole book in the near future.

46languagehat
Dez 14, 2016, 9:40am

47morwen04
Dez 14, 2016, 11:53am

Ok I can't give recommendations for The Ultimate Threshold right now because I once again do not have the cheat sheet I create specifically to remember the stories in it. But I am fresh enough on World's Spring that I can remember all but one of those stories. I can say which ones I didn't particularly like but hopefully if I write short plot summaries you'll know which ones you'd like the most.

The Surf of Mars - Cautious astronaut discovers "ocean" surf on Mars. To prove he is not a coward keeps diving in. This one is better than the summary. Very well written, atmospheric.

The Port of Rock Storms - Humans discover alien highway infrastructure. I give this one an eh pass. It's not bad but just like eh

World's Spring - If you can get passed the contrivance of just one man and one woman living alone with an alien butler on a very hostile dead world (the science is not explained and it bothered me). Essentially they live on a world they think is dead but then spring comes to the world and it's all really about how the man is from Earth and the women isn't and so has never experienced seasons. It's not bad if you can get passed the science fails in it.

Nine Minutes - Astronauts return to an Earth that has aged a significant more than they have (I think a century has gone by for Earth but only two years for them) because of technological advancements they can't see Earth on their scanners for 9 minutes and so think that maybe the Earth is gone. It's short but can be passed. Mostly about how humans react to the planet being just gone.

The World in Which I Vanished - Pretty sure this the story were two people are brought back to life (officially dead to the government) to take part in an experiment. Satire about Soviet realism. Not bad and short.

Sun Sets in Donomag - The one I cannot remember or find anything to spark a memory of.

Testing Ground - Anti-war short story about a tank that is controlled by the thoughts of people. I really liked this one. Apparently I'm a big fan of Gansovsky.

The Ultimate Threshold - Man creates House of Death where people can choose to die. Man enters the house there is much discussion over whether what the man did was good or bad. I'll be honest I thought this one went on too long but it was still good.

City and Wolf - A wolf prevents the end of the world using his nose. An astronaut brings back sand from a dead planet. The sand has passed all human tests and deemed a non-threat. The wolf's nose says differently and so the sand must be hunted down. The wolf is great and makes this story. Do recommend.

An Ugly Bioform - Geneticists are able to modify the human form to perform experiments on otherwise hostile planets. One bioform is sort of stuck in his modified form and chooses death to protect a city. This is another where it is better written than the plot summary implies.

The Very Biggest House - Girl raised on doomed ship is sent to Earth after being brainwashed by her parents for her own good. I am not a fan of children in stories, particularly not written from their viewpoint as this one was, but for all that this was not the worst of its type.

Appendix - French mathematician is killed so that he cannot create the nuclear bomb before humans are ready for it. Wants to be a more important/heavier story that it is. Pass.

The Great Actor Jones - One scientist claims, using another scientist's theory, to have brought Edgar Allen Poe through time. Poe takes ever the actor Jones' body when he does. Lots of arguing over whether this is happening or if Jones is just that good of an actor. This was another not bad but I don't know if I recommend it stories.

The Stanlislavsky Method - a bit actor is so engrossed with living his tiny role he creates the world he is supposed to be enacting and ends up stuck there. I liked this one a lot. Helps that it was short.

Life Space - A man doesn't live out his life by time but rather by space. He dies over and over in time but always comes back as long as he does not leave a certain space. This was pretty good, interesting.

Day of Wrath - Humans create a super intelligent being, Otarks. Problem is they eat people (really thought this plot point wasn't true because the story is about what makes a human human and that it was like racist propaganda type thing but no they really do eat people and each other). This was much more on the horror side of science fiction and maybe a tad too long but still good.

Once at Night - Horse and robot meet and both interact with each like they would if the other was a person. Kind of a sweet story (especially after the Otark's one).

The Choice - An alien with powers, one of which is to change his shape is rescued by his people but chooses to stay on Earth because it is the only life he knows. Another eh not bad but not great story. I'm not mad I read it though.

An Old Robot's Two Times Two - Instead of Asimov's laws humans create robots with one rule they must love/worship humans. Humans find this so terrible they abandon the robots. Robots hear that humans have created different robots and so the robots create different humans. This was interesting but to me it focused too much on things I didn't care about that didn't further the plot.

Coincidence - An alien invasion is prevented by the story in the story (the story is that the alien is reading the story). I did not like this one at all.

48languagehat
Dez 14, 2016, 1:06pm

Thanks very much!

49morwen04
Dez 16, 2016, 10:18pm

Well I finally have my notes and my computer at the same time and um let's just say they aren't as helpful this far removed from the book as I had assumed they'd be... but I can tell you from the notes that I like the stories, Icarus and Daedalus, Erem, Horn of Plenty (my notes also call this one kind of dumb but I also still remember the plot and kind of chuckle over it), and Invasion. Also from my notes I didn't particularly care for the stories, We Played Under Your Window (deals with kids) or Preliminary Research.

The other stories I can't tell one way or the other from my notes.

50languagehat
Dez 17, 2016, 2:46pm

Thanks again, that's very helpful.

51morwen04
Dez 21, 2016, 11:39am

So I'm trying to research how I could possible read Disquiet. Wikipedia claims (but without references and I cannot find any corroborating evidence) that it was published in the 90s in Dimension F Magazine (which I cannot find exists) and that Boris Strugatsky published it online. The touchstones takes you to a copy of it that is possibly Polish but also has German in the common knowledge. I can find it in Russian on GoodReads but no actually copies of it anywhere, even in Russian. (not that my Russian is good enough to read something like this in Russian) At this point, unless someone here has inside information, I'm going to have to assume I will not be able to read this.

52languagehat
Dez 21, 2016, 4:27pm

I'm afraid "Dimension F" is actually the Russian magazine «Измерение-Ф». Boris Strugatsky may have published it online, but his heirs have taken all his work offline and their internet page sends you to a publisher's page to buy it. I could hook you up with a Russian text, but it wouldn't do you much good. Sorry about that!

53morwen04
Dez 21, 2016, 4:42pm

Even knowing that Dimension F is a Russian magazine is super helpful. Thank you so much for the offer of the Russian text. I wish my language retention was higher but it try as I might it's sorely lacking.

54morwen04
Fev 15, 2017, 4:59pm

Started reading Snail on the Slope. The edition I am reading, barely into it, was translated by Alan Meyers, published by Gollancz in London in 1980. It is... not a good translation. The main characters names have been bizarrely anglicized (Peretz in to Penny) and kefir was translated to yogurt (I was a little confused why they were all drinking yogurt).

55morwen04
Editado: Jun 19, 2017, 6:30pm

Read Plutonia this weekend. This is amazing. I'm not sure I can even label it good or bad. I loved it for how ridiculous it is, but I'm pretty sure that's not why it was written. The plot is that a bunch of scientists go on an Arctic adventure and discover that the earth is hollow and that there is a planet inside earth (very much like Journey to the Center of the Earth but without all the contrivance Verne puts into getting the characters there). So once they stumble onto this new planet they immediately start killing things and eating them. Find a mammoth, shoot it, realize there's no way to transport the mammoth, hack off bits, eat it. Occasionally they shoot and kill things to study them and then just leave the corpse behind. There's a line about how disappointed they were to not be able to kill any of the strange new animals one day. It's really entertaining and the writing was good. I loved the illustrations in my copy. The science isn't even that bad, it was written with geology in mind. But don't come here for anything overly serious.

56morwen04
Set 26, 2017, 11:34am

Read Andromeda by Efremov. If basically everything that happened on Earth not related to the ship that crashed on the dark planet had been deleted I would have thoroughly enjoyed this book. I did appreciate the diversity in the book particularly for a sci fi book from that era.

57languagehat
Set 28, 2017, 10:31am

Yes, it's fun if flawed; I briefly reviewed it here:
http://languagehat.com/spurious-dogs/

58morwen04
Out 3, 2017, 11:18am

>57 languagehat: Reading the comments on that post I picked up Moscow 2042 at my library yesterday. Honestly surprised I have not read it already it has all the markings of books I enjoy. Did you end up reading it? Any thoughts on why it was recommended reading with Andromeda? Does it live up to the billing of satire of the Soviet realism SF genre?

59languagehat
Out 3, 2017, 8:13pm

I haven't read it yet, so I'll be interested in your report!

60morwen04
Nov 17, 2017, 11:54am

>59 languagehat: Hm. Finished Moscow 2042 last week and have been ruminating on it. If I had read it without thinking of how it related (or if it related) to Andromeda I probably would have enjoyed it more. As it is I don't think I really quite understand what the commenter meant except that they both deal with a potential future Soviet Union (one utopian the other satire). But if that were your criteria you'd have better books to compare to both to choose from.

On it's own the translation I read was clunky, I've read significantly better Voinovich at least. The story is entertaining enough and worked as satire. I didn't read it as a satire of the genre of Soviet SF but as satire of an entire specific movement (which I'm know has a name but I can't remember it right now) across Soviet culture.

61languagehat
Nov 19, 2017, 9:31am

Thanks!

62-pilgrim-
Dez 26, 2019, 1:34pm

Resurrecting an old thread for a quick question: does anyone know who the translator is for the S. F. Masterworks edition of The Snail on the Slope by the Strugatsky brothers?

63vaniamk13
Dez 27, 2019, 11:39am

Orion's S. F. Masterworks series is a reprint of their Gollancz SF titles. Therefore, although not explicit, it's the Alan Myers translation.

There's also a 2018 translation by Olena Bormashenko available (https://www.chicagoreviewpress.com/snail-on-the-slope--the-products-978091409187...) that you're probably already aware of.

64-pilgrim-
Dez 27, 2019, 2:33pm

>63 vaniamk13: Thank you. That would explain why I couldn't find anything explicit about the translation. I was quite impressed as to how Olena Bormashenko handled Roadside Picnic - and she did have the imprimatur of Boris giving her his manuscripts for that; do you have any knowledge of Andrew Myers' work?

65vaniamk13
Dez 28, 2019, 9:57pm

No, I'm not familiar with Myers' work, but according to Wikipedia he was a prolific translator of Russian works from the 1960s to late 90s. I read a critique somewhere (Amazon?) that said he over-Anglicized his translation, using British proper names instead of the original Russian, etc., giving an awkward sense of place more typical of archaic translations. (???) Might simply be a question of personal taste. Certainly others in this thread could opine based on having read something Myers translated.

66morwen04
Jan 9, 2020, 11:05am

Hi! I read that Snail on the Slope in February 2017 translated by Myers (spelled Meyers in my edition which is a bit odd), and I still remember it as being terrible. I don't know if it was just the time period or if it was just him, but it was like he didn't trust English readers to be able to handle "foreign" words/names/phrases. It felt so unlike a Strugatsky book.

67-pilgrim-
Fev 7, 2020, 8:43am

,>66 morwen04: Thank you for the warning!

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