“Overall a great read, but the chapter that was witten in present-tense, first person stream-of-conscious from the main characters perspective really outshine the rest.”see full review » see other reviews »
“I fell in love with the PC game inspired by this book ages ago. The game had such a lonely forlorn tone to it, and uncannily seems to have tapped that very mood from this well written novel. For those of you who've played S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl or have played Fallout 3 this novel is a must read. Interestingly enough, being this novel was birthed in Russia way back in 1972, the afterword by one of the book's authors expounds on how difficult it was to get this novel through the Soviet censors, and he finalizes it with a rather nasty love letter to those censors now that the communist regime is dead and gone. ”Edward B wrote this review Tuesday, October 22, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Overall a great read, but the chapter that was witten in present-tense, first person stream-of-conscious from the main characters perspective really outshine the rest.”DrWangopolis wrote this review Wednesday, June 19, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“A very intense read with deep philosophical underpinnings.
On the surface, this is a slightly off kilter visitation story. On a random day a group of alien ships land at various places around the world and promptly leave without making contact. They do however leave remnants of their visit through various gadgets, gizmos, weapons, and "traps". As a result, government and private agencies collect these artifacts without really knowing if and what they are. Black markets, of course, arise and stalkers are the men who go into the artifact zones illegally and smuggle good for black market sale. However, the zones are dangerous and often times mutations or horrific disabilities result. Notably, one character has the bones in his legs disappear.
The writing is pretty good and I have to say the translation I read is pretty good. There are definitely some cultural artifacts though most American readers may be unlikely to find them unless they have some exposure to Eastern European / Russian culture. Parts of the book were a bit slow and heavy but they were evened out by some harrowing action scenes and some really gruesome deaths. While the writing could be a bit tighter, I think it still manages to give a good sense of the deafening din of mental breakdown set among the ruins of a horrifyingly dangerous warzone.
On the surface, this read like a body horror / alien visitation tale. However, there is not really much science fiction-y stuff going on. The aliens are not present at all and the only odd stuff is the random artifacts and mutations. In the end, the book is about these characters who now feel worthless because aliens did not even want to contact humanity. At the same time, their entire society was destroyed and their physical bodies are being disfigured collecting what may amount to completely useless albeit destructive junk. The book is essentially stripping away humanity in any way it can and leaving mutilated shells of human beings to question their lives, their fates, their worth, and if they are even human any more.”
“"Roadside Picnic" by Arkady Strugatsky is a remarkable and very unusual storyline even for sci/fi. I was put off by the over-the-top self indulgent recriminations by the leading character who appears to be his own worst enemy. The story drags a bit because of these ongoing reflections. Also, be forewarned; the atmospheric backdrops in this book are dark, dreary, bleak and depressing, much like how i visualize Russia in my minds eye. But having said that I was captivated by the premise of the narrative because of its originality and the incredible imaginations it took from the Strugatsky brothers to come up with it.”Dave H wrote this review Saturday, April 27, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“The story that the movie, and the video game, "Stalker" were loosely based on. Not entirely sure I "got it" but I definitely enjoyed it. Reminded me a little bit of some of Cormac McCarthy's writing in that it felt like it was more of a "ride" than a typical story arc.
Anyways, primarily written from the point of view of an asshole "Stalker" named Rederick and some of his trials and travails. Definitely has some chilling moments and "The Zone" is creepy as hell, with places where gravity doesn't work right, mutants, undead (sort of?), and so forth. I'm really not doing it any justice in my descriptions.
Also note, it has the undefinable strangeness that comes from certain translations.”
“A nice twist on the usual first contact yarn. Refreshing and enjoyable. Will have to look for more of the authors' work. ”Jack R wrote this review Thursday, January 24, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Interesting take on alien visit”Sharon Brower wrote this review Monday, January 14, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I finished reading "Roadside Picnic" by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky last night. I enjoyed it. It was interesting. "Stalker" by Tarkovsky was based on the book. The film contains elements of the book but doesn't really follow the book that closely. Still I enjoyed both the book and the movie.”Gary M wrote this review Sunday, May 20, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I read this back in the 80's and recently became aware of this edition which has been updated with a new translation. The Strugatsky brothers are among the best in Science Fiction. ”Peter Idone wrote this review Thursday, March 29, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“A seminal work of science fiction, this book looks at how one man's life and his family are changed forever not by the alien Zone where he collects priceless treasures, but by his obsession with it. ”Bookish Lad wrote this review Wednesday, December 7, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No