The Strugatsky brothers' poignant and introspective novel of first contact that inspired the classic film Stalker
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.
Readers can't stop thinking about Roadside Picnic:
'A story of a horrific yet fascinating place, a story of an ordinary and unlikable man just trying to get by, a philosophical interlude on humanity and its significance or lack thereof, of greed and wonder, and the fever dream of the soul scream. It still speaks to me' Goodreads reviewer, ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
'Such an intriguing setting for me, such an unusual take on alien interaction' Goodreads reviewer, ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
'It is a thought-provoking, hard-to-put down masterpiece, most probably the best introduction to Soviet science fiction. A must read for any sci-fi fan' Goodreads reviewer, ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
'A fantastic and creative exploration of what first contact might be like' Goodreads reviewer, ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
'The tone of the book is akin to that of some noir works, dark, gritty, getting darker and grittier as the tale wears on . . . Like many great books, the meaning of the ending is left up to the reader' Goodreads reviewer, ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
'A beautifully depressive and wonderfully atmospheric science fiction novel about life on Earth after an alien "Visitation" that leaves humans with more questions than answers . . . Once I started reading it today, I couldn't stop. The story captured my heart and held my attention' Goodreads reviewer, ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
'This is the sort of book that you read and then immediately feel the need to lend it to someone you know so that they can experience and enjoy it themselves . . . I was truly astonished-by both the poignancy and the deceptive(?) simplicity of this relatively short novel' Goodreads reviewer, ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Since its 1972 appearance in Russia, the Strugatsky brothers' novel has been published worldwide, inspired Andrei Tarkovsky's memorable film Stalker, and been the basis for the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. video games. As this vivid new translation demonstrates, it also remains a powerful study of human behavior in the presence of superhuman power. The action takes place in and near a Visit Zone, one of six areas suddenly scattered with incomprehensible artifacts and disturbing phenomena; one baffled scientist ruefully suggests that aliens visited Earth like careless tourists and dumped their trash here. While cautious people keep their distance, furtive explorers called "stalkers" enter the Zones to retrieve objects that are wonderful but unpredictably deadly. Over-lapping narratives show stalker Red Schuhart's struggle to master the Zone's inexplicable treasures and terrors. Boris Strugatsky's afterword describes how uneasy the manuscript made myopic Soviet bureaucrats; it has survived triumphantly as a classic because it expresses humanity's inarticulate rage and wonder at life's frustrations and promises.