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Index card 017 - Tarkovski Sound Machine
Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky

Roadside Picnic is the most celebrated novel of the Strugatsky brothers (the famous soviet sci-fi writer duo) and inspired Tarkovsky's Stalker. Unlike the movie, the book lets us peek a little more into the main character and his motivations. He's a scavenger in the Zone. We visit his apartment, meet his family and join him through his adventures stalking the Zone, an area left by the Visitors on planet earth. The visitors' shape, characteristics, intentions, and goals are never described in the book, creating a formidable setting for this philosophical sci-fi thriller.

Unlike many American Sci-Fi classics, Soviet Sci-Fi deals with the ethical, ontological, and psychological questions behind encountering other beings. The work (more than 50 books) by the Strugatsky brothers has a peculiar curve: they moved from utopian to dystopian worlds, encompassing the degradation of the Soviet regime. This novel is more on the dystopian side but just like an underlying circumstance. The '70s version of the book was heavily censored and edited by the government. Still, fortunately, in 2012, Boris Strugatsky released an edition that resembled the original one. This is the pdf you will find in the link.

I highly recommend this book to any Sci-Fi enthusiast, Orwell-Huxley-K. Dick reader, Tarkovski's fan and/or avid fiction reader.

I remember reading it on a couple of day trips to the beach, so I guess it's 4-6 hr long.

Enjoy the trip, Stalker!

︎︎ Read Roadside Picnic

A book can also exist as an autonomous and self-sufficient form, including perhaps a text that emphasizes that form, a text that is an organic part of that form: here begins the new art of making books. (Ulises Carrion)

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