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Roadside Picnic (Russian: Пикник на обочине, Piknik na obochine, IPA:) is a short science fiction novel written by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky in Red Schuhart is a stalker, one of those young rebels who are compelled, in spite of extreme danger, to venture illegally into the Zone to collect the mysterious. ROADSIDE PICNIC. Arkady and Boris Strugatsky. Translated from the Russian by Antonina W. Bouis. Cryptomaoist Editions.
With an OverDrive account, you can save your favorite libraries for at-a-glance information about availability. Find out more about OverDrive accounts. Arkady and Boris Strugatsky are the most famous and popular Russian writers of science fiction, and the authors of over 25 novels and novellas.
Their books have been widely translated and have been made into a number of films. Arkady Strugatsky di We want your feedback! Click here. Subjects Fiction Science Fiction.
Red Schuhart is a stalker, one of those young rebels who are compelled, in spite of extreme danger, to venture illegally into the Zone to collect the mysterious artifacts that the alien visitors left scattered around.
His life is dominated by the place and the thriving black market in the alien products. This authoritative new translation corrects many errors and omissions and has been supplemented with a foreword by Ursula K. Fiction Science Fiction. The whole point is that all six Visitation Zones are situated on the surface of our planet as though someone had taken six shots at Earth from a pistol located somewhere along the Earth—Deneb line.
Deneb is the alpha star in Cygnus. The story revolves around Redrick "Red" Schuhart, a tough and experienced stalker who regularly enters the Zone illegally at night in search of valuable artifacts for profit.
Trying to clean up his act, he becomes employed as a lab assistant at the International Institute, which studies the Zone.
To help the career of his boss, whom he considers a friend, he goes into the Zone with him on an official expedition to recover a unique artifact a full "empty" , which leads to his friend's death later on. This comes as a great shock when the news reaches Redrick, very drunk in a bar, and he blames himself for his friend's fate.
While Redrick is at the bar, a police force enters looking for stalkers. Redrick is forced to use an "itcher" to make a hasty getaway. Red's girlfriend Guta is pregnant and decides to keep the baby no matter what. It is widely rumored that frequent incursions into the Zone by stalkers carry a high risk of mutations in their children.
They decide to marry. Disillusioned Redrick returns to stalking. In the course of his joint expedition into the Zone with a fellow stalker named Buzzard Burbridge, the latter steps into a substance known as "witch's jelly" which slowly dissolves his legs' bones. Amputation must be urgently performed to avoid certain death. Redrick pulls Burbridge out of the Zone and drops him off at a surgeon, avoiding the patrols.
Later on Redrick is confronted by Burbridge's daughter who gets angry at him for saving her father. Guta has given birth to a happy and intelligent daughter, fully normal but for a short and light full body hair.
They lovingly call her "Monkey. Redrick meets with his clients in a posh hotel, selling them a fresh portion of the Zone artifacts, but what they are really after is "witch's jelly. Redrick claims he doesn't have it yet and leaves. Shortly after, Redrick is arrested, but escapes. He then contacts his clients, telling them where he hid the "jelly" , which he had smuggled out previously. Redrick insists that the proceeds from the sale be sent to Guta.
Redrick realizes that the "jelly" would be used for some kind of a weapon of mass destruction, but sees no other choice to provide for his family.
He then gives himself up to the police.
Redrick's old friend Richard Noonan a supply contractor with offices inside The Institute , is revealed as a covert operative of an unnamed, presumably governmental, secret organization working hard to stop the contraband outflow of artifacts from the Zone.
Content he's nearing the successful completion of his multi-year assignment, he is confronted and scolded by his boss who reveals to him the flow is stronger than ever, and is tasked with finding who is responsible and how they operate.
It is revealed that the stalkers are now organized under the cover of the "weekend picnics-for-tourists" business set up by Burbridge. They jokingly refer to the setup as "Sunday school". Noonan then meets with Dr. Valentine Pilman for lunch and have an in-depth discussion of the Visitation and humanity in general.
Roadside Picnic | Project Gutenberg Self-Publishing - eBooks | Read eBooks online
This is where the idea of "Visitation as a roadside picnic" is pronounced. Redrick is home again, having served his time. Burbridge visits him regularly, trying to entice him into some secretive project, but Redrick declines. Guta is depressed because their daughter has nearly lost her humanity and ability to speak, resembling a monkey more and more. Redrick's dead father has come home from the cemetery inside the Zone, as other very slowly-moving and completely harmless reanimated dead are now returning to their homes all around town and are usually destroyed as soon as they are discovered.
Together Redrick's father and daughter symbolize the complete inhumanity of the Zone. Redrick goes into the Zone one last time in order to reach the wish-granting "Golden Sphere". He has a map, given to him by Burbridge, whose son Arthur joins him on the expedition.
Redrick knows one of them has to die in order to deactivate a phenomenon known as "meatgrinder" , for the other to reach the sphere, and keeps this a secret from his companion. After they get to the location, surviving many obstacles, the young man rushes towards the sphere shouting out his wishes only to be savagely dispatched by the meatgrinder.
Spent and exhausted, Redrick looks back on his whole life, hoping it wasn't all just garbage, that he still has the old spark in his soul that he remembers having as a child, hoping the Sphere will find something good in his heart — presumably it decides what is one's true wish by itself — and in the end can't think of anything else other than repeating the now dead youngster's crying words: The story was written by the Strugatsky brothers in the first outlines written January 18—27, in Leningrad , with the final version completed between October 28 and November 3, in Komarovo.
It was first published in the Avrora literary magazine in , issues 7— Parts of it were published in the Library of Modern Science Fiction book series, vol. It was also printed in the newspaper Youth of Estonia in — Roadside Picnic was refused publication in book form in the Soviet Union for eight years due to government censorship and numerous delays.
The heavily censored versions published between and significantly departed from the original version written by the authors. Michael Andre-Driussi explains that while rereading the translation of Roadside Picnic , he "discovered a magic key resolving a central problem that has baffled essayists for decades.
The main sticking point is the novel's ambiguous ending.
Potts, Professor Carl Darryl Malmgren, Professor Brooks Landon, and Roland Boer as luminaries who missed an important internal-chronology clue that explains why the ending appears to be ambiguous:. I found the suspect lines in Russian and fed them into Google Translation":. Andre-Driussi concludes, "It seems as though the English translation had these errors from the start, and they have never been corrected. Where does this leave us? The ambiguous ending has been restored.