The best dystopian fiction you'll ever read


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/12/09/strugatsky-brothers-magnum-opu.html


#2

Funny, just the other day I was reading David Wong’s counterpoint on Cracked [1] to The Walking Dead that humans are actually pretty good at organizing in the face of hardship and catastrophe.

[1] “David Wong” (a pen-name) holds up Cracked all by himself. I assume familiarity with his article Why Humanity Desperately Wants Monsters To Be Real, which is all that much relevant in post-Trump USA.


#3

Could be just what I need to prepare for Trump’s inaugural address!

(BTW, what’s the status of an “official” Trump inaugural bingo/drinking game? Everything I’m seeing online is left over from the debates.)


#4

Yay I have a bit of spending cash for this right now and Boris and Arkady Strugatsky wrote top notch stories.

ETA: reading the foreword right now!


#5

I can not say enough good things. This is really one of the best books you’ll ever read.


#6

and to make it even more scifi reading it on a tablet! woo!


#7

I want to gush and talk about it when you are done.


#8

I’ll give it a shot in the original language. Even though it’s my first, I’ve yet to read a whole novel in it! Greatly enjoyed translations of their other works, though.
Thank you for the suggestion!


#9

read it , loved it , reccccommmennd it highly !!


#10

I really wanted to disagree with you, @jlw but I’m now stuck on what I consider their most seminal work, and it’s such a damned hard choice… So instead, I’ll suggest an expanded reading list!

Snail on the Slope
Hard to be a God
Those Burdened by Evil (the brothers’ last novel-length work, took some work finding so here’s a link)
Escape Attempt

…and I should stop before I end up listing every book they’d ever written.


#11

I leave you with these immortal words:

“Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.”

― Mark Twain

I’m pretty sure everyone wins Bingo by the time Trump finishes his 3 a.m. tweets, even without a board.


#12

Is in my hands right now.


#13

Oh, do post when you’ve finished it! It’s been far too many years since I’ve had a chance to gush – or witness someone else gushing – about it.


#14

I’m not sure why I’d want that…


#15

For anyone into the Strugatsky brothers, I’d recommend the light-hearted yet heady “Monday begins on Saturday”. Best send-up of academia I’ve yet to read!


#16

your post should’ve started with “for anyone not yet into the Strugatsky brothers, …”


#18

Assuming that was legitimately aquired (and my apologies if it wasn’t, not meaning to make things awkward), where’d you find it digitally? Amazon doesn’t list a Kindle version, for my geo-fenced location at any rate. (and iBooks has Roadside Picnic, but not The Doomed City)


#19

I found Roadside Picnic to be enjoyable by itself, but my favorite parte was the detailed afterword about the backstory of the book, including the frankly surreal amount of petty bureaucracy and censorship involved in the publishing. As disturbing as any fiction, if you ask me.

The highlights to me are the abbreviated lists they received of COMMENTS CONCERNING THE IMMORAL BEHAVIOR OF THE HEROES (“I would be happy to drink with you to that -p. 42”), COMMENTS CONCERNING PHYSICAL VIOLENCE ("Redrick felt in his pocket, picked out a nut that weighed about an ounce, and, taking aim, flung it at Arthur. It hit him right in the back of the head. The boy gasped [etc.] p.182) and COMMENTS ABOUT VULGARISMS AND SLANG EXPRESSIONS (“the Butcher cursed” p.74).

The story itself has so many shades of Chernobyl it’s frankly shocking it was written in the 1970s. The same goes for Tarkovski’s great 1979 adaptation Stalker. The 2007 Ukrainian-made videogame sort-of-adaptation S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl obviously takes that feeling and makes it a central part of the setting.

Funny thing is, all three mentioned above are heavily atmospheric, disturbing masterpieces in their genres if you ask me, but each feels very different. Roadside Picnic was in some ways the more conventional and “western” if you ask me, which was a surprise. It’s even set in some vaguely (maybe) Canadian town.


#20

Barnes and Noble. I am a nook fan as they are not locked down and it uses .epub. I picked up the cheap nook with birfday funds.
Not sure why you are not seeing a Kindle listing as @jlw’s link shows one for me.

And just over half done now. It is quite interesting so far.


#21

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