Arkady & Boris Strugatsky: One Billion Years to the End of the World

December 28, 2020

   Soviet science fiction has been quite hard to come by, in my experience, largely because little of it was translated. Apart from the astonishing Andromeda by Ivan Yefremov, the only other writers I know are the Strugatsky brothers, Arkady and Boris. I’ve read quite a few of their novels, and they are seriously weird. But this one took me right back to the warped-ness of the druggiest of Philip Dick’s novels…

A group of scientists who are friends or colleagues, are researching in various abstruse fields, and experience a series of bizarre and inexplicable events, which they attempt to make sense of; someone or something is warping their sense of reality, and it seems to be that the universe is defending itself against a species – human beings – who are in danger of becoming too clever for their own good, and whose findings may eventually threaten the stability of the universe at some future point. So they need to be put off, discouraged.

The universe attempts to convince them they are insane; it attempts to frighten them into giving up their research, and apparently succeed in the case of all but one of them, who remains determined. We have, after all, a billion years before the universe runs out of time, in which to continue to try and outwit whatever is blocking us…

At least, I think that’s what it was all about. A good read, a relatively quick read, certainly a thought-provoking and rather unnerving one!

7 Responses to “Arkady & Boris Strugatsky: One Billion Years to the End of the World”

  1. Joachim Boaz Says:

    Actually quite a lot has been translated from a range of authors — even back in the 70s! While they are not all the cheapest to track down (some a few dollars while others are 50+), this Theodore Sturgeon edited sequence (1977-1984) is highly recommended. Bibliography: http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pubseries.cgi?1107

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    • litgaz Says:

      Thank you for that! It turns out that that is the series where I encountered most of the Soviet SF I’ve come across. But I didn’t know just how many books there were in it, so probably another couple of books at least to add to the ‘to read’ list….

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Joachim Boaz Says:

    I dunno if you know about the website SF in Translation run by my friend Rachel Cordasco? She has compiled gigantic lists of translated SF by language (right side of the site). Check it out! https://www.sfintranslation.com/

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  3. […] Arkady & Boris Strugatsky: One Billion Years to the End of the World […]

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