Being Russian, surprisingly, I’ve never read anything by brothers Strugatsky before. My husband finished it earlier this year and suggested I give it a try as someone who likes Sci-Fi. I finally had it in my hands a few weeks ago. Looking forward to the atmospheric world of the “Roadside Picnic” I dove in.
Aliens dropped by Earth for a picnic. They stayed for a few days and then they left leaving behind six zones scattered around the globe. The law of nature and physics doesn’t apply in zones – they are dangerous, inhabitable and full of foreign objects. It is prohibited to enter the zone without a special permission or research purpose.
The book follows a story of Redrick – a Stalker who sneaks in to the zone illegally to collect the artifacts left by the aliens in order to sell them on the black market. There is a believe that a Golden Ball is present in the zone and that it can fulfill any wish. Redrick finally finds the Golden Ball but what can he ask for?
I absolutely loved this book. Vivid writing style made it an enjoyable experience imagining the world authors wanted to depict. I also liked the irony and satire of it. It is considered to be one of the darkest novels by Strugatsky. However, I found light and hope in it. I thought that the main characters were well developed and that the storytelling was fluid. I finished the book a few weeks ago but I am still hunted by it. This masterpiece touches people in different ways according to the numerous reviews I’ve seen. A must read for all the Sci-Fi lovers.