New York: MacMillan, 1977.
First Edition. Hardcover. Strugatsky, Arkady and Boris (authors), Theodore Sturgeon (introduction). ROADSIDE PICNIC / TALE OF THE TROIKA. New York: Macmillan, 1977. First Edition in English. First American Edition. 8vo., 245pp. Quarter maroon cloth over blue paper covered boards, stamped silver at the spine. A very fine, fresh example in a very fine bright dustwrapper. A brilliant example of the book which served as the basis for Andrei Tarkovsky's masterful 1979 film, "Stalker," for which the Strugatskys co-wrote the screenplay. Rarely seen in any condition, this is a rare collectible copy. Certainly the most important of Soviet science-fiction writers are the brothers Strugatsky [Arkady and Boris] whose popularity extends throughout Europe & America. Their cannon of works illuminates the S-F world & their highlight is Roadside Picnic / Tale of the Troika translated masterfully by Antonina W. Bouis [Russian: Piknik na obochine]. The preface to the first English & First American edition was written by Theodore Sturgeon. ". . . The Strugatskys posit that the Earth experiences a brief visit from extraterrestrials, who leave behind them - well, call it litter, such as might be left by you and me (in one of our less socially conscious moments) after a roadside picnic. The nature of these discards, products of an utterly alien technology, defies most earthly logic, to say nothing of earthly analytical science, and their potential is limitless. Warp these potentials into all-too-human goals - the quest for pure knowledge for its own sake, the search for new devices, new techniques, to achieve new heights in human well-being; the striving for profit, with its associated competitiveness; and the ravenous thirst for new and more terrible weapons - and you have the framework of this amazing short novel. Add the Strugatskys' deft and supple handling of loyalty and greed, of friendship and love, of despair and frustration and loneliness, and you have a truly superb tale, ending most poignantly in what can only be called a blessing. You won't forget it. Tale of a Troika is a very different thing indeed--so different that it might have been written by quite different authors - which is the highest possible tribute to the authors' versatility. How much you like it will depend on your taste for satire and lampoon. It is, in nature, reminiscent of Lem's Memoirs Found in a Bathtub, with (and here I confess to a highly subjective evaluation) one important difference: Lem's approach and style are, in comparison, unleavened, no matter how deeply he plunges into the surrealistic and the absurd. The cumulative effect is Kafkaesque horror. The Strugatsky fury - and it is fury: disgust with hypocrisy, with bureaucratic bumbling, with self-serving, self-saving distortions of logic and of truth and of initially decent human motivations - their fury is laced with laughter, rich with scorn, effervescent with the comic spirit. One has to search back to Alice's tea party to find a scene as mad as the chamber of the Troika; yet, in retrospect, one realizes that one has experienced a profoundly serious work, since every bent line illuminates a straight one, all illogic signifies the purity from which it has departed. A word of appreciation must be extended to Ms. Antonina W. Bouis, the translator of these short novels. Russian I do not know; fiction I do; and I must honor anyone who can so deftly pass emotion, character dimension, even conversational idiom, through so formidable a barrier". - Theodore Sturgeon, San Diego, California 1976. The story was written by the Strugatsky brothers in 1971 (the first outlines written January 18 - 27, 1971 in Leningrad, with the final version completed between October 28 & November 3, 1971 in Komarovo . It was first published in the Avrora literary magazine in 1972, issues 7 - 10. Parts of it were published in the Library of Modern Science Fiction book series, vol. 25, 1973. It was also printed in the newspaper Youth of Estonia in 1977 -1978. More.
Item #32168 Price: US$2,750.00