Questions tagged [strugatsky-brothers]

For questions about the works of the Soviet writers Arkady and Boris Strugatsky or their lives as writers. Their most famous works include "Hard to Be a God", "Roadside Picnic", "Monday Begins on Saturday", and the Noon Universe cycle. Questions about their works should also be tagged with [russian-literature] along with the work in question.

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What was the point of the job-switching lottery?

One peculiar thing about the City (in the first two parts of the novel, at least) is that everyone must switch their jobs every once in a while, the job being chosen by a machine based in the person's ...
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10 votes
2 answers
119 views

What ticked off Soviet bosses about "Inhabited Island"?

Нет, конечно. Насколько я помню, мы ничего об этом Супермене и не знали тогда. Я уже писал, что Максим был нашим ответом начальству: не хотите серьезной литературы? Пожалуйста! Вот вам залипуха о ...
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5 votes
0 answers
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Indeed, why doesn't the City have any great artists?

The city is an interesting place - an ensemble of people from all around the world, and even from different times (though the 20th century seems to be prevalent). Their occupations, genders, beliefs, ...
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4 votes
0 answers
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What is the symbolism of the statues and the meeting at the Pantheon in "The Doomed City"?

In part 5 of Strugastkys' The Doomed City, when Andrei and his group find the central square, there are countless empty places where statues used to be, and all of them have strange writings. Later ...
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6 votes
1 answer
110 views

What was the Red Building, the chess game, and who was the chess genius?

In The Doomed City ("Град обреченный"), when Andrei finally (spoilers, kind of) finds the Red Building and enters it, he sees a surreal host of people expecting him to a game of chess with some ...
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3 votes
0 answers
78 views

What explains Maxim Kammerer's superhuman physical condition in "Prisoners of Power" (aka "The Inhabited Island")?

Throughout the novel, Maxim is shown to have an almost superhuman physical condition, easily performing unthinkable feats, which include, but aren't limited to Being able to run for a very long time ...
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5 votes
1 answer
223 views

Who came to Rumata's house at the end, and why?

At the very end of Hard to Be a God, a group of men arrive at Rumata's house and sending Don Rumata into a blind and murderous rage. But who were they, who sent them, and why did they come in the ...
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9 votes
1 answer
268 views

In "Hard to Be a God", are "Sergei Kozhin", "George Lenny", "Sabine Kruger" real historical references?

The main character's internal monolog at one point reads: You just want to kill. Yes, I do. And are you capable of it? ... the only thing I regret is killing her in vain. So they've almost ...
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8 votes
0 answers
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How culturally mixed were the Earth ambassadors in Hard to Be a God?

Anton, aka "Don Rumata of Estor", is Russian. Pashka, aka "Don Hug, first groom of the chamber of his lordship the Duke of Irukan", is Russian. Alexander Vassilevitch, aka "Don Kondor, Supreme Judge ...
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8 votes
3 answers
423 views

Should this word in Hard to Be a God be translated as "arbalest" or "crossbow"?

In this answer edit, someone changed my translation of a word "арбалет" as used in Strugatsky's Russian text of Hard to be a God from the one I used ("arbalest") to "crossbow". In the context of ...
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10 votes
1 answer
214 views

What word was used for "anisotropic" in the original Russian text of "Hard to Be a God"?

In the beginning of Hard to Be a God, there is the matter of the skeleton chained to a machine gun. "An anisotropic road," Anton explained. Anka stood with her back to him. "Traffic can move only ...
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10 votes
1 answer
216 views

Are any of the countries in Hard to Be a God based specifically on particular real-life countries?

Arkanar, Irukan, Soan, ... there are several countries mentioned and given at least some description and fleshing out in the book. Are any of these intended to be direct parallels of specific real-...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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8 votes
3 answers
219 views

What does Father Gur mean by "And then you'll be given back!"?

During the dinner at the king's palace, Rumata has a conversation with Father Gur, the poet. Rumata offers him a copy of the poets work, in exchange for a promise to write something new: “Very well ...
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4 votes
0 answers
139 views

Please help identify a fanfic-y apocryphal story based on Noon Universe

I've been trying to find this one for several years but somehow Google-fu was weak. Pretty old - I think I read it in early/mid 90s. Internet-published. Apocryphal mishmash of entire Noon universe ...
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8 votes
1 answer
268 views

Does the text support the theory that Arata the Hunchback killed this character?

The obvious implication from the text of Hard to Be a God is that at the very least, Anton blames Don Reba and that triggers his meltdown. (this gets more obvious in the play based on the book). ...
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7 votes
1 answer
129 views

Given Anton's attitudes expressed to Budakh, why did Earth start Progressors?

In conversation with Doctor Budakh - and later Arata, Rumata (Anton) basically states the Earth's - and his personal - party line about non-interference with foreign cultures: — Что ж, — сказал он, ...
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6 votes
1 answer
89 views

How does Earth manage to get so many highly placed agents?

It seems that Earth has very little trouble placing its people into extremely high positions all over in a variety of countries and societies, despite not having mind control technology - or for that ...
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8 votes
1 answer
286 views

What parallels can be drawn between Don Reba and Beria?

From the afterword of Hard to be a God: On the advice of I. A. Efremov, we renamed the Minister of the Defense of the Crown Don Reba (he had previously been Don Rebia—an overly simple anagram, in the ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
447 views

Why doesn't Anka like to be called Anetchka?

From the prologue of Hard to Be a God: "You know, Anetchka--" said Pashka. "Don't you call me Anetchka," Anka cut in abruptly. She could not stand to be called by any other name than Anka. Now I ...
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10 votes
1 answer
179 views

What details does the "Without Weapons" / "A Man from a Distant Star" stage play add to the lore of "Hard to be a God"?

It appears that Strugatsky brothers have written a stage adaptation of Hard to be a God, named Without Weapons or A Man from a Distant Star. Wikipedia claims that the play "reveals previously unknown ...
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12 votes
1 answer
226 views

How do they decide who to save/bring to Earth in Hard to Be a God?

In Hard to Be a God, the main character (Anton/Rumanta) falls in love with Kira and decides to take her with him back to Earth. Since their task is to be as undercover as possible, it’s obvious that ...
Swizzler's user avatar
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16 votes
3 answers
721 views

What is the significance of the anisotropic highway and the skeleton of a fascist chained to a machine gun?

In the beginning of Arkady and Boris Strugatsky's novel Hard to Be a God, the protagonist, Anton, goes down a country road, disobeying a "wrong way" sign, and finds a skeleton of a fascist chained to ...
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11 votes
1 answer
240 views

Did the Strugatsky brothers ever comment on "predicting" the Kasparov-Karpov World Chess rivalry?

In the foundational novel of their Noon universe, Noon, XXII century (Полдень, XXII век), published in 1961, the Strugatsky brothers "predicted" the notorious Kasparov-Karpov World Chess ...
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19 votes
1 answer
273 views

How did the Strugatsky Brothers' experience with Soviet literary publishing censorship reflect on their books?

It's well known that the Strugatsky brothers were affected by the censors overseeing the publishing of their work. How did those experiences reflect in their books? The question is about the ...
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