15

Apparently, this was a coincidence Googling took me to LiveJournal, where someone was wondering about the same thing. According to the guy over there, Karpov was only 11 when the book was originally written, and Kasparov wasn't even born - not to mention that his surname when born was Weinstein. Finally, some Word of God from an interview with Комсомольская ...


10

We don't know whether it was an arbalest or a crossbow. To quote (for the lack of a better source) Wikipedia: A large weapon, the arbalest had a steel prod ("bow"). Emphasis mine Taking that as the trait that distinguishes an arbalest from a crossbow, we... gain nothing. There is no mention of arbalests in the original Russian version, and ...


10

The original Russian version does not use any made-up or composite word for "anisotropic". "Anisotropic" is a real world present in English language; it is used in science, as well as technology. Britannica defines it as following: Anisotropy, in physics, the quality of exhibiting properties with different values when measured along axes in different ...


9

Not really, unless you're willing to allow a lot of stretches and assumptions. We could scrape a motivation for Arata to have ordered the abduction. Firstly, it could be argued he had the motive: he has asked Rumata multiple times for "lightnings", to crush the oppressors of common folk. Rumata always refused, justifying the refusal by the very ...


9

They don't bring anyone to Earth. The persons of interest - scientists, astronomers, medics, artisans, poets, you name it - are not sent to Earth. They are re-routed to kingdoms that value their respective fields more that Arkanar (which is pretty much any kingdom out there). Bagheer of Kissen, accused of lunacy bordering on treason, had been thrown in a ...


8

SPOILERS AHEAD! This answer may contain spoilers including hints to the major plot points of the book; sprinkled all over. References: all Beria facts below are basically from Russian Beria Wiki page unless otherwise stated. First, political parallels. Don Reba's role in the state. His role in the book was described by many as "the grey cardinal" - ...


8

All three of them are trying to seem more grown up than they really are. Running from their boarding school? With crossbows blazing? That doesn't sound like trying to be more grown up than they really are at all. We don't know how old they are at this time, but I'll make an educated guess and say 12-16 years old, the right time when running away towards ...


8

First of all, as is usual with user-generated content, Wikipedia has glaring errors here. Here's what English Wikipedia page that caused you to ask the question says: Without Weapons (Без оружия, Bez oruzhia) also known as A Man from a Distant Star (Человек с далёкой звезды, Chelovek s dalyokoy zvezdy) was a play created by the Strugatsky brothers ...


8

The subsequent text pretty clearly provides the context; and it's the one you suggested ("after they kill me for possessing it") — Напугал... Вам приходилось когда-нибудь жечь собственных детей? Что вы знаете о страхе, благородный дон!.. ... Гур Сочинитель вдруг принялся шептать так тихо, что Румата едва слышал его сквозь чавканье и гул голосов: — А ...


7

I think, in the context of the novel, those are the names of the operatives who were previously named "sprinters", i.e. people who could not simply stand and watch the barbarian actions of the population, and decided to act themselves in accordance with their understanding of right and wrong. They're first mentioned by Don Condor: “Because ...


7

Original Authorial intent: "Three Musketeer"-ish pre-Age-of-Discovery kinda-Spain-cum-Russia-or-France (sans muskets). Based on Boris Strugatsky's "Commentaries to the past" (which comments on most of their works in great detail), quoting the original 1963 letter from Arkady Strugatsky where the idea of the book was discussed: «...Существует где-то ...


7

I interpreted the scene with the highway and the skeleton as a subtle bit of foreshadowing. It'll take some inference to get there, so bear with me if you will. The highway is the progress of history Pavel says as much in the given quote: "The highway was anisotropic, like history. You weren’t supposed to go back." However, going back through history is ...


6

In the context of the Soviet Union, which is where the book was written and where the framing story is presumably taking place, a “fascist” is someone from the Axis, an enemy in a war that had an especially heavy toll count. A “fascist” is also an ideological enemy, someone who opposes communism. I don't remember the text explicitly specifying that the ...


4

While it is hard to say what they wanted to say (even my commented edition does not have any special remarks on it), I would interpret it as a contraception part of the character in “The Experiment”, Fritz Geiger who was a Nazi by hearth. Chained to the machine gun I would interpret as that he was forced to fight, no matter whether he stood behind the ...


4

This subject is covered in most detail in the book "Limping Fate". Unfortunately, there is no English translation yet. This book is written in a form of two interleaved novels (not unlike Master and Margarita). The first novel, sometimes published separately under the same name, describes a few days in life of a Soviet writer. The second, also ...


4

I would say this depends on the particular agent we're talking about. For some, I admit, being placed might be very difficult (see Don Condor), but for others solutions may be trivial. Bribery Earthlings are ridiculously rich, due to Philosopher's stone their "synthesisers". This infernal machine appears to be able to produce gold of very high purity ...


3

Arbalest IS a type of crossbow with steel "bow". Wiki article for "арбалет" in English it is translated as "crossbow" - it seems that Russian language uses the name of specific type of crossbow as a general one. Same goes with dictionaries: Reverso Dict Academist translates as either "arbalest" or "crossbow" Multitran does as above Since there is no word ...


3

In Russian text the word used is "вернуть" (to return) which in this context I have always understood to be intentional wordplay to the Russian ввернуть - which means among other things "to screw in" (eg a corkscrew into a cork). In part because in the book earlier there are several references to using screws and screwing motions and implements for torture. ...


3

I've found a fragment of interview with Boris Strugatsky (in Polish) The relevant fragment: Our shallow look at the progressors and their ideas have been replaced with something deeper [...].Humanity, after reaching the level have to become progressors becauses there always will be people who can't live happy knowing that somewhere blood is being spilled ...


3

I don't think anybody can have a definite answer here. My understanding is that the same Mak Sim portrayed by someone else (say Adamov of the previous generation, or Kazantzev, or even Efremov) would go unnoticed by both начальство and the audience alike. Начальство was irritated by the authors much more than by a character. Recall how popular were they, ...


3

Disclaimer: such questions are practically impossible to answer. Anyway, What is the Red Building? What does it represent? As Katzman put it, the Red Building is a delirium of an agitated shame. I am not sure I translate it correctly; Russian совесть is very hard to translate. It refers to our ability to tell right from wrong, and particularly to an ...


3

They were Reba's men. Spoilers will follow. This is the authorial intent, and this is what is implied in the novel. Boris Strugatsky acknowledged this explanation in an off-line interview: Насколько я помню, дон Рэба имел целью захватить в плен Киру, дабы потом использовать ее как орудие шантажа. Замысел не удался, главным образом, из-за отвратительно ...


1

Yes, I'd say this is a part of the Experiment. No, I can't say it's directly related to the real situation in the USSR*; but there was a general attitude then (not only in the USSR) that things will/should be more rationalised in the future. What can be more rational than a machine assigning you jobs, taking into account all your traits and 'actual' needs? ...


1

If I recall correctly, Erik Simon wrote in the afterword of his german translation that the novel was deemed too political, especially the criticism of nationalism and mass media. The publishing house of the Komsomol was one of the few venues that would touch SF, the Strugatskies decided to write a story about a Komsomol in space. It's possible the censors ...


1

As a native English speaker I find the word arbalest archaic, at best. Crossbow, or huge battle crossbow, conveys to me the original meaning of the phrase огромный боевой арбалет clearly and succinctly. Admittedly, I have not read Трудно быть богом, in English or Russian. However, the only possible excuse I could think of to use arbalest would be to convey ...


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