By: Arkady and Boris Strugatsky
What if we finally got visited by aliens but the most important event in or history was simply an intergalactic roadside picnic for the aliens? They don’t even bother with us ants. They just pull over have some fun for a couple of hours and leave a mess behind…
That was the main concept behind Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky. I have been looking to expand my reading with more translated novels and this one sounded right up my alley!
The book mainly follows Red who is a Stalker- someone who goes against prohibitions into the zones where these aliens had their picnic to remove and sell on the black market the “trash” they left behind.
I definitely got some Annihilation vibes from this book. Despite the years that pass the humans don’t understand and are only beginning to crack the purpose of some of the objects. Because they weren’t left for us in the first place. On top of that the landscape is changing and children of the stalkers, as well as others, are being born with drastic changes to their DNA.
Overall I really liked the book. I think it’s a good one to start with in terms of translations it’s pretty straight-forward and easy. (I listened to their book Monday Begins on Saturday last year and found it confusing. But I think it was supposed to be a bit confusing.)
I do think if you want concrete answers and things you may not like this one but I found it actually realistic in terms that we would probably just be spectators to this event searching for deeper meaning. Because God knows humanity wouldn’t ever believe it was pointless in the grander scheme of things.
And while it’s very much Red trying to survive the scenes in the zone are creepy fun. Like I said very Annihilation if you’ve ever read the book or seen that movie.
There is a classic film based on the book Stalker which I plan to watch if I ever get out of this movie slump. Hell there’s even a book about the filming of the movie. So in the end Roadside Picnic is an interesting premise and like the zones themselves quite a rabbit hole to travel down.