Boris and Arkady Strugatsky

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Boris and Arkady Strugatsky

The two brothers Arkady (Арка́дий, August 28, 1925October 12, 1991) and Boris (Бори́с, born April 14, 1933) Strugatsky (Струга́цкий; alternate spelling: Strugatski) are Russian science fiction authors who collaborated on their fiction.

Contents

Life and work

The Strugatsky brothers (Бра́тья Струга́цкие), as they are usually called, became the best-known Soviet science fiction writers with a well developed fan base. Their early work was influenced by Ivan Yefremov. Their most famous novel Piknik na obochine has been translated into English as Roadside Picnic in 1977 and was filmed by Andrei Tarkovsky under the title Stalker.

Several other works have been translated into English, but did not receive even a fraction of the critical acclaim of Russian audiences. This can be attributed primarily due to failings that inevitably arise when an attempt is made to translate colloquial Russian into a language that does not very well support its grammatical structure; the second reason is that a basic understanding of the rigid mindset promoted by the Stalinist regime is an absolute prerequisite to being able to see the contrast and rejection of uniformity that is evident in every one of the Strugatskys' works. Finally, much of the humor of works such as Monday Begins on Saturday comes from hundreds of years' worth of cultural and literary allusions.

It should be noted, however, that the Strugatsky brothers were and still are popular in many countries, including Poland and Germany, where most of their works were available in both East and West Germany.

The brothers were Guests of Honour at the 1987 World Science Fiction Convention, held in Brighton, England.

Noon Universe

Several of the books written by the Strugatskys take part in the same universe, unofficially known as the Wanderers universe (Russian: мир Странников, English transliteration: mir Strannikov) or The World of Noon (Russian: Мир Полдня, English transliteration: Mir Poldnya), which is another, perhaps better known, name for the fictional universe serving as a base for many of Strugatskys' texts. The name is due to the title of one of their texts, Полдень, XXII век (English transliteration: Polden', XXII vek; literal translation: Noon, XXII century), which relates several stories from the universe in question, while providing the background "feel" for its style of life. Among the main characteristics of Noon Universe are a very high level of social, scientific, and technological development, high creativity of the general population, and very significant increase in the level of societal maturity compared to either the modern world, or any of those known to exist. For instance, this world knows no monetary stimulation (indeed, money does not exist), yet every person is engaged in a profession that interests him or her. The Earth of Noon Universe is a governed by a global technocratic council composed of the world's leading scientists, philosophers.

One of the important story arcs of those books is how the advanced human civilisation covertly steers the development of those considered less advanced. Agents of humans are known as Progressors. At the same time, some humans suspect that a very advanced spacefaring race called Wanderers exists and is 'progressing' humanity itself.

The idea of Progressors is similar to the idea of Special Circumstances organisation in The Culture set of novel by Iain M. Banks.

Not all of Strugatsky's stories occur in the World of Noon; few (most notably Понедельник начинается в субботу (Ponedel'nik nachinaetsya v subbotu / Monday Begins on Saturday) and its continuation, Сказка о Тройке (Skazka o Troyke / The Tale of the Troika)) take place in the Soviet times, presumably those (or close to those) during which they were written, and some occur in unspecified realms.

Tributes

Several writers have to a varying degree paid their tribute to the works of Strugatsky brothers.

Sergey Lukyanenko in his dylogy The Stars Are Cold Toys has the main character visit a world that is in many aspects strikingly similar to Earth from Noon Universe but in truth is revealed to be fundamentally different and oppressive.

Kir Bulychev used an alien race called "Wanderers" (Странники) in one of his Alice, Girl from the Future stories. They share many attributes with the Wanderers from Noon Universe including a near-mystical reputation, comparatively high levels of technology and zealous tendency to preserve their secrets. Unlike Strugatsky's Wanderers, who let the world believe that they vanished centuries ago, Buluchyov's Wanderers appear to be truly extinct. They never appeared in any of Kir Buluchyov's other books.

In late 1990s, a three-volume collection of fiction by notable contemporary Russian sci-fi authors, titled The Time of the Apprentices (Время учеников), was published with an endorsement of Boris Strugatsky. Each piece in the collection was a sequel to one of Strugatskys' books.

Selected bibliography

See also

External links

cs:Arkadij a Boris Strugačtí de:Arkadi und Boris Strugazki eo:Arkadij kaj Boris STRUGACKIJ fr:Arcadi et Boris Strougatski ja:ストルガツキー兄弟 pl:Arkadij i Borys Strugaccy ru:Стругацкие, Аркадий и Борис sl:Arkadij in Boris Strugacki

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