Roadside Picnic / Tale of the Troika
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Roadside Picnic / Tale of the Troika

4.31 of 5 stars 4.31  ·  rating details  ·  320 ratings  ·  23 reviews
Red Schuhart is a stalker, one of those strange misfits compelled to venture illegally into the Zone and collect the strange artefacts that the alien visitors left scattered there. His whole life, even the nature of his daughter, is determined by the Zone.

Tale of the Troika is a sequel to Monday Begins on Saturday and a satire on Soviet bureaucrazy.
Hardcover, 245 pages
Published May 1977 by Macmillan Publishing Co. (first published 1977)
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'Tale of the Troika' was a slow and boring read, and I only trudged through it because I felt as if somehow, it would drag its heavy corpse up out of the ditch it was wallowing in and rejoin the rest of us here on dry land. Sadly, it did not.

'Roadside Picnic' is a fantastic tale centering on the concept of humanity. Not a single character in this work of fiction is immune from the examination. The setting, dialogue, and environment within which this inspection takes place is like a wonderful fro...more
Roadside Picnic is an excellent tale depicting the effects on one village after the “leftovers” from an alien visit are discovered. For the most part, life continues as normal, with all the greed, bureaucracy, and petty attempts at survival one wouldn’t expect from such a cataclysmic event. The excellent film Stalker by Andrei Tarkovsky was based on this novella, though the two share little in common other than the same setting. Both are equally good in my opinion, and the story Roadside Picnic...more
Although this book contains both Roadside Picnic and Tale of the Troika, this review is only of the latter, shorter story.

Roadside Picnic isn’t really worth reading. If you’re curious about my review of that one, see here.

Think of Tale of the Troika as kind of a twisted Lewis Carroll-esque fantasy of the Soviet bureaucracy, but not nearly as good as Lewis Carroll would have done.

Luckily it is short, because it is hit and miss, with the emphasis on miss. Still, there are some delightful sections...more
Disclaimer: I read a different edition, so all of this review is just about Tale of the Troika.

Tale of the Troika, in my opinion, was even better than Monday Begins on Saturday (which I also adore). I read it pretty much in two days. It is more concise and more linear in its storytelling; the world is more coherent, and the entire story line is freaking hilarious, with a whole crew of lovable characters. I don't know how well it would translate for readers not from an ex-Soviet country, although...more
☀ Jo Ann ❀
Roadside Picnic 3 Stars, an 'Okay' story I thought it was going to have a dated feel to it, but surprisingly it didn't. I wasn't real happy with the ending though, big build up then left me hanging. I really wanted to know what that golden ball was all about.

Tale of the Troika I gave up on 20 pages in. It seemed somewhat Alice in Wonderland-ish, just not my cup of tea.

Russian science-fiction may not not be my thing.
Este libro me lo recomendo una persona en el trabajo. La verdad que por lo que me conto, valia la pena conseguirlo. Paso el tiempo y de casualidad lo encontre y lo compre. Cuando empece a leerlo, no sabia que me iba a embarcar en una lectura tan buena.
Basicamente el libro tiene dos partes: "Picnic Extraterrestre" y "Leyendas de la Troika"

Picnic Extraterrestre se desarrolla en una ciudad que "supuestamente" fue visitada por aliens, dejando la ciudad repleta de anomalias y objectos "humanos con c...more
Mar 04, 2013 David added it
Shelves: science-fiction
The book worked well enough for me - considering it's a no-answers, watch-humans-stumble-in-the-dark kind of SF book. Premise: There was an event which caused several locations on Earth to be littered / infected by alien tech. All of it is mysteriously beyond human understanding and some of it is hazardous (at least to ignorant humans). The UN & scientists are investigating the areas to learn what they can. Meanwhile, some individuals sneak into the zones in hopes of selling alien artifacts...more
Ryan Zimmerman Carstairs
Roadside Picnic – A very good story, and a great idea – I just felt it was a bit meandering and the ending left me unfulfilled (though I did like that he was willing to do horrible things for his family – I feel the same way).

Tale of the Troika – A wickedly clever satire, though again I think its a bit meandering and overlong.
I wanted to give this book a real chance as i've tried reading other soviet sci fi (solaris) in the past and have been disappointed. I just might not be the right audience, or maybe lumping a whole group of authors by their (former) nationality is just not a good thing? Regardless, I am glad I did read it but was not sure what all the big deal was about.

The characters were made real, which was a bit refreshing, however I did not find myself liking the main 'protagonist' Red nor any of his buddi...more
I've heard about this story for years. I knew Tarkovsky's Stalker was loosely based on this book, and a few days ago a friend comes in and gives me a copy (to give to my co-worker, but instead of doing that, I read it for myself). So I'm working two jobs, have a guest in town, and am supposed to be dealing with all kinds of other crap, but all I did with all my available free time was read "Roadside Picnic." It's a fast, smart sci-fi story, and I might come back in a month and boost it up to the...more
Juliette Page
Five stars for roadside picnic
Picnic Extraterrestre es una obra clásica de literatura de ciencia ficción ya que a partir de este relato comenzó todo el movimiento de drama post-apocalíptica. El mismo relato resultó en el guión de la aclamada película de Andréi Tarkovski "Stalker" (

Cabe mencionar que el texto original está lleno de modismos y jerga particular de una región de Rusia así que todos los esfuerzos de los traductores para traspasar las barreras de idiomas, en mi opinión, no resu...more
Hard to define this one. In part I think because reading russian sci-fi it's somehow tinged, like much of russian lit, with pieces of the russion soul (yes, I know, broad generalization.) While I appreciate the story and recognize the skill that went into it's crafting, I'm pretty sure I don't completely understand all the darkness and references that seem to permeate the story.

So, well written, interesting, believable concept. The story did suck me in, but in the end I'm kind of left going 'huh...more
Two stories in one binding. Possibly a novelette and a short story? Roadside Picnic is a bit famous. It is the source for the classic Russian scifi movie Stalker (which I haven't seen yet). This is a fascinating story about life among the leftovers resulting from an brief alien visitation. The other story is a type of fantasy or speculation about out of control bureaucracy. It is entertaining in a similar way as Douglas Adams.
Casey Hampton
I was really excited to read this! Usually I very much enjoy old science fiction stories. But reading this was like being upside-down on a latter and still trying to climb up. I loved the ideas in themselves but the writing was an effort to work through. The noir of dialogue and tone of how people speak was a lot of fun though. The ending of "Roadside Picnic" is a good ending to that tale.
I read Roadside Picnic, years and years after TI recommended it to me. Great, but hard to say why exactly. The central character is pretty compelling. I will read more of their stuff.
Apr 01, 2010 Claire rated it 1 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2010
I have to admit, I'd much rather watch the Tarkovsky film based on this novel ("Stalker"; it's really excellent).
Brendan Howard
Apr 17, 2012 Brendan Howard rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of foreign science fiction, alien visitation tales, dark science fiction
The first novella is SO GOOD. I'm completely intrigued by Russian science-fiction now and will explore more.
Evert Eliasson
Only Tale of the Troika
Really good.
Aloisa Alice
Aloisa Alice marked it as to-read
Sep 09, 2014
Douglas Andreocci
Douglas Andreocci marked it as to-read
Sep 09, 2014
Matt Quirion
Matt Quirion marked it as to-read
Sep 03, 2014
Kelly marked it as to-read
Aug 29, 2014
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The brothers Arkady (Russian: Аркадий; August 28, 1925 – October 12, 1991) and Boris (Russian: Борис; April 14, 1933 – November 19, 2012) Strugatsky (Russian: Стругацкий; alternate spellings: Strugatskiy, Strugatski, Strugatskii) were Soviet-Russian science fiction authors who collaborated on their fiction.
More about Arkady Strugatsky...
Roadside Picnic Понедельник начинается в субботу Hard to be a God Обитаемый остров Град обреченный

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