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Qué difícil es ser dios

(The Noon Universe #4)

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  9,082 ratings  ·  460 reviews
Don Rumata de Estor es un aristócrata con una posición de privilegio en la corte de Arkanar, un prohombre cuya compañía es tan codiciada como su alcoba y de quien se cuentan hazañas milagrosas. Pero mientras que se desenvuelve con soltura entre duelos e intrigas palaciegas, se siente impotente a la hora de entender los mecanismos de represión que embrutecen el reino. Y su ...more
Paperback, Commemorativa Día del Libro 2011, 191 pages
Published April 2011 by Gigamesh (first published 1964)
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Maria White Just finished reading this novel in the original. 'Haberdashers' regiment has no relation to Halberdiers whatsoever; it is simply a regiment…moreJust finished reading this novel in the original. 'Haberdashers' regiment has no relation to Halberdiers whatsoever; it is simply a regiment consisting of literally those in the business of haberdashery, no more no less. It certainly doesn't feel like any other connotation is implied here.(less)
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Average rating 4.20  · 
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Evgeny
Sep 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
Review is completely rewritten on December 28, 2018. Reasons are given below.

A group read with Elena and Sarah.

Strugatsky brothers have cult following on the territory of the former Soviet Union. How big is the cult? Let me just say that you could not call yourself an intelligent person (especially during your college studies) if you were not familiar with their works. Hard to Be a God is their first book among really great ones, of the type that made them an unofficial required reading.
Required read

The
...more
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
A Smelly Medieval Times Are Smelly Buddy Read with Evgeny and Elena

Actual rating: 4.5 stars

So. Take some undercover operatives/historians from a future Shangri-La-type, advanced civilization. Send them to observe and study a planet that resembles Earth in the Super Fun Middle Ages (SFMA). Strictly forbid them to interfere with the delightfully boorish puny locals’ puny affairs, regardless of how desperate/bad/fished up/morally reprehensible/choose all that apply the situation is. What do you
...more
Richard Derus
Oct 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 4* of five

The Publisher Says: Don Rumata has been sent from Earth to the medieval kingdom of Arkanar with instructions to observe and to save what he can. Masquerading as an arrogant nobleman, a dueler, and a brawler, he is never defeated, but yet he can never kill. With his doubt and compassion, and his deep love for a local girl named Kira, Rumata wants to save the kingdom from the machinations of Don Reba, the first minister to the king. But given his orders, what role can he play?
...more
Becky
Feb 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fantasy, sci-fi, sociology, & history buffs
This is one of the best books ever! It's such a unique & nuanced look at the past human and social condition, yet so relevant to the present time for both. It tells the story of a human society on another planet that is circa the middle ages in development. A group of earthlings are monitoring this society covertly and it is through the eyes of one of the earth born humans that resides amongst this society that we get a good look into the mirror of the past and into the magnifying glass of ...more
Vit Babenco
Dec 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Different planet, different epoch, different consciousness, different psychology – how will observers or spies or watchmen from the future Earth succeed in their mission of controlling the alien history even if it resembles so much our own medieval period of dark ages.
“In the depths of the forest, a mile away from the road, beneath an enormous tree that had dried up of old age, stood a lopsided hut made out of enormous logs, surrounded by a blackened picket fence. It had been here since the
...more
Althea Ann
Jan 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating and important work. Published in 1964, I feel that it may have been an influence on, or at least a precursor to, many of my favorite books. I saw thematic similarities with some of Iain Banks’ Culture novels, especially Inversions, and Kage Baker’s Company series.
The story deals with a ‘deep’ agent from an advanced civilization, who is supposed to observe and record the feudal society he’s been planted in, without interfering. However, the society he’s working in is on the verge of a
...more
Dangermousie
Apr 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: perfect, scifi
It's intelligent, and philosophical, and it makes you angry, and it makes you think, and it makes you hope.

It involves a planet which is in a Medieval stage of development, so Earth sends in "on the ground" observers for study purposes, who are trained to blend in. The thing is, what to a researcher on Earth "interesting development, 200 people got killed in a routine feudal coup," to the person on the ground are his friends dying. Yet, they cannot interfere, shortcircuit the curse of history
...more
Nikki
Oct 11, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was fascinated by the sound of this when I came across it in the library, because I really liked Roadside Picnic, and because the foreword mentions parallels with Star Trek and Iain M. Banks’ Culture novels. However, I found this… pretty much unreadable. There’s a sort of opaqueness I associate with reading Russian novels in translations, but in spades. Supposedly, this translation is much more readable than the old one, which was done via German, but… if that’s the case, I hate to think what ...more
Milo
I have been delaying this review for a while now. I wanted to do the Strugatsky's justice but I just haven't been able to come up with anything intelligent or witty to relate to you in honor of their work. All I can say is read the book, you won't regret it.

The Story

It starts off very symbolically with some kids playing on a one way street; this mirrors evolution and history. All these things flow in one direction and travel along with their own unalterable velocities. Now lets suppose that
...more
David
I've waited a long time to read this book, due to its rarity and price, but it was thankfully recently republished and I had to get my hands on it, being such a fan of Soviet science-fiction and the Strugatsky brothers in particular (Roadside Picnic... So good).

This novel imagines that Earth achieved perfect Communism, and the Moscow Historical Society sends agents out to other worlds to guide the development of the human condition with a subtle invisible hand. The protagonist, Don Rumata, is
...more
[P]
Oct 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the things that makes alien contact attractive is the possibility of interacting with a species more advanced than our own. Outside of films, whenever we think of aliens we tend to see them as superior beings, with great knowledge to impart, more sophisticated technology, etc. In the Strugatsky’s Roadside Picnic the Russian brothers cleverly played on this idea, with the visitors being completely disinterested in human beings, suggesting, you might argue, a kind of haughtiness in their ...more
Stacey
Written by two Russian brothers in the mid-20th century in response to political pressure on art and artistic works under Khrushchev, Hard to be a God is about one man's struggle with the questions of how far to go to save others and live by his moral code, and if he can observe without interfering.

The main character in this novel, known mostly as Don Rumata, is a 'historian' who has been placed on a more primitive world to live in and observe the feudal culture that exists there. In kind of a
...more
Alex
Feb 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
To those who read *that crappy SCI-FI jazz* in quest to run away
From grim reality of life - I must, in truth, to say
This piece is not, my friends, at all your regular fantastic tale
It is much deeper, it was written to unveil
How cruel, ignorant, barbaric we still are - at large, as Human Race
How progress strides its winding roads in slow, painful pace

1. Memorable 5
2. Social Relevance 5
3. Informative 3
4. Originality 5
5. Thought Provoking 5
6. Expressiveness 4
7. Entertaining 5
8. Visualization 2
9.
...more
Rick Slane
Nov 18, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: bookworms

Somethings must have been lost in translation. Proper names and places evoked the wrong meanings for me so maybe it's my fault I didn't enjoy it more.

For example here's some of my poor rewrite: "Paul Anka won't drive his Tonka truck on the Forgotten Highway to Marshall Fields! Kia is a bookworm running away from Arkansas to Iraq," Red Skelton bellowed, as he passed the Ramada Inn.

"Don Imus never takes a bath and corporations are people too,"cursed Holy Moses. Welcome Wagon's people apologized to
...more
Manday
It is unfortunate this book is so hard to get a hold of, as I found it an excellent (albeit confusing) read. It tackles huge, universal themes - the nature of man kind, the course of history, the role of man in society, and many other things. I think it should be considered a classic.
Rob
Apr 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
....The Strugatsky brothers approach science fiction in a very different way than western authors would and that alone makes it a shame that many of their books are out of print. They make a case for more attention to translations if my opinion. There are many more ways to look at science fiction that what the English-speaking world has to offer. Hard To Be a God is, a book that hides a lot under the fast paced surface of the story. Roadside Picnic remains their best known work but I don't think ...more
Ogostos
Sep 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reread it recently, after some fifteen years, and my verdict is this book is truly a masterpiece
Bryan Alexander
What would it be like to live in a world far back on the historical track, when you have access to an advanced civilization's powers?

This is a classic science fiction question. It might be most famous from Star Trek's Prime Directive. Iain Banks explored it in at least one novel. It's present in many time travel narratives, when people explore the past.

In Hard to Be a God the Strugatsky brothers offer their take, and the result is a powerful novel.

It takes place on an Earthlike world peopled by
...more
wanderer (Para)
This book started well enough. The prose was quite good, with nice descriptions of scenery, the issues raised were interesting. We follow Rumata, an observer from future utopian Earth, sent to a medieval world with a couple others under a strict rule of non-interference (no killing, etc), but secretly trying to help speed up their development.

It’s fairly kitchen sink, some sci-fi tech, some medieval swashbuckling, bit of everything. The conflict arises when regime in Arkanar start killing
...more
Philipp
Oct 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was great - Don Rumata is a noble who lives in the upper strata of a medieval, knowledge hating society that tortures and murders its 'bookworms', mud is everywhere a


"What's this?" Rumata said in surprise. "You want us all to become monks?"
Father Kin clasped his hands and leaned forward. "Allow me to explan, noble don" he said fervently, licking his lips. "It's not about that at all! It's about the basic tenets of the new state. The tenets are simple, and there are only three of them: blind
...more
Alberto
Feb 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Strugatsky brothers produced a well written novel.
I've enjoyed what the main character feels and how he struggles to find a way to help the people around him but without trying to change the course of events in a world in which he's an alien, coming from a more socially and technologically advanced world.
It's indeed hard to be a god, in a world where most of the people enjoy drinking a lot and inflicting pain on others whose only fault is to be living in a kingdom that suppresses being
...more
Simon Hollway
Oh dear. Roadside Picnic is an astonishing novel - Hard to be a God is a shocking misfire. Maybe it was the new translation only just released - 2014 Bormashenko translation published by Chicago Review Press. As soon as I smacked up against the word 'ballyhooed', I knew I was in for a rocky ride. Actually, come to think of it, even the newly commissioned 'Foreword' to the book by Hari Kunzru read like a C-grade student essay...and I quote, 'this is no reactionary celebration of aristocratic ...more
Yzabel Ginsberg
I read this one for a book club discussion. I didn't like it much.

- Too full of pondering instead of being in the action, and as a result, the main character didn't appear so much like a "god who doesn't know whether he should intervene or not", than like a passive observer.

- The political commentary laid it a bit too tick to my tastes. It called for something more subtle.

- The female characters. Only two, and basically one is a wallflower who's obviously only here to get kidnapped or whatever,
...more
Andras Szalai
Anton is an Earth scientist (a historian) sent to a distant planet inhabited by humans that are still stuck in the Middle Ages (an _extremely_ dark version of the Middle Ages). His method is participant observation: posing as playboy nobleman Rumata, he involves himself in the political intrigue of the kingdom of Arkanar.

Anton-Rumata follows a watered down version of the Prime Directive: do not kill, do not interfere in the course of history.
(Well, not too much.) The latter rule comes directly
...more
Nemo

"Hard to Be a Good" of the Strugatsky brothers is a very interesting book and quite unusual to the reader who is used to the American-British science fiction.
This is due to the style in which it is written, the philosophical discussions, the irony and sophisticated sociopolitical criticism expounded in the book.
More surprising is the fact that this book was published in 1964 in the USSR.

This is first book of the Strugatsky brothers that I read.
A couple of years ago I read an English
...more
Charles Dee Mitchell
In an unspecified future, Earth has begun placing human observers on planets whose evolutionary and social development is much like its own. The observers find a place in the society and operate under the directive to kill no one and not to attempt to alter the course of the planet’s history. They wear a headband that broadcasts a continuous visual signal back to earth. They are also able to make an unlimited amount of gold tender and they keep on hand medicines that treat everything from fevers ...more
Daniel Polansky
A far-future communist functionary goes undercover on an alien planet closely resembling medieval Europe/your classic fantasy setting, taking the role of a Robin Hood/Cyrano type, with the caveat being he and his cohort can’t kill anyone or take any active role in advancing their new country from feudal barbarism into enlightenment. The Brothers had a real talent for writing legitimately entertaining genre stories which still manage to grapple with more substantial political and historical ...more
Kiwi Begs2Differ  ✎
As much as I loved Roadside picnic, I can’t get into this novel. I know it’s short but so is life, I decided to put this book aside. DNF at 30%.
Jim
Jul 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi, russia
This is the strangest of science fiction stories. Several Soviet Russians are transported to another planet where the population are supinely passive in the face of an almost universal tyranny. They are set up as noblemen who wear headbands that transmit what they see and experience back to earth where, presumably, they are closely monitored. Except that we never see these monitors, and the Russians on this unnamed planet, although they may have the power of gods, do not intervene to wipe out ...more
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1,081 followers
The brothers Arkady Strugatsky [Russian: Аркадий Стругацкий] and Boris Strugatsky[Russian: Борис Стругацкий] were Soviet-Russian science fiction authors who collaborated through most of their careers.

Arkady Strugatsky was born 25 August 1925 in Batumi; the family later moved to Leningrad. In January 1942, Arkady and his father were evacuated from the Siege of Leningrad, but Arkady was the only
...more

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“И всегда будут короли, более или менее жестокие, бароны, более или менее дикие, и всегда будет невежественный народ, питающий восхищение к своим угнетателям и ненависть к своему освободителю. И все потому, что раб гораздо лучше понимает своего господина, пусть даже самого жестокого, чем своего освободителя, ибо каждый раб отлично представляет себя на месте господина, но мало кто представляет себя на месте бескорыстного освободителя.” 17 likes
“And no matter how much the gray people in power despise knowledge, they can’t do anything about historical objectivity; they can slow it down, but they can’t stop it. Despising and fearing knowledge, they will nonetheless inevitably decide to promote it in order to survive. Sooner or later they will be forced to allow universities and scientific societies, to create research centers, observatories, and laboratories, and thus to create a cadre of people of thought and knowledge: people who are completely beyond their control, people with a completely different psychology and with completely different needs. And these people cannot exist and certainly cannot function in the former atmosphere of low self-interest, banal preoccupations, dull self-satisfaction, and purely carnal needs. They need a new atmosphere— an atmosphere of comprehensive and inclusive learning, permeated with creative tension; they need writers, artists, composers— and the gray people in power are forced to make this concession too. The obstinate ones will be swept aside by their more cunning opponents in the struggle for power, but those who make this concession are, inevitably and paradoxically, digging their own graves against their will. For fatal to the ignorant egoists and fanatics is the growth of a full range of culture in the people— from research in the natural sciences to the ability to marvel at great music. And then comes the associated process of the broad intellectualization of society: an era in which grayness fights its last battles with a brutality that takes humanity back to the middle ages, loses these battles, and forever disappears as an actual force.” 15 likes
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