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Roadside Picnic / Tale of the Troika

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  535 ratings  ·  41 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.
Mass Market Paperback, 257 pages
Published March 1st 1978 by Pocket
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Apr 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, humor, fantasy
I have loved both the Roadside Picnic and the Monday starts on a Saturday. I've specifically tracked this edition for the Tale of Troika to see what else the wizards/scientists at NITWIT were up to next and I loved it.
This has to be one of the most scolding satires of the Soviet bureaucracy, especially their tendency to make a committee for everything. I have recognized so many people from both my experience, and from stories from other people I know in these characters that it has taken me four
Printable Tire
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
May 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
'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
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
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.
Jan 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2010
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
May 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Five stars for roadside picnic
Mar 12, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
I have to admit, I'd much rather watch the Tarkovsky film based on this novel ("Stalker"; it's really excellent). ...more
Apr 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, 5-stars
Really good.
The Strugatsky brothers' novel is a variation of the First Contact scenario, an alien visitation of Earth without any direct interaction with nations, governments, the military, scientists, or individual citizens. The visit was brief, occurred in multiple locations around the globe, and they departed leaving considerable material evidence behind. Apparently they never heard of the Prime Directive nor possessed any concept of a minimal ecological impact.

The sites are called zones, and have been c
Dec 07, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
Positives: it was cool to read a book that inspired a cultural phenomenon, the world was interesting, concept of aliens not even noticing humans was great, good philosophical shit, had some exciting moments.

Negatives: I get that this was a "examining the human condition" kind of thing but I couldn't give two fucks about Red or Noonan or anybody else tbh...and the writers really did the 3 women in this book dirty. One was a hot girl turned dutiful housewife (why are you still here man there's not
Tiene una traducción, justamente la edición que sale aquí en la miniatura, ¡MALÍSIMA! Tanto, que estropea la historia hasta el punto que te confunde. Si no fuera por ello, las cuatro estrellas caen seguro. Un ejemplo, en vez de decir: se fue a la MIERDA, dice: se fue a las HECES. A ver, no negaré que me resulta gracioso, pero eso es porque soy raro y surrealista. Estoy rebozado de dadaísmo. Supuro luz como un electroduende, y nadie me comprende. Pero... Joder, en vez de "dinero", poner "plata" y ...more
Pinko Palest
May 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(this is just about Tale of the Troika) a magnificent satire, mainly about bureaucracy, but about other things as well, incuding elevators. The bureaucrats even try to explain some totally inexplicable phenomena, like an Abominable Snowman, a sentient bedbug, a shy pterodactyl and the obligatory alien from outer space. If only western science fiction was half as good as this!
Apr 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tale of the Troika is a funny parody of Soviet Era science bureaucracy. Roadside Picnic is a lengthy disturbing drama set in our world that has been visited and littered by aliens who never noticed our existence. I won't ever forget the little girl Monkey in Roadside Picnic, a minor character. Both books are available free online. ...more
Mala traducción
Brilliant concept (and movie), not a fan of the actual execution of the novella.

Tale of the Troika is borderline unreadable in this translation.
Jul 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 co
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 on t ...more
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
Oct 24, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi-hard
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
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
Sep 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
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. ...more
Nov 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars -

Roadside Picnic was recommended to me by a friend and coworker. I really enjoyed it even though it lost me for about a chapter.
Tale of the Troika however was very different - I found myself lost in it's rabbit hole of a story line and couldn't make much sense of it. Though I somehow still ended up enjoying most of the wild ride that is this other-dimensional story.

Two very unique reads by the same two authors. Both interesting and strange in their own right.
Aug 01, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
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. ...more
The Final Song ❀
Jul 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lasers-n-sheet
I read roadside picnic before and for what i know this edition is kind of censored so i cant comment.
In the other hand Tale of the Troika was a really funny read, very contrasting with roadside picnic in the way that it talks about the soviet bureaucracy, it reminds my of the master and margarita to some extend.
Nov 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
Very good reading and very entertaining. Accesible to a wide range of readers, not only sci-fi fans. It keeps you reading "just one page more"... At some points its descriptions resemble, in style, those of H.P.Lovecraft in the sense that the author actually doesn't make a description, but just suggest it. ...more
B.  Barron
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.
Jan 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I only read Tale of the Troika, which was an absurd yet humorous little story. I'm sure it had a great deal of symbolism and meaning which eluded me for the most part, but it was very entertaining. ...more
Yamill  Medina
Es la biografía y vivencias de un merodeador (personas que se dedican a buscar objetos dejados por una visita extraterrestre, en un lugar llamado "La Zona") Con un final que te deja un sabor agridulce, no se si por que esperabas mas, o no tiene sentido. En fin, un final WTF... ...more
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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 s

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