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Yellow Blue Tibia

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  1,465 ratings  ·  221 reviews
Russia, 1946, the Nazis recently defeated. Stalin gathers half a dozen of the top Soviet science fiction authors in a dacha in the countryside somewhere. Convinced that the defeat of America is only a few years away, and equally convinced that the Soviet Union needs a massive external threat to hold it together, to give it purpose and direction, he tells the writers: 'I wa ...more
Paperback, 488 pages
Published July 9th 2010 by Gollancz (first published January 22nd 2009)
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3.63  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,465 ratings  ·  221 reviews

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Genia Lukin
Sep 05, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
“Comrade! Have great news, Comrade!”

“What is news, Comrade?”

“I have written book about Russia, Comrade!”

“Horosho! Wonderful news, Comrade! We drink Vodka now!”

“But there is bad news, Comrade.”

“What is bad news?”

“It is SF book.”

“Is OK, Comrade. We still drink Vodka, you no tell anyone it is SF. But... Comrade?”

“Da, Comrade?”

“You don’t know anything about Russia.”

“Is OK, Comrade. I wrote book… in English. Nobody know about Russia. I make book with communists, and everybody says ‘comrade’ all time!
Jan 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Adam Roberts is the Tesla Model S of Science Fiction. Smart, technologically impressive and capable of 0-60 in three sentences.

When you ride with Roberts you can expect smooth prose-suspension, hair-raising action-sequence cornering and perfectly plotted cup holders for every sea... OK, OK I've pushed the car analogy too far. Suffice to say that Roberts is one of the most interesting writers working in 21st century Science Fiction, a big, prolific talent with a an imagination to match.

From his d
Feb 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Either I loved this book, or I didn't love it, or it was some third thing.

But (really) I loved it, and you'll just have to read the book to understand the first sentence of this review.

In 1946, science fiction author Konstantin Andreiovich Skvorecky, along with a group of other writers, is given the task of inventing an alien invasion scenario by Josef Stalin. Stalin believes that America's defeat by the Soviet Union is imminent, and he wants to invent a new enemy that the Soviet people can be
Jun 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
This is good, full-form Adam Roberts, which is to say it seems at first like a fairly conventional if unusually well-written high-concept SF/thriller story, only to take a whole bunch of unexpected turns and introduce a huge amount of ironic self-awareness and humor and general weirdness until you have absolutely no idea where Roberts is going to go next. Which is pretty exhilarating. There are points in this book that felt as truly open-ended as anything I've ever read. Roberts is positioned in ...more
David Hebblethwaite
This is Adam Roberts’s tenth novel, which of course means there were nine before it. Nine that I haven’t read. How on Earth have I allowed this to happen? If they’re all as enjoyable as Yellow Blue Tibia, I have been missing out.

Yellow Blue Tibia is presented as the memoir of one Konstantin Skvorecky, a science fiction writer who was gathered together, along with four others, by Stalin in the aftermath of (what I know as) the Second World War. Stalin charged the writers with the task of creating
Adam Roberts is firmly establishing himself as one of my new favourites. This is the second of his that I've read, and while I didn't adore it as fervently as I did Jack Glass , but still, I did like it a lot. He seems to be extremely good at concept, and with concepts this good, it's difficult to make them pay off, but he is a veteran novelist and a sci-fi historian, and they damned well do. (Incidentally, I see that he's got a new one out this month about the ethics of eating meat. I am SALIV ...more
I have no idea what I just read. It probably doesn't help that I'm sleep deprived. Does it help if I say that I enjoyed it anyway? It was almost easier to read in this state: something in my sleep-deprived head clicked with the narrative quite well. I'm curious to read it again sometime when I'm not sleep deprived, as well, though. (And I'm sure you're all curious to see me review it when I'm not sleep deprived.)

I think it's really best read to understand what the experience is like. I can't pit
Ben Babcock
This is a very odd book. It’s the kind of love-child that might result from someone distilling Umberto Eco and Kurt Vonnegut. Adam Roberts takes on the spectre of Soviet Russia and, at the same time, explores how science fiction shapes and is shaped by the issues at work in the society of its time. Yellow Blue Tibia is not your typical work of alternative history.

At the end of World War II, Stalin gathers some of Russia’s greatest science fiction minds and asks them to create an alien menace tha
Nov 10, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Это даже не клюква, а какая-то морошка. Не знаю, что я имею в виду. Но и Робертс тоже накатал роман, абсолютно не зная об СССР ни черта. Все реалии, которые ему не были известны, он осторожно (не смело!) додумал. Получилась книга, которую бы мог написать теперешний старательный восьмиклассник. Знания о Сталине и Советском Союзе середины восьмидесятых у Робертса примерно на таком же уровне. Впрочем, наш школьник не стал бы приукрашивать действительность, сообщая читателям, будто в русском языке н ...more
This book had some big issues, but I have to admit there was something about the tone and the language and the characters that kept me going. I loved Saltykov, even if his mysterious syndrome hadn't actually been a specific category of diagnosis at the time this novel is supposed to have taken place, and even if some of his symptoms seemed more like OCD than Asperger's. I loved the narrative voice. I loved the way the action sequences were written.
After that? There's pretty much just one woman
If nothing else, Adam Roberts is not afraid to make enemies by speaking his mind. His 2006 academic The History of Science Fiction takes aim at some of the most popular academic theories of science fiction (Suvin's cognitive estrangement, Damien Broderick's megatext and object-focus, and Samuel R. Delaney's reading protocols); Roberts ditches these theories for an alternate theory that argues that science fiction really begins with Greek stories of fantastic travels; that sf takes a historical n ...more
A friend inquired about the reason for my rating of some books as 4 starrers instead of 5 starrers even though I have marked them as my favorites. So, here is the reason:

This started as a game for me, and it still is. What I actually do is rate a certain work on a scale of 0-5 in different categories that I have created. I take an average of all the categories to arrive at the final rating. And for Goodreads, I round off my overall ratings for a particular book for the site. Mind you, some categ
May 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an interesting book. I randomly picked it up off the library shelf because the cover and premise intrigued me. Soviet Union: 1946. Stalin forces a group of science fiction writers to outline a realistic alien invasion scenario. Stalin wants to unite the Soviet people against this 'other' threat. Then, before their ideas can be enacted, the project is scrapped and disposed of. Then, 40 years later, the predictions these authors made appear to be coming true.

This book is a love letter to
Dec 14, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009, sci-fi, fiction
Konstantin Andreiovich Skvorecky was one of a group of Russian SF writers called together by Josef Stalin in 1946. Stalin, convinced that the defeat of America was only a few years away, needed a new enemy for Communism to unite against. Skvorecky and the others were tasked with creating a convincing alien threat; a story of imminent disaster that could be told to the Soviet peoples.

And then after many months of diligent work the writers were told to stop and, on pain of death, to forget everyth
Daniel Roy
Yellow Blue Tibia is a strange, delightful beast. At times it can be a farce, a satire of Soviet-era Russia, a reflection of the role of SF in society, a thought experiment on the cultural phenomenon of UFO sightings, and a conspiracy novel. The tale truly shines when it combines all of these elements at once.

Roberts' tale manages something truly rare in SF: it instills a sense of skepticism in the reader, which lasts throughout the book. It's never truly clear if we're reading a SF tale, or the

Excellent book; darkly funny, superb narrative and ending. It instantly became a top 5 sf for 09 and a co-Adam Roberts favorite alongside Stone.

Some quotes from the first pages that take place in 1945 in a dacha near Moscow where Stalin himself commissions some Russian sf writers to concoct an alien invasion scenario will give you the flavor; the rest of the novel takes place in Moscow and Kiev of 1986 and it's just brilliant darkly funny modern sf

" 'A fine story', said Asterinov ....
John Wiltshire
May 23, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: given-up-on
If I've given up on a book I feel it ought to get only one star. In my world, most of Tolstoy would be get the one-star treatment. So the rating is less a reflection in the novel than my stupidity in not being able to read it, I suppose. But this read like Tolstoy, or a really bad pastiche of the great Russian author. Whatever, it was boring. I just could not stick with it and I got 45% through it, so that's a shame. Great premise, weird writing style. Gave up through boredom.
Jul 01, 2013 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
a) recommended by Rob as another "sci-fi for sci-fi haters" possibility (a theme I might pick up, like, next year? I dunno)
b) this plot sounds like a hoot.
c) Pam suggests that I move it up my TBR list.
Adam Roberts is about to publish his own version of an unfinished novel by Anthony Burgess, and it seems to me that he is the perfect writer to make the attempt, which would surely be utter foolishness for most.

Very much like Burgess (and also H. G. Wells) Roberts has an astonishingly fertile imagination and every one of his books is founded on a brilliant conceit – so brilliant are his conceits that it is almost impossible for the resulting book to live up entirely to the expectations it arous
Jun 17, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book in the free book boxes on the street, and decided to give it a try. Knowing nothing about it, though, I skimmed some of the reviews, and was a little bit nervous upon seeing that any Russian that reviewed it hate it. Armed with low expectations, thinking of it not as having much to do with actual Soviet Russia but being more like an alternate history somewhat based on it, I actually rather enjoyed it. I'm too ignorant to be able to tell what's wrong about the history or culture ...more
Owain Lewis
Jul 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great fun! I always imagined, and I don't know where I got this from, that Roberts was one of those smartarse, prissy writers that I wouldn't like. Man was I wrong. Yes he's obviously a bit of a smart arse but his smartarsery is a deep knowledge of the history of Scifi, in this case Russian scifi, and the political context in which it was written, which sounds like a total nerdout snorfest but it really isnt. Yellow blue tibia is serious comic scifi in the vain of the Strugatsky brothers in farc ...more
Jan 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019-reads

This was so cool and interesting and a little confusing
May 30, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: june-2016
Pēc tam kad biju izlasījis šī paša autora darbu Jack Glass man tika ieteikts noprovēt arī šo grāmatu, tā arī esot diezgan laba. Ieteikumu ņēmu vērā un grāmatu pasūtīju. Atmiņa gan vairs nav tāda kā jaunībā un par pasūtīšanas faktu pilnīgi aizmirsu. Tādēļ vienudien mani mājās gaidīja patīkams pārsteigums šīs grāmatas izskatā. Uz vāka nosaukums gan bija uzrakstīts dīvainā fontā, bet par to pārāk nesatraucos. Vispār jau tas fonts nav nejaušs un patiesais grāmatas nosaukums nudien nav Yellow Blue Ti ...more
The story arc in Yellow Blue Tibia by Adam Roberts starts off conventionally enough and quickly evolves into something wholly unpredictable, with slapstick set pieces that would have been at home in Don Quijote or in a Vonnegut novel. It’s been a long time since I’ve laughed out loud reading a novel.

Reading the premise, you think Roberts is giving us a spy novel or SF thriller—and true enough there are several intense action sequences (most memorable is the one where our geriatric hero Konsta
May 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Yellow Blue Tibia, subtitled Konstantin Skvorecky’s memoir of the alien invasion of 1986, is Adam Roberts’ 10th novel, it was shortlisted for the BSFA Award and the Arthur C. Clarke Award for best novel.

It’s 1946, Nazi Germany has just been defeated and Stalin believes that victory over America is just a few years away. He perceives that the U.S.S.R. needs an external threat to give it unity and purpose. He therefore assembles in a dacha in the Russian countryside a group of Soviet science ficti
Yellow Blue Tibia by Adam Roberts is about Konstantin Andreiovich Skvorecky, a Russian SF writer who is called by Stalin to be part of a group who are to create a new threat for Communism to unite against, after the end of World War II. Soon after coming up with the concept of radiation aliens, and writing about their destruction of the Ukraine, the SF writers are disbanded and told, on pain of death, to forget everything that they have done. 40 years later the story picks up and follows Skvorec ...more
Sep 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
This is a very difficult book to describe (without, at least, revealing much too much of how the story unfolds). The bare details of the plot revealed on the covers are that that this is "Konstantin Skvorecky's memoir of the alien invasion of 1986", and that in the immediate aftermath of the Great Patriotic War Stalin gathered together a group of Soviet SF writers and instructed them to concoct the story of an alien invasion threat, a foe against which the Soviet people could unite once the next ...more
Tim Pendry
Aug 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
This is not so much a science fiction book (the sci fi is crammed into the last thirty or so pages but I refuse to do a spoiler here) as a book about science fiction - the old Soviet science fiction tradition.

This Soviet tradition followed a different trajectory from that of the West with Zamyatin, Jules Verne and H.G. Wells as its masters. Its most well known writers outside the 'East; are probably Mikhail Bulgakov and the Strugatsky Brothers ('Roadside Picnic') to whom might be added the Polis
Jun 02, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Despite finding Adam Robert's style a little frustrating at times, I greatly enjoyed this book. I found all the characters interesting and sympathetic, and I thought the story was clever and involving, though as I say the style annoyed me occasionally.

I've read Cat Valente's rather over the top review of it, and will take her at her word that much of Robert's Russian references are off, but I must say that much of what Cat Valente objects to in this book, I saw as humour (the main character for
Sep 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-good-shit
who'd a thunk you could make a serious book containing the chernobyl disaster and alien invasion funny?

Adam Roberts, he's got a way about him.

Our Hero, Konstantin Skvorecky, begins this tale as a science fiction writer in service to Josef Stalin and the post-WWII communist state. Stalin has commissioned Konsty and a bunch of other Russian sf writers to write a tale of alien invasion, to put some steel in those (!!!) flaccid Soviet spines. and then, precipitously, before the work is even finished
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Around the Year i...: Yellow Blue Tibia, by Adam Roberts 1 7 Aug 02, 2018 09:29AM  
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  • Life
  • The Separation
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  • Nova Swing (Empty Space Trilogy, #2)
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  • The Last Man Who Knew Everything: Thomas Young, the Anonymous Polymath Who Proved Newton Wrong, Explained How We See, Cured the Sick, and Deciphered the Rosetta Stone, Among Other Feats of Genius
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Adam Roberts (born 1965) is an academic, critic and novelist. He also writes parodies under the pseudonyms of A.R.R.R. Roberts, A3R Roberts and Don Brine. He also blogs at The Valve, a group blog devoted to literature and cultural studies.

He has a degree in English from the
“A realist writer might break his protagonist's leg, or kill his fiancee; but a science fiction writer will immolate whole planets, and whilst doing so he will be more concerned with the placement of commas than the screams of the dying.” 32 likes
“Let us say that science fiction is a kind of conceptual disorientation of the familiar.” 5 likes
More quotes…