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Hard to Be a God

(Миры братьев Стругацких)

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  7,883 ratings  ·  369 reviews
The novel follows Anton, an undercover operative from the future planet Earth, in his mission on an alien planet, that is populated by human beings, whose society has not advanced beyond the Middle Ages. The novel's core idea is that human progress throughout the centuries is often cruel and bloody, and that religion and blind faith can be an effective tool of oppression, ...more
Hardcover, 219 pages
Published January 1st 1973 by Seabury Press (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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Sep 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: russia, scifi, fiction
“And what if you could change the divine decrees?”
“Only a higher power is capable of this.”
“But still, imagine that you’re God …”
Budach laughed. “If I could imagine myself as God, I’d become him!”
“Well, what if you had the chance to advise God?”

The premise of this story seems like a grand adventure. Scientists and observers from a future paradise earth infiltrate and study other earth-like planets. Their main principle resembles Star Trek's 'prime directive' of non-interference.

But this is not
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? Th
Feb 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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 t ...more
Jul 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
"Bütün belalar, kardeşler, bütün belalar şu okumuşlardan çıkıyor! Önce gelmiş parayla saadet olmaz, diyorlar, sonra köylü dediğin de insan evladıdır; sonra küfre varan maniler, peşinden ayaklanma... Hepsini asacaksın bunların, kardeş! Mesela ben olsam ne mi yapardım? Evvela sorardım: Okuman yazman var mı? Öyleyse doğru darağacına!"
Vit Babenco
Dec 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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 begi
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
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 evol
Apr 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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 a
Oct 11, 2015 rated it did not like it
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
Sep 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: scifi
This is one of the best Soviet science fiction books. Imagine you are sent to undeveloped planet where people still live during what looks like Earth's middle ages as a mere observer (think Prime Directive from Star Trek). You are so good at being undercover that you make real friends as well as real enemies. What happens if your enemies start killing your friends and drag the society back to dark ages in the process? You have god-like powers to stop bad guys, would you use them?

The book combine
Nov 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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 on
Maria Dobos
Jul 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ooof... Puține sunt cărțile care mă învăluie în disperare, dezamăgire, absurditate și... greață. Greață față de mizeria care colcăie în oameni, față de cruzimea, egoismul, indiferența și bestialitatea macabră care le întunecă sufletul.

Într-un viitor nedefinit, Anton, specialist al Institutului de Istorie Experimentală de pe Pământ, călătorește spre o altă planetă cu misiunea de a-i observa pe locuitorii acesteia, fără a interveni în evoluția generală a societății. In această lume cenușie și fără
Dato Kvaratskhelia
Mar 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, favorites
"ხანდახან მეჩვენება, რომ არავის არაფერი შეგვიძლია, მეამბოხეთა მარადიული მეთაური ვარ და ვიცი, რომ მთელი ჩემი ძალა არაჩვეულებრივი ამტანობაა. მაგრამ ეს ძალა ჩემს უძლურებას ვერაფერს შველის. ჩემი გამარჯვებები რაღაც ჯადოსნური ძალის წყალობით დამარცხებებად იქცევა ხოლმე. თანამებრძოლები მტრები ხდებიან, ყველაზე მამაცები გარბიან, ყველაზე ერთგულები მღალატობენ ან გაქცევით შველიან თავს. და არაფერი გამაჩნია შიშველი ხელების გარდა, შიშველი ხელებით კი ვერ მისწვდები ციხესიმაგრის კედლების მიღმა წამომსხდარ მოოქრულ კე ...more
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 at ...more
Şahin Kalkay
Apr 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sovyet bilim kurgusunun bir tanrısı olsaydı, iki başlı olurdu herhalde. Adı da Strugatsky tabiki...
Ezgi Tülü
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi-classics
Rumata yolun yarısını gözleri kapalı yürüdü. Aldığı her nefesle canı yanıyordu adeta. Bunlar insan olabilir miydi? İnsana ait ne kalmıştı bunlarda? Kimilerini sokaklarda kılıçlarla biçmişlerdi, diğerleriyse evlerinde oturuyor ve uysallıkla sıralarının gelmesini bekliyorlardı. Ve her biri, kimin canını alırlarsa alsınlar, yeter ki beni esirgesinler, diye düşünüyordu. Kılıç sallayanların soğukkanlı zalimliği, kılıçlarda biçilenlerin soğukkanlı uysallığı. Soğukkanlılık; en korkuncu da bu. On kişi,
Tuncer Şengöz
May 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Pushkin'den Gogol'e, Dostoyevski'den Tolstoy'a kadar Rus edebiyatının hangi büyük yazarını okursanız okuyun, elinizdeki kitabın kapağını kapattığınızda midenize bir yumruk yemiş gibi oluyorsunuz.

İlginç roman kahramanları, zihninizde derin izler bırakan diyaloglar, beklenmedik olaylar, felsefi sorgulamalar ve edebiyatı yaşamlarımızda önemli ve değerli kılan her bir unsur...

Büyük çalkantılarla geçen 19. yüzyılın ve 20. yüzyılın ilk yarısından sonra Rus edebiyatı durulur gibi olur. 2. Dünya Savaşı
Feb 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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. S
Jun 23, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Un roman SF care a insistat să fie rusesc despre comunism și feudalism, sau invers.

După ce s-au rezolvat toate problemele antropologice și sociale pe Pământ, comuniștii trimit în alte lumi observatori care să ajute populația să evolueze la nivelul lor de civilizație. Romanul e povestea unui astfel de observator care nimerește în mijlocul unei societăți feudale brutale care elimină toți oamenii care știu să citească (romanul precede cu 4 ani Khmerii Roșii) și care apoi trece printr-o răsturnare d
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
Roxana Chirilă
14 februarie 2018: Zicea cineva ceva de „E greu să fii zeu” azi și mi-am dat seama că impresia mea, după mai bine de un an de când am citit cartea asta, e una de dificultate și plictiseală. Uite așa a ajuns de la 3 stele la 2.

Ce-am scris la 11 iunie 2016: O carte cu tot felul de idei interesante. Câțiva oameni dintr-o societate SF supertehnologică merg să influențeze o lume rusă-spaniolă medievală și descoperă că e mai greu decât și-au imaginat. Poate pentru că oamenii pot să fie, și sunt, înțep
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.
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 T
Vira Motorko
Nov 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Vira by: Juri
Сподобалося. Попри те, що мала дурний настрій і книга з таким проблемним наповненням аж ніяк його не покращила.
Цікава, глибока тема. Про спостерігача в епосі середньовіччя, який не має права втручатись. Я взагалі не знаю, як людина може на таке погодитися, і протриматись 5 років, 10 чи 15. Я б не погодилась. Або скочила з вежі.
Гарною мовою написано. Себто десь, напр., трапляється речення "в углу трактира мрачно веселились двое нищих донов" і ти розумієш, що то ж по факту оксюморон — але можеш ле
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
Vedran Karlić
Nov 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jeste. Teško je biti Bog, baš kao što je bilo teško proći kroz dosadne dijelove ove knjige kako bi se došlo do onih važnih i dobrih stvar. Usprkos njima, sama premisa iz naslova je jasno oslikana kroz društvena zbivanja i zbog nje dobiva 5 zvjezdica.
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
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 intel
Aug 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Sandra by: Lena Maluh
Shelves: reviewed
- Сущность человека, - неторопливо жуя, говорил Будах, - в удивительной способности привыкать ко всему. Нет в природе ничего такого, к чему бы человек не притерпелся. Ни лошадь, ни собака, ни мышь не обладают таким свойством. Вероятно, бог, создавая человека, догадывался, на какие муки его обрекает, и дал ему огромный запас сил и терпения. Затруднительно сказать, хорошо это или плохо. Не будь у человека такого терпения и выносливости, все добрые люди давно бы уже погибли, и на свете остались
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  • The Status Civilization
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Arkady Natanovich Strugatsky [Russian: Аркадий Стругацкий] was born in August 1925 in Batumi in the family of intellectuals critic Nathan Zalmanovich Strugatsky, who worked as a newspaper editor, and Alexandra Ivanovna Litvinovoj, honored teacher who taught Russian language and literature.
17-year-old Arkady Strugatsky, first participated in the construction of fortifications of the besieged city,

Other books in the series

Миры братьев Стругацких (1 - 10 of 21 books)
  • Страна багровых туч. Путь на Амальтею. Стажеры
  • Хищные вещи века. Чрезвычайные происшествия. Полдень, XXII век
  • Трудно быть богом. Попытка к бегству. Далекая радуга
  • Обитаемый остров. Малыш
  • Парень из преисподней. Беспокойство. Жук в муравейнике. Волны гасят ветер
  • Понедельник начинается в субботу. Сказка о Тройке (2 экз.)
  • Пикник на обочине. Отель «У погибшего альпиниста». Улитка на склоне
  • Отягощенные Злом. За миллиард лет до конца света. Гадкие лебеди
  • Град обреченный. Второе нашествие марсиан
  • Экспедиция в преисподнюю / Повесть о дружбе и недружбе
“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.” 15 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.” 14 likes
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