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Hard to Be a God

(The Noon Universe #4)

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  9,023 ratings  ·  457 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 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 book belongs to so-cbelow.
✘✘ 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 get? A bunch of guys with godlike-powers on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

👃 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 get? A bunch of guys with godlike-powers on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

More or less, yes. By the way, Kirkie, I hear that the whole “thou shalt not interfere, NO, though shalt NOT” business is reminiscent of your Prime Directive Thingie (PDT™). Maybe you should consider applying for a consulting job with the above-mentioned reluctant god wannabes. Looks like they could use some advice and stuff.

Our main character (real name Anton, covert name Rumata) is slightly on the brink of such a breakdown. A little. Well, the poor guy is no longer on the brink, really. He has been on this lovely feudal paradise for five years, and is positively swimming in neurasthenia. And fast developing wonderfully bipolar tendencies, too. It’s no wonder, to be honest. I mean, had I been in his place, I would have unleashed the crustaceans on those filthy, uncivilized alien lowlives (aka the “scientific specimens”) a mere five minutes after setting foot on that silly, backward planet. But Rumata has a heart, and I don’t, so he didn’t, but I would have. Oh yes, most definitely. Believe me, these medieval alien lab rats (or is it alien medieval lab rats? I forget) really deserve to die a deathly deadly death. Why, you ask? Well mostly because:

1) Their complete lack of personal hygiene is absolutely unacceptable and thoroughly revolting. (“My kingdom for a soap bar!” is reported to have said Rumata when taking his last distressfully bubble-free bath.)
2) Underwear conundrums *shudders*
3) Unwashed nymphs who reek of body odor mixed with heavy perfume (yummy).
4) Assorted, um, you know, exotic smells and stuff.

You could say that, yes.

Rumata, although concerned about these stinky predicaments, seems to be a great deal more troubled by local habits and customs I myself find quite charming and delightfully quaint: OTT violence, sex and booze, for example. Always a winning combination in my nefarious world, it is apparently not looked upon very kindly in Rumata’s Utopia-like homeland. (Some people are really weird.) Then there’s the whole, hey-why-don’t-we-turn-our-underdeveloped-medieval-paradise-into-a-feudal-facism-dreamland thingie, which I personally think is pure genius. Rumata, what with his disgusting ethics and repulsive decency, finds this a little distasteful, obviously. (The guy can be such a virtuous bore sometimes *eyeroll*) And doesn’t react too well when the local barbarian nutcases lovely natives start persecuting scientists and scholars, and basically eradicating anyone with an IQ score higher than 2. (I employed both methods myself during the Shrimpy Inquisition of 1256, and they worked wonders, just so you know. Well they worked wonders for me, obviously. Not for puny humans.)

Anyway, all this despicable shit goes down these positive changes are brought about, and they don’t really sit well with poor Rumata. How can an appallingly well-intended, principled guy like him watch these pathetic little not-so-green men feeble alien creatures be ruthlessly oppressed and callously slaughtered and not act, as he was ordered to, I ask you? Well he can’t, obviously. Hence the near-nervous breakdown, slight bipolarity and minor mental instability.

Hey, Rumata! How’s it going? Found any soap yet?

And then what happens, you ask? Rumata kinda sorta loses spoiler spoiler spoiler, and kinda sorta becomes spoiler spoiler spoiler. And then what else? Why spoiler spoiler spoiler, DUH.

Nefarious Last Words (NLW™): this is original. This is thought-provoking. This is funny. This is dramatic. This is fast-paced. And this is entertaining as fish. Need I say more? Didn’t think so. (view spoiler)

P.S. Read the Olena Bormashenko translation of this book you must, for utterly crappy all the others are. You are most welcome.
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?/>The
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 th
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 verg
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
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
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 suppos/>The
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 cen
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 R
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
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, korkudan don
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...
Bilim kurgu hiç tarzım olmadığı halde kitabın yarısından sonra başlayan felsefe,sosyoloji beni kitaba bağladı. Hümanist Rumata seni çok sevdim. Belki de dünyayı bir kurtarırsa Don Rumata kurtarır diye umutlandığım içindir.
Tuncer Şengöz
May 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
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.
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 ...more
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
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
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 Don Imus.

I know thiImus.



May 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Vienā vārdā – spēcīgi.

Viena no tām retajām reizēm, kad man ir tik daudz ko teikt par grāmatu, ka izdomāju uzrakstīt pilnu atsauksmi.

Īsumā grāmatā stāsts par Anatoliju, kurš ir nākotnes Zemes, precīzāk PSRS, operatīvais darbinieks, kurš nosūtīts uz citu planētu, lai novērotu tās sabiedrību, kura atrodas viduslaiku attīstības līmenī. Ir tikai divi noteikumi: novērot un neiejaukties (khe khe Star Trek). Antons tiek izvietots vienā no šīs planēta valstīm (Arkanar) kā ietekmīgs un turīgs augstmanis
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
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 —
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.
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 th ...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.
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
Jan 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Još jedna od knjiga koju je teže opisati pošto zahteva da se razmisli o onom što je pročitani i da se ne prihvata sve kao zdravo za gotovo: moja slaba strana :(

Na moju sreću ova verzija knjige ima fin uvod na početku kao i funo objašnjenje na kraju što uvek pomogne :)

Sem toga mogu reći da je vrlo lepo napisana, odnosno prevod je kvalitetan i vrlo vrlo čitak. Ideja knjige je odlična i originalna i stvarno me čudi da niko do sada nije iskoristio za nešto drugo; ili ja bar n
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
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 ост
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
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 intel
Simon Hollway
Sep 23, 2014 rated it did not like it
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 derr ...more
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 t/>
Книжни Криле
Слава Богу, на цензурата обикновено й липсва далновидност и въображение. На промитите мозъци, които помагат за промиването на още мозъци бягството от реалността им е чуждо, а преобличането й като нещо друго - още повече. Достатъчно е да смениш имената на нещата с отвлечени, въображаеми понятия и току виж безкомпромисната ти социална критика успяла да мине като научна фантастика. „Трудно е да бъдеш бог” на Аркадий и Борис Стругацки (изд. "Сиела") е минала между капките и е успяла да види бял свят ...more
Simona Stoica
Recenzia completă:

„E foarte uşor să faci rău şi să distrugi, să te scufunzi în ignoranţă şi să întorci spatele progresului. Să urăşti ceea ce nu înţelegi şi să îi împiedici pe cei din jurul tău să desluşească misterele care ţie ţi-au fost refuzate. Răutatea este un sentiment palpabil şi meschin, care se aliază de nenumărate ori cu invidia. Te corupe treptat, ţi se strecoară în suflet când eşti vulnerabil sau egoist, te încarcă repede cu ură şi revoltă, până când te secătuieşte de energ
Feb 18, 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
Jan 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Un roman foarte potrivit vremurilor în care trăim (din păcate). Conflictul intern al personajului principal e foarte bine scris și foarte impresionant, senzația de zădărnicie e prezentă pe tot parcursul romanului, în fiecare replică sau gând.
Totuși, prin comparație, conflictul exterior mi s-a părut o distragere de la esență, ca și cum autorii n-au reușit să dezvolt suficient ambele fire narative. M-aș fi mulțumit cu unul singur, dar mai bine conturat.
Nerecomandat celor deja deprimați
Jul 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
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 th ...more
Andras Szalai
Aug 05, 2019 rated it liked it
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 dir
Loredana (Bookinista08)
Jul 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Habar n-am în ce gen să încadrez cartea asta, fiindcă SF nu prea e. Dar adevărul e că mi-a plăcut, destul și neașteptat de mult. Perspectiva asta a „zeului” care vine de pe o planetă super dezvoltată pe o planetă aflată încă la nivelul Evului Mediu mi s-a părut de-a dreptul ingenioasă și fascinantă. Cartea se mai joacă și cu ideea de dezumanizare în condiții dezumanizante, fiindcă nu o singură dată protagonistul, Anton a.k.a. Don Rumata, se surprinde având aceleași porniri ca băștinașii înapoiaț ...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 survivor in his train ca

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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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