Arkady and Boris Strugatsky

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upper body of man with glasses in shirt and jacket holding an object in front with both hands
Boris Strugatsky, 2006

The brothers Arkady (Russian: Аркадий; August 28, 1925 – October 12, 1991) and Boris (Russian: Бори́с; April 14, 1933 – November 19, 2012) Strugatsky (Russian: Струга́цкий; alternate spellings: Strugatskiy, Strugatski, Strugatskii) were Soviet-Russian science fiction authors who collaborated on their fiction.

Life and work

A translated Strugatsky story appeared in Amazing Stories in 1959

The Strugatsky brothers (Бра́тья Струга́цкие or simply Струга́цкие) were born to Natan Strugatsky, an art critic, and his wife, a teacher. Their early work was influenced by Ivan Yefremov and Stanisław Lem. Later they went on to develop their own, unique style of science fiction writing that emerged from the period of Soviet rationalism in Soviet literature and evolved into novels interpreted as works of social criticism.[1]

Their best-known novel, Piknik na obochine, has been translated into English as Roadside Picnic. Andrei Tarkovsky adapted the novel for the screen under the title of Stalker (1979).

Several other of their fiction works were translated into English, German, French, and Italian but did not receive the same magnitude of critical acclaim granted them by their Russian audiences. The Strugatsky brothers, however, were and still are popular in many countries, including Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, the former republics of Yugoslavia, and Germany, where most of their works were available in both East and West Germany. Nowadays, they are arguably the best-known Russian science fiction writers, with a well-developed fan base.[citation needed]

The Strugatsky brothers were Guests of Honour at Conspiracy '87, the 1987 World Science Fiction Convention, held in Brighton, England.

In 1991, Text Publishers brought out the collected works by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky.[citation needed]


Arkady Natanovich Strugatsky was born August 25, 1925 in Batumi; The family later moved to Leningrad. In January 1942, Arkady and his father left the besieged city, but Arkady was the only survivor in his train car; his father died upon reaching Vologda. Arkady was later drafted into the Soviet army; he trained first at the artillery school in Aktyubinsk and later at the Military Institute of Foreign Languages in Moscow, from which he graduated in 1949 as an interpreter of English and Japanese. He worked as a teacher and interpreter for the military until 1955. In 1955, he began working as an editor and writer. In 1958, he began collaborating with his brother Boris, a collaboration that lasted until Arkady's death on October 12, 1991.[2]


Born April 14, 1933, Boris Natanovich Strugatsky remained in Leningrad with his mother during the siege of the city during World War II. He graduated from high school in 1950 and applied to the physics department at Leningrad State University, but studied astronomy instead. After graduating in 1955, he worked as an astronomer and computer engineer until 1966, when he became a full-time writer.[3] He was an agnostic atheist.[4] Boris Strugatsky died in Saint Petersburg on November 19, 2012.[5][6]

Noon Universe

Several of the Strugatsky brothers' books take place in the The World of Noon, also known unofficially as the Wanderers Universe. The name is derived from the title of one of their texts, Noon: 22nd Century.

The main characteristics of the Noon Universe are: a very high level of social, scientific, and technological development; the creativity of the general population; and the very significant level of societal maturity compared to the modern world. For instance, this world knows no monetary stimulation (indeed, money does not exist), and every person is engaged in a profession that interests him or her. The Earth of the Noon Universe is governed by a global meritocratic council composed of the world's leading scientists and philosophers. That Noon World has been clearly named as "World of Communism" in their novels, which was handy for publishing their novels in the USSR, where the Communist Party decided whether a book would be printed and approved for mass circulation.

The Noon Universe was described by the authors as the world in which they would like to live and work. It became highly influential for at least a generation of Soviet people, e.g., a person could quote the Strugatsky books and be sure of being understood. At first the authors thought the Noon Universe would become reality "by itself", but then they realized that the only way to achieve it was by inventing the High Theory of Upbringing, making the upbringing of each person a unique deed.

One of the important story arcs of those books addresses how the advanced human civilization covertly steers the development of those considered less advanced. Agents of humans are known as Progressors. At the same time, some humans suspect that a very advanced spacefaring race called Wanderers exists and is "progressing" humanity itself.



English title Russian title Published in Russian Published in English Type of work
From Beyond Извне 1958 1982 novella
The Land of Crimson Clouds Страна багровых туч 1959 N/A novel
The Way to Amalthea (also known as Destination: Amaltheia) Путь на Амальтею 1960 1963 novella
Noon: 22nd Century Полдень, XXII век 1962 1978 novel /
collection of linked stories
Space Apprentice (also known as Probationers,
includes "The Gigantic Fluctuation" short story)
Стажеры 1962 1981 novel
Escape Attempt Попытка к бегству 1962 1982 novella
Far Rainbow Далёкая Радуга 1963 1979 novella
Hard to Be a God Трудно быть богом 1964 1973 novel
Monday Begins on Saturday Понедельник начинается в субботу 1965 1977 novel
The Final Circle of Paradise Хищные вещи века 1965 1976 novel
Disquiet (initial variant of Snail on the Slope) Беспокойство 1990
(written 1965)
N/A novella
Snail on the Slope Улитка на склоне 1966–68
(written 1965)
1980 novel
The Ugly Swans Гадкие лебеди (also known as Время дождя) 1972
(written 1966–67)
1972 novel
The Second Invasion from Mars
(also known as The Second Martian Invasion)
Второе нашествие марсиан 1967 1970 novella
Tale of the Troika Сказка о Тройке 1968 1977 novella
Prisoners of Power (also known as The Inhabited Island) Обитаемый остров 1969 1977 novel
Dead Mountaineer's Hotel (also known as Inspector Glebsky's Puzzle) Отель «У Погибшего Альпиниста» 1970 1982 novel
Space Mowgli Малыш 1971 1982 novel
Roadside Picnic Пикник на обочине 1972 1977 novel
The Kid from Hell Парень из преисподней 1974 1982 novella
Definitely Maybe За миллиард лет до конца света 1977 1978 novella
The Doomed City Град обреченный 1988–89
(written 1970–75)
N/A novel
Tale of Friendship and Non-friendship Повесть о дружбе и недружбе 1980 1988 novelette
Beetle in the Anthill Жук в муравейнике 1980 1980 novel
Limping Fate Хромая судьба 1986 N/A novel
The Time Wanderers Волны гасят ветер 1986 1987 novel
Overburdened with Evil Отягощённые злом 1988 N/A novel

Short stories

English title Russian title Published in Russian Published in English Comments
The White Cone of the Alaid Белый конус Алаида 1959 1968 included in the novel Noon: 22nd Century as "Defeat"
The Mu Man Человек из Пасифиды 1962 N/A
The Gigantic Fluctuation Гигантская флуктуация 1962 1973 included in the novel Space Apprentice
Wanderers and Travelers О странствующих и путешествующих 1963 1966 included in the novel Noon: 22nd Century as Pilgrims and Wayfarers

Short story collections

Short stories originally published in Six Matches:

English title Russian title Published in Russian Published in English
Six Matches Шесть спичек 1958 1961
Spontaneous Reflex (also known as Initiative) Спонтанный рефлекс 1958 1959
Forgotten Experiment Забытый эксперимент 1959 N/A
The Examination of SCYBER Испытание СКИБР 1959 N/A
Special Assumptions Частные предположения 1959 N/A
An Emergency Case Чрезвычайное происшествие 1960 1966

Short stories originally published as part of the novel Noon: 22nd Century:

English title Russian title Published in Russian Published in English
Night on Mars Ночь в пустыне 1960 1978
Almost the Same Почти такие же 1960 1978
Old-timer Перестарок 1961 1978
The Conspirators Злоумышленники 1962 1978
Chronicle Хроника 1961 1978
Two from the Taimyr Двое с «Таймыра» 1961 1978
The Moving Roads Самодвижущиеся дороги 1961 1978
Cornucopia Скатерть-самобранка 1961 1978
Homecoming Возвращение (also known as Известные люди and Пациенты доктора Протоса) 1962 1978
Langour of the Spirit Томление духа 1962 1978
The Assaultmen Десантники 1961 1978
Deep Search Глубокий поиск 1960 1978
Pilgrims and Wayfarers (also known as
Wanderers and Travelers)
О странствующих и путешествующих 1963 1978
The Planet with all the Conveniences Благоустроенная планета 1961 1978
The Mystery of the Hind Leg Загадка задней ноги (a.k.a. Великий КРИ) 1961 1978
Natural Science in the Spirit World Естествознание в мире духов 1962 1978
Candles Before the Control Board Свечи перед пультом 1961 1978
The Meeting Свидание (a.k.a. Люди, люди...) 1961 1978
What You Will Be Like Какими вы будете 1961 1978

Solo works

The following titles have been published by Arkady Strugatsky under the pseudonym S. Yaroslavtsev (C. Ярославцев):

English title Russian title Published in Russian Published in English Type of work
The Expedition into Inferno Экспедиция в преисподнюю 1974 N/A novel
The Details of Nikita Vorontsov's Life Подробности жизни Никиты Воронцова 1984 1989 short story
Devil Amongst People Дьявол среди людей 1991 N/A novella

Following titles have been published by Boris Strugatsky under the pseudonym S. Vititsky (С. Витицкий):

English title Russian title Published in Russian Published in English Type of work
Search for Destiny or the Twenty Seventh Theorem of Ethics Поиск предназначения, или Двадцать седьмая теорема этики 1994 N/A novel
The Powerless that be Бессильные мира сего 2003 N/A novel

Translations of Strugatsky to other languages

Title in the language of translation Russian title English title Published in Russian Published in language of translation Published in English Type of work
Ciudad maldita [7] Град Обреченный "The Doomed City" 1988/1989 2004 N/A novel
Que difícil es ser Dios [7] Трудно быть богом "Hard to Be a God" 1964 1975 1973 novel


Strugatskies books were often adapted for screen, stage, comics and video game. Some of the adaptations are very loose, like Tarkovsky's Stalker, some are not adaptations but rather a new script written by Brothers themselves, like The Sorcerers.


Several writers have to a varying degree paid their tribute to the works of Strugatsky brothers:

  • Sergey Lukyanenko in his duology The Stars Are Cold Toys has the main character visit a world that is in many aspects strikingly similar to Earth from Noon Universe but in truth is revealed to be fundamentally different and oppressive. On his website, Lukyanenko commented that he disagreed with Strugatsky's view on education and upbringing and conceived his duology partly as a polemic criticism of it.[9]
  • The plot of Kir Bulychov's novella from Alisa Selezneva series, Vacations in Space, or the Planet Five-Four, is based on finding a secret base of mysterious "Wanderers" (Странники), an extinct highly advanced civilization. He also depicted his own Zone in the story Save Galya!
  • In late 1990s, a three-volume collection of fiction by notable contemporary Russian science fiction authors, titled The Time of the Apprentices (Время учеников), was published with an endorsement of Boris Strugatsky. Each piece in the collection was a sequel to one of Strugatskys' books.
  • The asteroid 3054 Strugatskia, discovered by Nikolai Stepanovich Chernykh in 1977 was named after the Strugatsky brothers.
  • The fictional planet Pandora depicted in the movie Avatar by James Cameron contains some similarities with the Noon Universe series, where the planet is also called Pandora. Both are filled with jungle, where weird animals and a humanoid race live. Also, the girlfriend of biologist Sidorov in Strugatskys' novel is called "Nava" (as compared with "Na'vi" as the name of the humanoid race in the film). However, Boris Strugatsky rejected theories that his works had been plagiarized despite the similarities.[10]

See also


  1. von Geldern, James (2014). "1968: Strugatsky Brothers". Seventeen Moments in Soviet history. Macalester College. Retrieved May 28, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Alexandr Usov, Strugatsky Brothers bio
  3. Arkadii and Boris Strugatsky, Escape Attempt,
  4. Boris Strugatsky. "Boris Strugatsky: "The seeds of culture do not die even in the soil, which seems to be frozen to the bottom,"". Cobepwehho Cekpetho. Retrieved 14 December 2012. I was an atheist, or as it is now for some reason, say, an agnostic. I (unfortunately or fortunately) I can not bring myself to believe in the existence of a conscious self Omnipotence that controls my life and the life of humanity.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5., Умер Борис Стругацкий. (Russian)
  6. Locus Online, Boris Strugatsky (1933–2012)
  7. 7.0 7.1
  8. IMDb record of TV movie Nesmluvená setkání
  9. Sergei Lukyanenko. "Works. F.A.Q. Full list of questions and answers" (in Russian). Retrieved 2008-02-14.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. OFF-LINE интервью с Борисом Стругацким Январь 2010, 18 January 2010. (Russian)

External links