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Definitely Maybe (Neversink) Paperback – February 4, 2014

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Editorial Reviews


Definitely Maybe, further proof that knowledge can be a dangerous game, is a work of towering wit and intelligence."
NPR, Best Books of 2014

“Like the best speculative fiction, Definitely Maybe doesn’t show its age: the fundamental questions it addresses are timeless — and effectively and entertainingly framed by the Strugatsky brothers. It remains an intriguing, unsettling work.”
Complete Review

“A great truth is this: Some discoveries, like the sting of a painful memory, do a number on your psyche. Definitely Maybe accomplishes just that… You’ll laugh, you’ll look around suspiciously, you’ll throw the text across the room. You’ll pick it back up and go on, gladly welcoming the distraction.”

“One of the Strugatsky brothers is descended from Gogol and the other from Chekhov, but nobody is sure which is which. Together they have now proved quite definitely that a visit from a gorgeous blonde, from a disappearing midget, from your mother-in-law, and from the secret police, are all manifestations of a cosmic principle of homeostasis, maybe. This is definitely, not maybe, a beautiful book.”
—Ursula K. Le Guin

“Surely one of the best and most provocative novels I have ever read, in or out of sci-fi.”
—Theodore Sturgeon

“Provocative, delicately paced and set against a rich physical and psychological background, this is one of the best novels of the year.”
—Chicago Sun-Times

Praise for Roadside Picnic

“It’s a book with an extraordinary atmosphere—and a demonstration of how science fiction, by using a single bold central metaphor, can open up the possibilities of the novel.”
—Hari Kunzru, The Guardian

“Gritty and realistic but also fantastical, this is a novel you won’t easily put down—or forget.”  —io9

“It has survived triumphantly as a classic.”
—Publishers Weekly

Praise for the Strugatsky brothers

“The Strugatsky brothers demonstrate that they are realists of the fantastic inasmuch as realism in fantasy betokens a respect for logical consequence, an honesty in deducing all conclusions entirely from the assumed premises.”
—Stanisław Lem

“[In writing Gun, with Occasional Music], I fused the Chandler/Ross MacDonald voice with those rote dystopia moves that I knew backwards and forwards from my study of Ballard, Dick, Orwell, Huxley, and the Brothers Strugatsky.”     
—Jonathan Lethem

“Successive generations of Russian intellectuals were raised on the Strugatskys. Their books can be read with a certain pair of spectacles on as political commentaries on Soviet society or indeed any repressive society.”
—Muireann Maguire, The Guardian

“Their protagonists are often caught up in adventures not unlike those of pulp-fiction heroes, but the story line typically veers off in unpredictable directions, and the intellectual puzzles that animate the plots are rarely resolved. Their writing has an untidiness that is finally provocative; they open windows in the mind and then fail to close them all, so that, putting down one of their books, you feel a cold breeze still lifting the hairs on the back of your neck.”
—The New York Times

About the Author

Arkady (1925–1991) and Boris (1933–2012) Strugatsky were the most acclaimed and beloved science fiction writers of the Soviet era. The brothers were born and raised in Leningrad, the sons of a critic and a teacher. When the city was besieged by the Germans during World War II, Arkady and their father, Natan, were evacuated to the countryside. Boris remained in Leningrad with their mother throughout the war. Arkady was drafted into the Soviet army and studied at the Military Institute of Foreign Languages, graduating in 1949 as an interpreter from English and Japanese. He served as an interpreter in the Far East before returning to Moscow in 1955. Boris studied astronomy at Leningrad State University, and worked as an astronomer and computer engineer. In the mid-1950s, the brothers began to write fiction, and soon published their first jointly written novel, From Beyond. They would go on to write twenty-five novels together, including Roadside Picnic, which was the basis for Andrei Tarkovsky’s film Stalker; Snail on the Slope; Hard to Be a God; and Monday Begins on Saturday, as well as numerous short stories, essays, plays, and film scripts. Their books have been translated into multiple languages and published in twenty-seven countries. After Arkady’s death in 1991, Boris continued writing, publishing two books under the name S. Vititsky. Boris died on November 19, 2012, at the age of seventy-nine. The asteroid 3054 Strugatskia, discovered in 1977, the year Definitely Maybe was first published, is named after the brothers.

Antonina W. Bouis has translated many Russian writers, including Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Tatyana Tolstoya, Sergei Dovlatov, and Andrei Sakharov.

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Product Details

  • Series: Neversink
  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Melville House (February 4, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1612192815
  • ISBN-13: 978-1612192819
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #603,419 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Ian R Slutz on February 20, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is the second book by the Stugastsky brothers that I read in 2014. Definitely Maybe forms the Yin to Hard to Be a God’s Yang. The novel trades fantastic frontiers for the living rooms of the Soviet Union's best scientific minds. Each are on the verge of a breakthrough but one thing leads to another and none find they can get anything done. The personalities of these academics are wonderfully developed. Furthermore, the researcher-to-researcher conversations ring true and remind me of dinner parties with my wife’s lab. The story is quite fine with an equal mix of humor and dread.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By rincewind on February 4, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I have read all of the books of Arkady and Boris Strugatski and they are all great fun and especially well written. Most of them were written during the communist Soviet Union so they have some sentences that were inserted in order for the books to be published during such dark times. Greatly recommend.
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4 of 11 people found the following review helpful By D. Merrill on November 30, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book under the impression it was a new translation of Definitely Maybe. The cover blurb states, "Which may be why Definitely Maybe has never before been available in an uncensored edition, let alone in English." This led me to believe this was in some way different from the version published by Macmillan in 1978. I've compared the two, without a complete reread of both, chapter by chapter. The only difference I spotted is a correction in the Neversink edition of the chapter breaks, leaving the Neversink with one less chapter. It looks like the Macmillan edition had an extra chapter break that wasn't supposed to be there. Otherwise, the text seems identical. There may be minor differences to the text, as the translator's note at the end suggests, but there appear to be the same number of pages here, so it probably isn't that much different. The major new part of the book is a translated three page afterword by Boris Strugatsky. It describes how the book came about and difficulties in its publication. One thing it lacks that I wish it had is an outline of the censored parts that were restored. I now feel the need to read them line by line, side by side.
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1 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Simon Barrett 'Il Penseroso' on October 19, 2014
Format: Paperback
Claustrophobic farce that goes nowhere. Like Buzzati in Italy, if that's the only genre available to you, no doubt you wolf it down; here in the west we're spoiled for choice
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4 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Randy Armorhouse on February 4, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I haven't read it. I'm interested in doing so, but the release date for this "unexpurgated version" is day after tomorr. And yet...

One of quote/blurb/recommendations for this book is from Theodore Sturgeon, who died almost 30 years ago. This is an ongoing problem with many of the books on Amazon (and, to be fair, all other online book dealers), to wit: there is no way I can see of obtaigning the ORIGINAL publication date from the information Amazong provides. Sometimes it is mentioned in a review, but on a very hit or miss basis. I'm sure Amazon sells a lot of books this way to people who are misled into believing what they are buying was written recently.
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