- Series: Rediscovered Classics
- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Chicago Review Press; Translation edition (June 1, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1613748280
- ISBN-13: 978-1613748282
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 38 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #50,766 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Hard to Be a God (Rediscovered Classics) Paperback – June 1, 2014
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“This long-overdue translation will reintroduce one of the most profound Soviet-era novels to an eager audience.” —Literalab
“The stature of Hard to Be a God as the richest of their [the Strugatsky brothers’] novels—and one of the most popular Russian science-fiction novels—will surely be enhanced by Olena Bormashenko’s nuanced translation, far superior to that of its previous edition.” —World Literature Today
Text: English, Russian (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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So, I want more. This work showed up with very little search effort, and I like it almost as much. Although written half a century ago, it's aged well. In some far future time (when the Soviet ideals have been achieved, of course), Our Hero goes to work as spy/provocateur on some distant planet. For reasons unspecified - convergent evolution, long lost colonization, or lack of imagination - Our Hero and his hi-tech backing gain him a high position in the feudal society. Since this was written and even published within the Soviet world, it examines the pre-Renaissance society in terms of Marxian inevitability (and Soviet superiority).
But things don't actually go according to historical inevitability. Whatever in that world is nasty, brutish, and short appears contagious - agents have to take on things like hallway discussion in the torture school as a routine matter. This, and many other things (often modeled on the practices and even personalities of their own repressive regime) undermine his wall between "them" and "me," however tightly he tried to maintain it.Society degrades into something - maybe a stylized Fascism - that goes the wrong way. Far beyond any point I could make sense of, Our Hero continues to hold sway within this corrupt society of vindictive leaders as they hew their way through the citizenry. In the end, though, "... there was no one left to speak for me."
But my summary over-simplifies the many acute observations written here, and the tone of word choice as it grays toward the end. It's not an easy read, and likely to push some buttons, and actually has two endings (the end, and the what comes after) that don't seem to support the nominal ideals of either society. A bit abrupt, perhaps, but possibly meaningful. I still haven't worked that out for myself.
So, by raw chance, I saw a used DVD for sale, I had to grab it. It's long, a tad under 3hr, and I wonder how this will translate to imagery. But I plan to find out.
Most recent customer reviews
"Hard to Be a God" is an interesting mix of fantasy, sci-fi and politics. In it, people from Earth (read, Russia), are on an alien planet which is almost exactly...Read more