his book was the original basis of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. game world, although in the book, the Zones are quite small and nobody lives in them, they are everywhere dangerous. A movie was also made by Andrei Tarkovsky, though it involves only a highly altered version of the last chapter with a brief introduction to Guta and Earnest the barkeeper.
Roadside Picnic is a very entertaining read but very gritty, the book I read is the original finished manuscript which took several years of alterations to be accepted by the censors. Fortunately you can read the original. Russian science fiction frequently carried ideas that would never have been allowed in other genres.
The book centers around the character Red Schuart, a professional treasure hunter of artifacts from the Zone, in his home town Harmont, where 1 of the five visitations of some alien beings and a quick exit thereafter, caused regions in which phenomena called anomalies distort the laws of physics. Within Zones could be found strange objects with various kinds of effects, some very dangerous, some beneficial.
Governments declared them out of bounds and cordoned them off with military patrols who would shoot anyone seen trying to go in or out. The artifacts fetched handsome prices on the black market, and people like Red and many others risked death to find paths between the deadly anomaly fields, and locate these artifacts.
The Governments also set up scientific research into the Zone and at much lower prices, legal retrieval of artifacts was a possible kind of work. Red is doing some of both.
Red is married to a woman named Guta, and they have a little girl called Monkey. The zone has an effect on Stalkers that makes their children turn into something non-human. After many who were around the Zones, emigrated elsewhere, the frequency of bad things happening massively increased and eventually they were sent back. Dead people rose from their graves and insisted on living in their old houses but eventually they were being removed.
The final chapter is a corker, it is hard to stop when you get to it.
I love this book and it got better on a second read.
Rating: * * * * *
PS: I am getting the urge to read a lot of books right now, so:
We can't stop here! This is Whale country!
Loki was born in Australia, now is wandering Amsterdam again after 9 months in Sofia, Bulgaria. IT generalist, physics theorist, futurist and cyber-agorist. Loki's life mission is to establish a secure, distributed layer atop the internet, and enable space migration, preferably while living in a beautiful mountain house somewhere with a good woman, and lots of farm animals and gardens, where he can also go hunting and camping.
I'm a thoughtocaster, a conundrummer in a band called Life Puzzler. I've flipped more lids than a monkey in a soup kitchen, of the mind. - Xavier, Renegade Angel
All images in the above post are either original from me, or taken from Google Image Search, filtered for the right of reuse and modification, and either hotlinked directly, or altered by me
Oops. I broke the tags. sorta fixed now