"He who makes a beast of himself removes himself from the pain of being human."
Roadside Picnic is a short novel written by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky in 1973. The novel is described as one of the most important, powerful and poignant pieces of Soviet fiction. Andrei Tarkovsky's much admired film Stalker was based on Roadside Picnic.
Red Schuhart is a stalker, one of those misfits who are compelled, in spite of the extreme danger, to venture illegally into the Zone to collect the mysterious artefacts that the alien visitors left scattered around. His life is dominated by the place and the thriving black market in the alien products. Even the nature of his mutant daughter has been determined by the Zone and it is for her that he makes his last, tragic foray into the hazardous and hostile territory.
'The story is carried off with a controlled fierceness that doesn't waver for a minute'
'The best Soviet SF writers'
THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF
'Brilliantly and beautifully written...a truly superb work of science fiction'