Sashura passed on to me the sad news that the great Russian science fiction author Boris Strugatsky died today at 79. (I link to Russian Wikipedia because for some reason he doesn’t get his own English Wikipedia article, only being allowed a share of Arkady and Boris Strugatsky.) I’ve written about Strugatsky books here and here, among other places; I still have many more of them to read, but I’m already aware of how he and his brother towered above almost all writers corralled into the box labeled “sf,” and I’m sorry his heart gave out while he was still in his seventies (as my mother’s did, at 77). I hope English-language papers give him the kind of obit he deserves.


  1. Aw man, what a loss. RIP etc. I have just started rereading “Monday Begins on Saturday” having been reminded of it by Charles Stross’ Laundry Files novels (which, btw, I recommend) and can, once again, only concur with your judgment.

  2. RIP indeed.
    Few were even close to their level of thinkers’ literature.
    Thanks for posting this.

  3. It seems to be my week to defend Wikipedia’s choices about articles. I don’t think that Boris Strugatsky had any notability in the anglophone cultural world at all except as part of “ABS”, and it wouldn’t startle me to find that some people overlooked the “and” between their first names. After all, who thinks of Nathaniel Currier, to say nothing of James Merritt Ives? (Granted, they do have brief Wikipedia articles each.)

  4. (Granted, they do have brief Wikipedia articles each.)
    I rest my case.

  5. AP has filed an obit. Here‘s a pick-up in the Vancouver Sun.

  6. That is sad news. The Eastern European literature I first began reading was science-fiction, a genre I devoured as a teenager, and he (and his brother) was one of the writers who made me see just how perceptive, deep, thought-provoking and just plain witty and enjoyable science-fiction could be.
    I may have expressed this opinion here already, but it bears repeating: ROADSIDE PICNIC is to my mind one of the best first contact stories ever written, perhaps indeed the best one ever (The late Stanislaw Lem’s SOLARIS, FIASKO and HIS MASTER’S VOICE are contenders for the title).

  7. RIP. In my generation of native speakers the books of ABS have become, for many of us, a part of cultural code and, perhaps, the language itself – some people would still use a vivid phrase here and there in conversation; maybe our children will remember and carry on some idioms, and _that_ would be as good a monument to ABS as one can hope.

  8. Here’s my tuppenyworth: some links, including a Snob interview, compiled in the Snail on the Slope blog.
    I’m impressed the Vancouver Sun picked this up. The Guardian certainly didn’t…

  9. Ooops, I take that hastily back. I believe the Guardian will. I still doubt my local paper the Kerryman will carry anything…

  10. Kári Tulinius says

    Roadside Picnic has been for years one of my go-to books to give as birthday presents (Calvino’s Invisible Cities is another). I’ve yet to give it to someone who didn’t end up loving it.

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