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Somethings must have been lost in translation. Proper names and places evoked the wrong meanings for me so maybe it's my fault I didn't enjoy it more. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Boris Strugatsky. The novel follows Anton, an undercover operative from the future planet Earth, in his mission on an alien planet, that is populated by human beings, whose society has not advanced beyond the Middle Ages. The novel's core idea is that human progress throughout the centuries is often cruel and bloody, and that religion and blind faith can be an effective tool of oppression, The novel follows Anton, an undercover operative from the future planet Earth, in his mission on an alien planet, that is populated by human beings, whose society has not advanced beyond the Middle Ages.
The novel's core idea is that human progress throughout the centuries is often cruel and bloody, and that religion and blind faith can be an effective tool of oppression, working to destroy the emerging scientific disciplines and enlightenment. Masquerading as an arrogant nobleman, a dueler, and a brawler, he is never defeated, but yet he can never kill. With his doubt and compassion, and his deep love for a local girl named Kira, Rumata wants to save the kingdom from the machinations of Don Reba, the first minister to the king.
But given his orders, what role can he play? This long overdue translation will reintroduce one of the most profound Soviet-era novels to an eager audience. Arkady and Boris Strugatsky are widely known as the greatest Russian writers of science fiction, and their novel Hard to Be a God is considered one of the greatest of their works. Yet until now the only English version unavailable for over thirty years was based on a German translation, and was full of errors, infelicities, and misunderstandings.
Get A Copy. Hardcover , pages. Published January 1st by Seabury Press first published More Details Original Title. The Noon Universe 4. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Hard to Be a God , please sign up. I'm reading the translation by Onena Bormashenko and have a question for anyone who has read the earlier translation or even better in the original.
There is mention of the regiment of 'Haberdashers'. Sure this is an unintentionally humorous mis-translation of 'Halberdiers'? At least in an abridged version, I read recently less. See 1 question about Hard to Be a God…. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 4. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of Hard to Be a God.
Review is completely rewritten on December 28, Reasons are given below. A group read with Elena and Sarah. Strugatsky brothers have cult following on the territory of the former Soviet Union. How big is the cult? Let me just say that you could not call yourself an intelligent person especially during your college studies if you were not familiar with their works.
Hard to Be a God is their first book among really great ones, of the type that made them an unofficial required reading. The bo Review is completely rewritten on December 28, The book belongs to so-called Noon Universe. This is an utopian world of the future. However even in utopia there are rebels - people trying to get away from safe routine life.
Such people are great candidates for space explorers, and scouts. His mission was to spend some time as a mere observer on an undeveloped planet where people still lived during what looked like Earth's middle ages. Everything was fine except for that pesky clause about not meddling in the society affairs think Prime Directive from Star Trek.
Rumata was so good at being undercover that he made real friends as well as real enemies. What happened when his enemies started killing his friends and drag the society back to dark ages in the process? He had god-like powers to stop bad guys, but could not use them. In other words, Rumata was a god compared to the rest of the people of the planet, but he was also the person with the least power to change anything. At this point an interesting question comes: for how long can you passively observe all the atrocities around you before you would not be able to look at yourself in a mirror without feeling deep shame?
Rumata learned the answer. Another interesting observation relates to the famous saying that if you wear a mask all the time the mask becomes you. I was fascinated following Rumata's slow but sure slide into a persona of a medieval playboy with corresponding attitude - the real one.
The story combines fast-paced action with deep philosophical questions successfully, something very few books manage to pull off.
The first version of the review did not address enough of the character study of the book because I wrote it long after I finished reading. The second version explains some of the fundamental points better - I hope. At least the rating is still the same: 5 stars. If you do not know Russian get English translation by Olena Bormashenko; the other translation is incomprehensible.
View all 19 comments. My Review : It's hard to review a world-famous classic. I have to think the translation is faithful because it captures a voice that lesser translators more often than not miss entirely. The standard adventure plot is fun. In common with a lot of SF written in that era, we don't get a lot of well-drawn characters; in this case only one, Don Rumata himself.
What makes this a classic, then? It would raise few eyebrows today, if it was a new publication. That it is 52 years old makes all the difference; that it is an excellent example of its niche solidifies the place History has given it.
But anyone not already caught in the tentacles of the SF Cthulhu monster might want to pass by without slowing down too much. View all 4 comments. What do you get? A bunch of guys with godlike-powers on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
More or less, yes. Maybe you should consider applying for a consulting job with the above-mentioned reluctant god wannabes. Looks like they could use some advice and stuff. Our main character real name Anton, covert name Rumata is slightly on the brink of such a breakdown. A little. Well, the poor guy is no longer on the brink, really. He has been on this lovely feudal paradise for five years, and is positively swimming in neurasthenia. And fast developing wonderfully bipolar tendencies , too.
Oh yes, most definitely. Believe me, these medieval alien lab rats or is it alien medieval lab rats? I forget really deserve to die a deathly deadly death. Why, you ask? Well mostly because : 1 Their complete lack of personal hygiene is absolutely unacceptable and thoroughly revolting. You could say that, yes.
Hard to Be a God
Somethings must have been lost in translation. Proper names and places evoked the wrong meanings for me so maybe it's my fault I didn't enjoy it more. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover.
This review is part of our fund drive bonus. Read more about Strange Horizons ' funding model, or donate, here. In his introduction to Danilo Kis's A Tomb for Boris Davidovich , a collection of chilling stories about the individual's mental and moral degradation under Stalinism, Joseph Brodsky writes:. Unlike them, he can afford to treat tragedy as a genre, and his art is more devastating than statistics. For Brodsky, it would seem, distance is essential in order to effectively sublimate tragedy into art—distance of time and of place, which provides the necessary creative sanctuary that a writer needs.
The novel follows Anton, an undercover operative from the future planet Earth, in his mission on an alien planet that is populated by human beings whose society has not advanced beyond the Middle Ages. The novel's core idea is that human progress throughout the centuries is often cruel and bloody, and that religion and blind faith can be effective tools of oppression, working to destroy the emerging scientific disciplines and enlightenment. The title 'Hard to Be a God' refers to Anton's known as his alias Don Rumata throughout the book perception of his precarious role as an observer on the planet, for while he has far more advanced knowledge than the people around him, he is forbidden to assist too actively as his assistance would interfere with the natural progress of history. The book pays a lot of attention to the internal world of the main character, showing his own evolution from an emotionally uninvolved 'observer' to the person who rejects the blind belief in theory when confronted with the cruelty of real events.