Home On the spot “The Doomed City” by Arkady Strugatsky & Boris Strugatsky (Russia)

“The Doomed City” by Arkady Strugatsky & Boris Strugatsky (Russia)

21
0

First English translation of a political SF novel, written in the early 1970s and not published in Russia until 1988-89. It’s about an experimental city, populated by people plucked from various times in the 20th century, and run by inscrutable Mentors.”

Arkady and Boris Strugatsky are widely considered the greatest of Russian science fiction masters, and their most famous work, Roadside Picnic, has enjoyed great popularity worldwide.

Yet the novel they worked hardest on, that was their own favorite, and that readers worldwide have acclaimed as their magnum opus, has never before been published in English. “The Doomed City” was so politically risky that the Strugatsky brothers kept its existence a complete secret even from their closest friends for sixteen years after its completion in 1972. It was only published in Russia during perestroika in the late 1980s, the last of their works to see publication. It was translated into a host of European languages, and now appears in English in a major new effort by acclaimed translator Andrew Bromfield.

“The Doomed City” (Russian: Град обреченный/Grad obrechennyy) is a 1975 science fiction novel by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, which is widely considered among the most philosophical of their novels.

1567725

The name originates from an artwork by Nicholas Roerich which “astonished the authors a while ago with its gloomy beauty and the feeling of hopelessness radiating from it.”.

The authors got the first idea of the “The Doomed City” in March 1969. At first, the novel was conceived as an autobiography. The authors say that they never worked longer or more diligently on any other of their works than on this novel. The draft of the novel was finished in 1972. After completion the authors shelved the draft as they did not hope to ever see the novel published. The political allusions, the spirit of despondency and its ideological vacuum made the novel unacceptable for the Soviet regime. The attempted publication would have been stopped by the censors. However, the authors hoped that by submitting the draft to the publishing houses the people who read it may make copies and the novel might find its reader through samizdat. The novel was finally published in 1989 after the controls on publishing were eased during Glasnost and Perestroika.

“The magnum opus of Russia’s greatest science fiction novelists translated into English for the first time Arkady and Boris Strugatsky are widely considered the greatest of Russian science fiction masters, and their most famous work, “Roadside Picnic”, has enjoyed great popularity worldwide.

Yet the novel they worked hardest on, that was their own favorite, and that readers worldwide have acclaimed as their magnum opus, has never before been published in English.

“The Doomed City” was so politically risky that the Strugatsky brothers kept its existence a complete secret even from their closest friends for sixteen years after its completion in 1972. It was only published in Russia during perestroika in the late 1980s, the last of their works to see publication. It was translated into a host of European languages, and now appears in English in a major new effort by acclaimed translator Andrew Bromfield.

“The Doomed City” is set in an experimental city whose sun gets switched on in the morning and switched off at night, bordered by an abyss on one side and an impossibly high wall on the other. Its inhabitants are people who were plucked from twentieth-century history at various times and places and left to govern themselves, advised by Mentors whose purpose seems inscrutable.

Andrei Voronin, a young astronomer plucked from Leningrad in the 1950s, is a die-hard believer in the Experiment, even though his first job in the city is as a garbage collector. And as increasinbly nightmarish scenarios begin to affect the city, he rises through the political hierarchy, with devastating effect.

Boris Strugatsky wrote that the task of writing “The Doomed City”, “was genuinely delightful and fascinating work.”

Readers will doubtless say the same of the experience of reading it.”

This publication of “The Doomed City” reveals the Strugatsky’s great lost masterwork, an allegorical nightmare metropolis fit for the special atlas that gives home to Kafka’s “Castle”,  Charles Finney’s “The Unholy City”, Rex Warner’s “Aerodrome”, and a very select handful of others.” — Jonathan Lethem

This unsettling and intelligent novel’s chief terror resides in its underlying ideas.” — Publishers Weekly

A thought-provoking read.” — Kirkus Reviews

A book that carries an Orwellian punch, and a crazed energy all its own.” — Nature

Put “The Doomed City” in the bookcase next to “1984”, “Farenheight 451”, “Ultima Thule”, and Ballard’s “Kingdom Come”. If you aren’t a SF fan, it fits equally well alongside “Animal Farm”, “Red Harvest”, and “Catch-22”.” —The Huffington Post Canada

The Doomed City

By Arkady Strugatsky, By Boris Strugatsky,

Translated by Bromfield Andrew, Foreword by Dmitry Glukhovsky

Previous articleUkrainian Oleh Shynkarenko’s Distopy “Kaharlyk” Will Be Published in English Language
Next article“Infomocracy: A Novel” by Malka Older (UK)

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.