10 best books by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky

Review of the best according to the editorial board. On the selection criteria. This material is subjective and does not constitute advertising and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

The Strugatsky brothers, Arkady and Boris are classics of the genre of social fiction. Their works are known in many countries – the texts have been translated into 50 languages, based on stories and novels, films have been shot that have become classics of cinema. The co-authors were the first in the literary world who introduced the abbreviation for the initial letters of the first and last name ABS as a signature to their works, then their works began to be designated in the same way. We present the rating, which includes the 10 best books by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, according to experts and readers.

Rating of the best books by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky

Nomination a place composition rating
Rating of the best books by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky 1 It's Hard to Be God (1964) 4.9
2 Roadside Picnic (1972) 4.8
3 Monday Starts Saturday (1965) 4.8
4 Doomed city 4.7
5 Inhabited Island (1969) 4.7
6 Snail on the slope (1965) 4.7
7 A beetle in an anthill (1979) 4.6
8 A Billion Years Before the End of the World (1977) 4.5
9 Land of crimson clouds (1959) 4.5
10 Predatory Things of the Century (1965) 4.4

It's Hard to Be God (1964)

Author of the book: Strugatsky Arkady and Boris

Rating: 4.9

IT'S HARD TO BE GOD (1964). Jpg

The undisputed leader of the rating is the fantastic story 'It's hard to be God', which was originally conceived as an easy adventure story, turned out to be deep, touching on the social problems of society from an unusual point of view. A work about attempts to change society, the essence of its people, and the action has been transferred from Earth to another planet, into the distant future. Civilization is stuck in development, scientists are trying to pull it to a new level, without thinking about the ethics of the methods used. What feeling will win – human or social, when it is known for sure – it will simply not be possible to save everyone, ordinary people, and the closest and loved ones?

The story partially formed the concept of fraternal assistance, similar to the one that the USSR provided to neighboring countries, but the Strugatskys did not share this opinion. By the way, one of the key roles of the story went to a woman, which is a rarity for authors. It's Hard to Be God has several high-budget film adaptations that, unfortunately, weren't nearly as successful as the novel.

Roadside Picnic (1972)

Author of the book: Strugatsky Arkady and Boris

Rating: 4.8


The second in the ranking book 'Roadside Picnic' was so resonant that Andrei Tarkovsky decided to shoot a two-part film 'Stalker' based on it. The film became part of the golden fund of Russian cinema, however, it does not fully correspond to the content of the story, so we still recommend reading the work so as not to get into a mess when storming the abyss between generations of writers.

The fantastic story “Roadside Picnic” is a story about human happiness and the difficult path of its development. In one area of ​​planet Earth, after the invasion of aliens, there is a separate zone in which the laws of physics in the usual sense do not work. Many people want to get there to obtain valuable scientific data and artifacts, but it is almost impossible to do this, and it is dangerous for life, therefore it is forbidden. However, the main character finds a way to enter the Zone in order to get artifacts and resell them on the black market.

The book 'Roadside Picnic' is one of the most beloved among ABS fans, probably because it contains a shock dose of philanthropy and mystery. However, fans of „S. T. A. L. K. E.R. “one shouldn't place any special hopes on the work, the probability of disappointment is high.

Monday Starts Saturday (1965)

Author of the book: Strugatsky Arkady and Boris

Rating: 4.8


Another noteworthy story is Monday Starts Saturday, written in 1965. The comic story ABS, which is jokingly called a 'fairy tale for young scientists', is dedicated to people who truly love their work. This approach to business is an ideal remedy for depressive disorders. The story became the embodiment of the heyday of science and technology in the 60s in the USSR, an anthem of the enthusiastic scientists of that time, who set out to reveal the secrets of the Universe.

The plot of the work consists of three blocks: 'Vanity around the sofa' introduces the reader to the course, the second 'Vanity of vanities' is a little satirical, written in the genre of polemics, but the most interesting and lively third 'Everyday vanity' reveals the creative and scientific nature of the research process a key role in which imagination and unusual thinking play.

Doomed city

Author of the book: Strugatsky Arkady and Boris

Rating: 4.7

Doom City.jpg

The Doomed City novel was written in 1972, but did not get published until 1988-1989. The work is full of deep meaning and epic moments, but at the present time it has somewhat lost its relevance due to the bygone era of communism, which is not understandable to all current readers, namely, the text is devoted to it. The Doomed City was not published for a long time precisely because of the main idea – the answer to the communist system, which was so zealous in the USSR.

The action develops in the City, which does not exist in our time and space. Its population is people from different worlds and eras, who have fallen into reality to undergo an experiment, for the implementation of which no initial information is given, therefore the participants act in accordance with their premonitions, focusing only on the proposed events.

The writing style of the Doomed City is complicated, the plot is full of at first glance incomprehensible insertions and events characteristic of the Strugatskys, especially in an attempt to create a philosophical work.

Inhabited Island (1969)

Author of the book: Strugatsky Arkady and Boris

Rating: 4.7


The novel 'Inhabited Island' ABS is part of Kammerer's literary trilogy, it is the only one where there is a third-person narration. The work is dedicated to a young man from Earth who lived in the XXII century, who found himself on the alien planet Saraksh due to a spaceship crash during a flight. He finds himself in a hostile world full of apocalyptic cruelty, incomprehensible, different from the earthly. Despite the difficulties, the encounter with betrayal, lies, greed, in the process the hero manages not only to adapt to new realities, but also to find friends.

The story 'Inhabited Island' was filmed by Fyodor Bondarchuk, performances were staged on it, a computer game was created.

Snail on the slope (1965)

Author of the book: Strugatsky Arkady and Boris

Rating: 4.7

Snail on the slope (1965). Jpg

The next in the rating is a difficult story from the point of view of understanding, 'The Snail on the Slope' – the text contains a lot of hidden meaning and ideas that are re-discovered with each subsequent acquaintance with the book. In the work of 2 storylines – one takes place in the Office of Forest Affairs, where the main character goes to visit the forest, but turns out to be hostage to complex bureaucratic structures and corridors.

The second line takes place in the Forest itself, where, in turn, an employee of the biological station gets lost, who wants to get to the City, but the Forest does not let him go, drawing him into his heart. The two plots are united by a common progress, incomprehensible, but developing, in spite of everything. Eternal flight from the environment and the inability to hide from it is the main message of the authors.

The story “Snail on the Slope” became a turning point in the work of the Strugatsky brothers, with this work they make the transition from the science of the 60s to the description of the future. By the way, it was the ABS in their texts that put forward the assumption that the fantasy image of the future drawn by people, most likely, will not correspond to reality.

A beetle in an anthill (1979)

Author of the book: Strugatsky Arkady and Boris

Rating: 4.6


The story 'The Beetle in the Anthill' is part of the trilogy about Maxim Kammerer, and is not connected with the meaning of the first book. In the work, the authors showed an experiment, observation of special services in an unknown future. The main character, 40-year-old Maxim Kammerer, a police officer, is tasked with finding Professor Lev Abalkin, who has disappeared in an unknown direction. As it turns out later, Leo is not an earthly man, but the fruit of the embryos of alien civilizations. The phenomenon of children who appeared in this way was studied by scientists, and the professor became aware of the secret of his birth, which caused his sudden disappearance.

As a red thread, the Strugatskys carried the character of power structures through the work – their actions do not always take into account the value of human life, often lead to suffering and even death of innocent people.

A Billion Years Before the End of the World (1977)

Author of the book: Strugatsky Arkady and Boris

Rating: 4.5


In the story 'A Billion Years Before the End of the World', for the first time, the theme of the Universe is touched upon, and not the social sphere, which is atypical for the work of the ABS. The plot develops in Leningrad, where astrophysicist Dmitry Malyanov does not stop doing science even on vacation. The topic of work on which he is working is the interaction of stars and matter in the Galaxy. But as soon as a scientist comes to the essence of this question, life throws up all sorts of obstacles for him, and the physicist understands that it is no coincidence that the Universe itself is trying to stop the process.

Malyanov is approached by his colleagues in the 'scientific workshop', all of them have a similar problem – new knowledge has also been achieved in mathematics, biology and other branches of science, but some force prevents their elaboration. Friends find in the events taking place some patterns, but not the reason – the events do not look like actions organized by competitors or spiteful critics. Probably, the Universe itself is involved in this.

Will a group of scientists be able to withstand the force of a universal scale?

Land of crimson clouds (1959)

Author of the book: Strugatsky Arkady and Boris

Rating: 4.5


The fantastic story 'The Land of Crimson Clouds' reveals such a problem as the welfare of society and individual needs of a person. In parallel, the development of technical progress is taking place in the plot, and human exploration of space has fallen into the lens of attention.

Authors from the 50s are transferred to the 1990s, to the country of victorious communism (SSKR). Alexey Bykov, a specialist in nuclear-powered transport vehicles, was sent to Moscow, to the State Committee for Interplanetary Communications. He receives an offer to go to Venus as part of a space expedition in order to test a photonic planetary flight developed for interplanetary travel and research. At the same time, scientists will have to study matter in the anomalous zone of Venus. The team is faced with a life-threatening task – to land at an unusual zone and survive, while coping with the technical features of their aircraft and fulfilling their mission.

The story is interesting with an unpredictable plot and detail – it is interesting to observe the imagination of the authors who are trying to look into the future.

Predatory Things of the Century (1965)

Author of the book: Strugatsky Arkady and Boris

Rating: 4.4


At the end of the rating, experts present the Strugatskys' story “Predatory Things of the Century”, dedicated to the problem of low moral and moral values ​​of a person. The main delusion of humanity is the comparison of material and spiritual well-being, which basically do not correspond to each other. The ABS has foreseen the modern consumer leanings of rich people and the world at large.

Former space pilot Zhilin finds himself in a city with pronounced bourgeois sentiments: little work, a lot of entertainment, many services along with a low level of spiritual development. The hero's task is to find a path to the manufacturers of the newest drug, about which practically nothing is known. After going through a difficult search path, Zhilin learns: the dangerous substance is not so secret, many residents of the town own the recipe for its preparation, and the spread of muck is simply spontaneous. The main and only way to combat its consumption is to change the outlook of the population and reduce the consumer level. Can this be done? The hero remains in the city, quitting his job in order to find like-minded people among the population, and together to overcome spontaneous drug addiction.

Attention! This rating is subjective and does not constitute an advertisement and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

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