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Hard To Be A God (S.F. MASTERWORKS): Arkady…
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Hard To Be A God (S.F. MASTERWORKS): Arkady Strugatsky (Original 1964; 2015. Auflage)

von Arkady Strugatsky (Autor), Boris Strugatsky (Autor)

MitgliederRezensionenBeliebtheitDurchschnittliche BewertungDiskussionen
7682422,716 (3.76)28
Don Rumata has been sent from Earth to the medieval kingdom of Arkanar with instructions to observe and to save what he can. 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.… (mehr)
Mitglied:paulgtr234
Titel:Hard To Be A God (S.F. MASTERWORKS): Arkady Strugatsky
Autoren:Arkady Strugatsky (Autor)
Weitere Autoren:Boris Strugatsky (Autor)
Info:Gateway (2015), Edition: 01, 256 pages
Sammlungen:Deine Bibliothek
Bewertung:
Tags:to-read

Werk-Informationen

Es ist nicht leicht, ein Gott zu sein von Arkady Strugatsky (1964)

  1. 10
    Einsatz der Waffen von Iain M. Banks (prezzey)
    prezzey: Banks seems to have been inspired by the Strugatskys' concept of Progressors. Similar theme, different perspective (Western vs Eastern bloc) - if you liked one, you will probably be interested in the other.
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460
  revirier | Dec 13, 2021 |
This is my third Strugatsky work (The Dead Mountaineer's Inn and Roadside Picnic) and likely not the last. The premise is the future (violence and political turmoil are a thing of the past) with space travel and concern to help prevail. Having come across a planet so earth-like as to be virtually identical (homo sapiens top of the food chain) but mired in medieval chaos, 'historians' are sent to 'observe' and where possible tweak things in the direction of enlightenment. The soviet way has prevailed in this future world, and the initial story was meant to be apolitical and fun--except in the USSR of the early 1960's (when the book was written)--that was not an option. The protagonist/hero, Don Rumata (Anton) has been in this world for three years, posing as a powerful and wealthy aristocrat in a very class/caste oriented society, top dog. He isn't a god, but he might as well be with his unlimited gold and impervious armour. Rumata has been trying to save anyone who shows any spark but even the best are not ready to progress beyond their own personal situation/salvation. He feels increasingly hopeless, intuiting a situation beyond anything that ever happened on earth, that any of their "Basis Theory" of history encompasses. The man behind this, Don Reba (oddly resonant with Beria) has seized control of the area Rumata is observing, but Rumata cannot figure him out--no motivation or purpose is perceivable, just ever increasing violence and chaos which moreover Reba doesn't even, really, seem to relish but is compelled to keep on with even to his own downfall. Knowing great violence will erupt the next day, Rumata ponders: "Two hundred thousand people! To a visitor from Earth they all had something in common. It was probably the fact that almost without exception, they were not yet humans in the modern sense of the word, but blanks, unfinished pieces, which only the bloody centuries of history could one day fashion into true men, proud and free." This passage, on p 145 of my copy, lies at the heart of where the story, meant once to be light-hearted adventure, turned into an exploration of the constant tension between pure self-interest and working for the benefit of the aggregate. Kind of timely. Or perhaps always timely. Not an SF light read. As with like Roadside Picnic a book with so much in it, humor, imagination, heart and soul and seriousness. The greatest flaw is that, apparently, in the future, women don't play much of a part in the big affairs. The Strugatskys' were men of their time in that regard after all. **** ( )
2 abstimmen sibylline | Dec 1, 2021 |
My second book by the Strugatsky brothers, and while I didn't really love Roadside Picnic I felt it was good enough to try another before I decided whether to avoid them in future or not. I can safely say this will be my last.

Hard to be a God has a storyline that I really thought would interest me. An agent from an Earth set in the future travels back through time to another world to see how they are developing. He is not allowed to intervene (think Star Trek Prime Directive) no matter how much he may disagree or dislike what he sees around him. Can he continue to keep his origins a secret and not pollute the timeline?

Firstly the positives, I fully appreciate this was a book written under an Iron soviet rule and the plot is a veiled representation of the regime people had to live under. Therefore they were restricted in what they could write to get past the censors and also needed to make the criticisms fairly identifiable but without being too obvious. The plot idea was original for the time written and surely would have created an interest as the world starts to look to the skies and the unknown of space etc.

For some reason, and I fully appreciate I am in the minority as there are many reviews shouting the praises of Hard to be a God, I just hated it. I found the plot irregular, far too many characters and pages and pages of babble. This was one of the rare occasions when I could actually read a full page and be none the wiser about what I had just read. It literally bored me to tears. Confession time, I read around 2 thirds and then cast it aside, so maybe there was some sort of epiphany moment in the last 80 pages, but I will never find out, and if I am honest I pretty much doubt it. ( )
  Bridgey | Jan 21, 2021 |
The more I think about this book the better it gets.

It starts rather abruptly with a prologue that shows three youngsters wandering around a wilderness to no real purpose. The real function of this prologue isn't clear until the epilogue...

Then suddenly everyone has grown up and we're on a different planet which is remarkably like Earth (same ecology, humans live in a feudal society with mediaeval technology) a bizarre coincidence that is never addressed. We also learn that back home on Earth a genuinely Communist society has taken root globally and technology has advanced greatly - interstellar travel is practised, after all. The visitors from Earth are historical observers - they are supposed to be collecting data to support the prevaling theory of history which dictates that there is only one eventual result of human history - the Communist State of course. But things seem to be going wrong - an alarming individual, a minister to the King, seems to be trying to eliminate all centres of learning and all literate individuals. Is it a bid to establish a Totalitarian State? That shouldn't happen according to the accepted theory of history.

The observers from Earth are not supposed to interfere, but it's hard to be a god and remain aloof when surrounded by misery, disease, ignorance, brutality and persecution. What's the right thing to do?

It's a thematically complex novel that nevertheless could be read by a young person simply as a kind of adventure tale. Unsurprisingly many of the themes are political; censorship and suppression of learning, Totalitarianism and will to power, Communist theory, religious oppression, but some are as much ethical: is interference in an attempt to improve the lot of the masses justified or not? And (perhaps the most interesting and unexpected to me) if you take a person from an ideal society, Utopian, safe, stable, moral, with fair and equal distribution of resources and put him in the antithetical situation, largely isolated from his peers, what happens? Does he maintain the moral code of home, or does the society around him eventually corrupt him? What exactly happens at the end is left a little ambiguous but the implication is clear. The impact is made clear in the epilogue, back on Earth, with the three friends from the prologue re-united.

There's an afterword to this translation which appears to date back to 1997, by the surviving Strugatsky brother. It's as fascinating as the book itself, setting a context for its writing that is very illuminating. Initially a straight-forward SF adventure story in the vein of Dumas' Musketeers novels was the sole aim, but it was the early 1960s and the political situation in Russia inevitably reared its ugly head. A furore arose regarding whether the SF community's younger elements' satirical and critical attacks on the status quo of political oppression, ever changing approved political doctrine, hypocrisy were allowable. Older writers, government shills, were loudly complaining. The regime was visibly critical of much of the new art, visual, literary or even musical. Was there going to be a crack-down?

Well, the Strugatskies decided to risk it and turned their prospective piece of pure escapism into an attack on those in power, Communist theory, Totalitarianism in general and the will to power of individuals. The crack-down never came and the book was not treated severely by the censors, though their editor persuaded the authors to change the name of the villain from Rebia (anagram of Beria, a prominent politician of the time) to the marginally more subtle Reba.

The other thing the afterword establishes is that there was a thriving market for SF in Soviet era Russia, big enough to have a society specifically for SF authors, a fact that it would be hard to believe given only the evidence of what has been published in English translation. Another observation is that just as social and political concerns are frequently explored in English language SF, so they were in the Russian SF of that time, with the same somewhat reduced level of scrutiny by dismissive people in power. (Compare with Solzhenitsyn, who published One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich in 1962, the same year Hard to be a God was being written).

I'll certainly be looking for the other Strugatsky books with editions in English but I'm also interested in picking up any other Russian SF available in translation to further compare and contrast the trends and themes of Russian and Anglo-American SF. ( )
1 abstimmen Arbieroo | Jul 17, 2020 |
Wonderful premise, which never really develops into anything worthwhile. The idea of the moral struggle of a powerful alien in a barbrous medieval hell is rich with possibilities, from the philosophical contradictions of 'the prime directive', to the wretched temptations and corruptions of visceral decadence. This isn't the book to flesh any of those out. Barely an allegory, merely the thinest examination of it's premise, constantly undermined by cheap drama, wish fulfillment and deus et machina. ( )
  GDiddy | May 5, 2020 |
keine Rezensionen | Rezension hinzufügen

» Andere Autoren hinzufügen (11 möglich)

AutorennameRolleArt des AutorsWerk?Status
Arkady StrugatskyHauptautoralle Ausgabenberechnet
Strugatsky, BorisHauptautoralle Ausgabenbestätigt
Aksionov, S.Cover photoCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Bormashenko, OlenaÜbersetzerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Buchner, HermannÜbersetzerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Freas, KellyUmschlagillustrationCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Kunzru, HariVorwortCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Olson, SarahUmschlaggestalterCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Specht, ArnoÜbersetzerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Strugatsky, BorisNachwortCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Thole, C. A. M.UmschlagillustrationCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
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Gebräuchlichster Titel
Originaltitel
Alternative Titel
Ursprüngliches Erscheinungsdatum
Figuren/Charaktere
Wichtige Schauplätze
Wichtige Ereignisse
Zugehörige Filme
Preise und Auszeichnungen
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Epigraph (Motto/Zitat)
In jenen Tagen war es, als ich erkannte
was es bedeutet, zu leiden;
was es bedeutet, sich zu schämen;
was es bedeutet, zu verzweifeln.

-Pierre Abélard
Ich muß euch folgendes einschärfen.
Während unseres Einsatzes werdet ihr
zur Aufrechterhaltung der Autorität
bei den Geschützen stehen.
Von den Waffen Gebrauch zu machen
ist euch aber unter keinen Umständen erlaubt.
Unter keinen Umständen.
Habt ihr mich verstanden?

-Ernest Hemingway
Widmung
Erste Worte
Der Kolben von Ankas Armbrust war aus schwarzem Kunststoff.
Als Rumata am Grab des heiligen Micky – dem siebten und letzten auf dieser Strecke – vorbeikam, war es schon ganz dunkel.
Zitate
Letzte Worte
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Anerkannter DDC/MDS
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Wikipedia auf Englisch (1)

Don Rumata has been sent from Earth to the medieval kingdom of Arkanar with instructions to observe and to save what he can. 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.

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Buchbeschreibung
Don Rumata schickt sich an, mit Richtschwert, und kugelsicherer Weste einen isolierten Staat des Terrors und der Willkür zu vermenschlichen. Irgendwo auf einem fernen Planeten, irgendwann im »Mittelalter«. Doch bevor es jenem mit sprühendem Witz und übermenschlichen Kräften ausgestatteten »Herrn Saubermann« gelingt, ein Häuflein Auserwählter in eine bessere Zukunft zu führen, gilt es, eine Kette von unvorstellbaren Abenteuern zu überleben, wie diese tolldreiste Gesellschaftssatire im Gewand eines utopischen Romans zeigt. Eine fürwahr fantastische Vision, die, wie sich erweist, beileibe nicht nur in einer unbekannten Welt, sondern hier und heute Realität sein könnte - oder ist?
Zusammenfassung in Haiku-Form

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Durchschnitt: (3.76)
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3 31
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