Review – Hard To Be A God

Cover of Hard to Be A God by Boris and Arkady StrugatskyHard to Be a God, Arkady & Boris Strugatsky, trans. Olena Bormashenko

I was fascinated by the sound of this when I came across it in the library, because I really liked Roadside Picnic, and because the foreword mentions parallels with Star Trek and Iain M. Banks’ Culture novels. However, I found this… pretty much unreadable. There’s a sort of opaqueness I associate with reading Russian novels in translations, but in spades. Supposedly, this translation is much more readable than the old one, which was done via German, but… if that’s the case, I hate to think what the old one was like.

It’s really disappointing, honestly, because the foreword makes it sound interesting, it’s blurbed by Ursula Le Guin, and the parallels mentioned are there. But I couldn’t even hold onto the meaning of the action — why did this character say that, what was the significance of that…

I might try again at some other time, maybe with the other translation, or with some future translation. The setting itself — being fairly traditional-fantasy-esque — doesn’t bother me, and I did, as I said, enjoy Roadside Picnic. Hm.

Rating: 1/5

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