Authors: Arkady Strugatsky
, further proof that knowledge can be a dangerous game, is a work of towering wit and intelligence.”
NPR, BEST BOOKS OF 2014
“Like the best speculative fiction,
doesn't show its age: the fundamental questions it addresses are timelessâand effectively and entertainingly framed by the Strugatsky brothers. It remains an intriguing, unsettling work.”
THE COMPLETE REVIEW
“One of the Strugatsky brothers is descended from Gogol and the other from Chekhov, but nobody is sure which is which. Together they have now proved quite definitely that a visit from a gorgeous blonde, from a disappearing midget, from your mother-in-law, and from the secret police, are all manifestations of a cosmic principle of homeostasis, maybe. This is definitely, not maybe, a beautiful book.”
URSULA K. LE GUIN
“Surely one of the best and most provocative novels I have ever read, in or out of sci-fi.”
“Provocative, delicately paced and set against a rich physical and psychological background, this is one of the best novels of the year.”
“It's a book with an extraordinary atmosphereâand a demonstration of how science fiction, by using a single bold central metaphor, can open up the possibilities of the novel.”
“Gritty and realistic but also fantastical, this is a novel you won't easily put downâor forget.”
“It has survived triumphantly as a classic”
PRAISE FOR THE
“The Strugatsky brothers demonstrate that they are realists of the fantastic inasmuch as realism in fantasy betokens a respect for logical consequence, an honesty in deducing all conclusions entirely from the assumed premises.”
Gun, with Occasional Music
], I fused the Chandler/Ross MacDonald voice with those rote dystopia moves that I knew backwards and forwards from my study of Ballard, Dick, Orwell, Huxley, and the Brothers Strugatsky.”
“Successive generations of Russian intellectuals were raised on the Strugatskys. Their books can be read with a certain pair of spectacles on as political commentaries on Soviet society or indeed any repressive society.”
“Their protagonists are often caught up in adventures not unlike those of pulp-fiction heroes, but the story line typically veers off in unpredictable directions, and the intellectual puzzles that animate the plots are rarely resolved. Their writing has an untidiness that is finally provocative; they open windows in the mind and then fail to close them all, so that, putting down one of their books, you feel a cold breeze still lifting the hairs on the back of your neck.”
THE NEW YORK TIMES
were the most acclaimed and beloved science fiction writers of the Soviet era. The brothers were born and raised in Leningrad. Arkady was drafted into the Soviet army and studied at the Military Institute of Foreign Languages, graduating in 1949 as an interpreter from English and Japanese. He served as an interpreter in the Far East before returning to Moscow in 1955. Boris studied astronomy at Leningrad State University, and worked as an astronomer and computer engineer. In the mid-1950s, the brothers began to write fiction, and soon published their first jointly written novel,
. They would go on to write twenty-five novels together, including
, which was the basis for Andrei Tarkovsky's film
Snail on the Slope
Hard to Be a God
Monday Begins on Saturday
The Dead Mountaineer's Inn
, as well as numerous short stories, essays, plays, and film scripts. Their books have been translated into multiple languages and published in twenty-seven countries. After Arkady's death in 1991, Boris continued writing, publishing two books under the name S. Vititsky. Boris died on November 19, 2012, at the age of seventy-nine. The asteroid 3054 Strugatskia, discovered in 1977, is named after the brothers.
is a writer and translator who lives in Rockland, Maine. His translations of Alexander Pushkin's
Tales of Belkin
and Alexander Kuprin's
were published by Melville House.
is an award-winning novelist and editor. His
New York Times
âbestselling Southern Reach Trilogy was named one of
's ten best fiction books of 2014, in addition to many other commendations. His fiction has been translated into twenty languages and has appeared in the Library of America's
American Fantastic Tales
and multiple year's-best anthologies. He writes nonfiction for
The New York Times
Los Angeles Times
, among other publications.
THE NEVERSINK LIBRARY
I was by no means the only reader of books on board the
Several other sailors were diligent readers, though their studies did not lie in the way of belles-lettres. Their favourite authors were such as you may find at the book-stalls around Fulton Market; they were slightly physiological in their nature. My book experiences on board of the frigate proved an example of a fact which every book-lover must have experienced before me, namely, that though public libraries have an imposing air, and doubtless contain invaluable volumes, yet, somehow, the books that prove most agreeable, grateful, and companionable, are those we pick up by chance here and there; those which seem put into our hands by Providence; those which pretend to little, but abound in much
THE DEAD MOUNTAINEER'S INN
Originally published under the title
U Pogibshyego Al'pinista
Copyright Â© 1970 by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky
Translation copyright Â© 2015 by Josh Billings
Introduction copyright Â© 2015 by Jeff VanderMeer
First Melville House printing: March 2015
Melville House Publishing
145 Plymouth Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
8 Blackstock Mews
London N4 2BT
Â Â Â Â Â Â Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Strugatskii, Arkadii, 1925â1991, author.
Â Â Â [Otel'Â “U pogibshego al'pinista”. English]
Â Â Â The Dead Mountaineer's Inn : (one more last rite for the detective genre) / Arkady and Boris Strugatsky; translated by Josh Billings; introduction by Jeff VanderMeer.
Â Â Â Â pages; cm
ISBN 978-1-61219-432-5 (pbk.)
ISBN 978-1-61219-433-2 (ebook)
Â Â I. Strugatskii, Boris, 1933â2012, author. II. Billings, Josh, 1980â translator. III. VanderMeer, Jeff, writer of introduction. IV. Title.
Design by Adly Elewa
Every man wears the face he deserves
.” Or put another way, the mournful cry of “Luarvik L. Luarvik!” from within the besieged Dead Mountaineer's Inn might as well be the mating call of some obscure species of Alps-dwelling penguin. Who is this Mr. Luarvik? Do we believe his version of dire events, or do we believe the hypnotist/motorcycle enthusiast? How about the physicist? Surely a scientist is more objective than a magician!
But how can you be sure when dealing with preternatural events that might just be very imaginative lies?
This is the dilemma facing the earnest but sometimes stumbling detective Peter Glebsky who narrates the novel you hold in your hands. Poor manâhe just wanted a vacation away from the family, and instead has to not only solve a crime but also parse varying versions of reality. Back home, he's a cop who covers “bureaucratic crimes, embezzlement, forgery, fraudulent papers.” Not exactly someone who deals withÂ â¦Â
. Much less metaphysics!
Also: Avalanche! Ghosts! Pranks! A lot of creeping around at night!
Confused? Don't be. Think instead of the movie
or any number of British slapstick mystery-comedies. Perhaps with a hint of
The Twilight Zone
. Because not only does every man wear the face he deserves, but in
The Dead Mountaineer's Inn
the Strugatsky brothers, creators of the Forbidden Zone
in their classic science-fiction novel
, give every reader the farce they deserveâwith possible infernal devices thrown in to spice up the recipe.