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Gorbovsky listened to the end and said, “That has to do with the content. But what about the form?”

“A good beginning,” Slavin said professionally, “but it turned sour toward the end. Is it really so difficult to think of something besides that spoiled child of yours?”

“Yes, it’s difficult,” Gorbovsky said.

Slavin turned over on his stomach. “You know, Leonid,” he said, “Lenin’s idea about the development of the human race in spirals has always struck me. From the primitive communism of the destitute, through hunger, blood, and wars, through insane injustices, to the communism of endless material and spiritual wealth. I strongly suspect that this is just theory for you, but I come from a time when the turn of the spiral was not yet completed. It was only in movies, but I did see rockets setting fire to villages, people in flames, covered with napalm. Do you know what napalm is? Or a grafter—do you know about that? You see, the human race began with communism and it returned to communism, and with this return a new turn of the spiral begins, a completely fantastic one.”

Kondratev suddenly opened his eyes, stretched, and sat up. “Philosophers,” he said. “A bunch of Aristotles. Let’s hurry up and wash the dishes, and then go swimming, and I’ll show you the Golden Grotto. You haven’t seen anything like it, you many-traveled old men.”

—Moscow-Leningrad, 1960-1966

Macmillan’s Best of Soviet Science Fiction

Arkady and Boris Strugatsky

Roadside Picnic and Tale of the Troika

Prisoners of Power

Definitely Maybe

Noon: 22nd Century

Far Rainbow / The Second Invasion from Mars

The Ugly Swans

Kirill Bulychev Half a Life

Mikhail Emtsev and Eremei Parnov World Soul

Dmitri Bilenkin The Uncertainty Principle

Vladimir Savchenko Self-Discovery


1962, translation 1978

ISBN 0-02-615150-2