Saturday, February 1, 2014

A Review of Hard to Be a God-Arkady Strugatsky

Hard to Be a GodHard to Be a God by Arkady Strugatsky
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Writing 5/5
Imagination 5/5
Plot 3.5/5
Setting 4/5
Characters 3/5

My Overall Enjoyment 3.5/5

This is primarily a science fiction book although it isn't "heavy" science fiction; it is fantasy too. The last half is filled with lots of action, violence, torture, and bleak scenes. As far as the writing, it's beautiful. It's an achievement in literature and translation as this was originally written in Russian. Just for that alone it it was fun to read. The story is about an agent sent from an advanced Earth to an alien planet of humans living in a middle ages setting to monitor and advance it's culture. There are many philosophical themes in this book; the nature of man, the use of religion to slow progress, how a society evolves and many others. There are little gems like this throughout;"He listened to the profanity outside the window. What a powerful language! It has incredible entropy!" I freely admit I didn't spend near enough time studying these themes because I read this quickly.

I felt there was a lot of dialogue and I strongly prefer narration so this took away a little of my enjoyment. That being said there are tons of great little conversations. One of my favorites went like this: "Don't abuse terminology, Anton! Terminological confusion brings about dangerous consequences." How true is that! I didn't love this book but it was pretty easy to get through and it was fun and made me think. It can be read in a few hours at most if you are a decent reader. I would like to reread this one day.

I highly recommend this book to science fiction as well as philosophy fans. Recommended for fantasy fans and grimdark fans as I think this will be something they would enjoy.

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