Book 15: Roadside Picnic By Arkady and Boris Strugatsky

A haunting, humbling, minimalist science fiction story about the aftermath of an alien visitation and its (often unforeseeable) consequences.

I had originally planned to read Romance of Three Kingdoms starting last week. That plan fell through. I'll be outright honest when I say I couldn't get past the first few pages. I think I'll be ready for it now. This poorly translated book follows two characters in this uniquely Russian world. Aliens have been and gone, leaving Zones, filled with amazing trinkets. The lives of the Stalkers (men who make their living breaking into the Zones and bringing back objects.) take center stage. The book mostly follows Red, quite possibly the best Stalker in the business. The trinkets and traps are the true stars of the show though, infinite batteries, indescribable magnetic plates, The Meatgrinder, all really lite your imagination. In between touching segments dealing with Red and his family, and tense, nail-biting excursions into The Zone, the book takes us along with a scientist discussing theories for the Zone and its many bizarre and strange property's.

The issue with the book, at least the version I read, is that it is awfully translated. This was distracting in many places but I'm certain you could find a better one than the free version that's online. Other than that, the style of writing isn't for everyone and it leaves a lot for you to make up your own mind about.

Maybe now, after suffering through Roadside picnic and coming out richer for it, I can venture into the Zone once more and maybe even pull out a trinket.

The Door is closing

Hey everyone, hows it going? Good? Good. Just gonna walk up here and take a massive dump on you.

I think I've said before I had problems with the university's funding system before. I believe I took offense that my money should go toward cheap pretend science that is a waste of life, time and money for everyone involves (except the ones getting my money I suppose). The solution however was not to double the university fees. That wasn't it at all.

Let me tell you all a bit of a story. Back when I was much smaller, my school was getting renovations and new awesome stuff for the playground. We're talking climbing frames man. All kinds of shit. I was psyched. Unfortunatly building took a bit longer than planned and I wasn't around to see the totally rad climbing frame. I was so peeved that I got a few friends together and under the cover of darkness we wrote "G-TOWN PRIMARY SUCKS" in some drying cement. Sorry about that guys.

Fast forward 5 years and I'm in the last year of England's High school equivilent. Half the school is closed down and to get anywhere you had to follow a route that would leave Theseus scratching his head. Every day lessons and breaks were interrupted and in some cases utterly destroyed by bulldozers, cranes and workmen. This was all in aid of a new building they were putting up to replace the football courts and the inappropriately named Math Houses. Once again I didn't get to see it for myself but passing by one day I found they had not only finished this massive, multistory super modern building, but also erected an amazing military style obstacle course. Who knows how many hours of my childhood could have been made radical by the addition of a military obstacle course? Truely one of the biggest injustices of our time.

Yet again it seems I'm about to miss out on some amazing academic innovation. The ability to charge whatever you want, however you want, when ever you want. Fantastic. I'm really glad the new government isn't trying to ease into its place as Evil Doers and have decide to go the White Cat and Long-Scar-Over-The-Eye route of government. If anyone needs me, I'll be lowering myself into the pit of ravenous piranha.

As a quick aside. It also marks another stone in Nick Cleggs road of completely and utterly shitting on any promises he made during his campaign. As if forming wasnt the only sign you needed, he did promise to lower student fees. A stance he's very quickly forgotten about. Thanks Nick. Glad to have you around.
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