Audiobooks, ratings, reviews (beta)

Picnic by the Roadside


sunset at the roadside

Authors: Boris Strugatsky, Arkady Strugatski –

Publisher: TSK Group LLC –

Genre: Science-Fiction –

Overall rating: 5/5 –

Writing: 5/5 –

Duration: 5:38 h (medium) –

Narrator: Cory Thomas Hutcheson –

Narrator/performance: 5/5 –

Impressions: 5/5 –

Performance errors: 0/5 –

Complexity/reading level: 4/5 –

Audience: Adult


This is one of the greatest science fiction stories I have ever read. Not unexpected, as I have been a fan of Strugatski Brothers for some years. They combined grand, semi-scientific ideas with oblique philosophy, bizarre atmosphere and brilliant storytelling. One may call these pieces noir sci-fi or whatever; what counts in terms of literary quality is that some of their books feel truer than the black and white stories about the struggle between good and evil where the latter is completely rotten and the former is entirely pure and innocent.

“Picnic by the Roadside” is a book about aliens. It reminds of “The Master and Margarita” by Mikhail Bulgakov in certain aspects and imagery while remaining within the genre of speculative fiction. The book is written with amazing intensity. The result feels compacted if compared with your typical speculative fiction novel. The Authors did not waste paper nor their readers’ time. It has a surprising ending – hardly surprising with these Authors, one may observe.

This production was awesomely performed. Cory Thomas Hutcheson did such a good job on it that the book feels like a western movie. The characters are full of life, though as strange a life as it can be. The original text was translated from Russian with skill and inspiration. Dialogues are superb.

It is not an uplifting story but a remarkable feat in dreamy imagination and engaged dramaturgy. Much to recommend.

Picnic by the Roadside audiobook cover

A strange cover for a strange story. I like how honest and straightforward it is; it looks a little bit like a piece of fan art.

Cover Photo by Daniel Olah on Unsplash