SF Masterworks Spotlight: Hard to be a God

Another SF Masterwork from the giants of Soviet science fiction, Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, authors of the cult classic Roadside Picnic, filmed by Andrei Tarkovsky as Stalker.

Anton is an undercover operative from future Earth, who travels to an alien world whose culture has not progressed beyond the Middle Ages, with instructions to observe but not interfere. Masquerading as the arrogant nobleman, dueler and brawler, Don Rumata, Anton is never defeated, but can never kill. With his doubt and compassion, and his deep love for a local girl named Kira, he wants to save the kingdom from the machinations of Don Reba, the first minister to the king. But given his orders, what role can he play?

Although in possession of far more advanced knowledge than the society around him, he is forbidden to interfere with the natural progress of history. His place is to observe rather than interfere – but can he remain aloof in the face of so much cruelty and injustice …?

Now in a new translation by Olena Bormashenko, acclaimed translator of the latest edition of the Strugatskys’ Roadside Picnic, and with an introduction by award-winning author Ken MacLeod, Hard to be a God is available as an SF Masterworks paperback and a Gateway eBook.

You can read more about Arkady & Boris Strugatsky in their entry in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.