Masterworks Spotlight: The Doomed City

One of the great pleasures of working in publishing is seeing books that deserve to do well . . . do well! That might sound a strange thing to say, but sadly, it’s not always the case that quality will out – especially with translated fiction.

Happily, in the case of the late Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, British readers seem to be happy to explore the strange worlds and unique worldview of these superstars of Soviet SF.  So, having enjoyed Roadside Picnic (the basis for Tarkovsky’s much-admired film Stalker – and soon to be a television series), Hard to be a God and Monday Starts on Saturday, we hope you’ll be as delighted as we are by the publication of The Doomed City, a novel so incendiary that it could not be published until the freedom of perestroika came to the USSR.

It is a mysterious city whose sun is switched on in the morning and switched off at night, bordered by an abyss on one side and an impossibly high wall on the other. Its inhabitants are people who were plucked from twentieth-century history at various times and places and left to govern themselves, advised by Mentors whose purpose seems inscrutable. This is life in the Experiment.

Andrei Voronin, a young astronomer plucked from Leningrad in the 1950s, is a die-hard believer in the Experiment, even though his first job in the city is as a garbage collector. As increasinbly nightmarish scenarios begin to affect the city, he rises through the political hierarchy, with devastating effect.


The Doomed City is available as an SF Masterworks paperback and an SF Gateway eBook.


You can find more of Arkady and Boris Strugatsky’s work via their Author pages on the SF Gateway website, and read about them in their entry in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.