Based on the reporting about Boris Strugatsky, who died in November 2012 aged 79, prepare a short presentation about the Strugatskys.

Brohters Strugatsky, the most famous Russian writers of science fiction have risen to prominence since the publication of their first remarkable unti-utopian novels such as Трудно быть богом (Hard to Be a God) and Далекая радуга (Far Rainbow). While their novel Понедедльник начинается в субботу (Monday starts on Saturday), written 40 years ago and discussing a dysfunctional institute for the research of magic, became the Russian equivalent of Harry Potter, some elements of blockbuster movie Avatar (2009) directed by James Cameron are surprisingly similar to their fictional future setting for sci-fi series Мир полудня (The Noon Universe).

For both a common reader and an intellectual, novels by brothers Strugatsky are an ambitious reading. Before reading the Strugatskys' novels you may need to refresh your knowledge of Russian fairy tale, Rudyard Kipling's characters and Master and Margarita's plot as the Strugatskys alluded to these sources. Although their humor is quite often a vicious mockery of the Soviet bureaucracy, in teh meantime their novels are not a settled classic form of satire but rather philosophical commentaries on the Soviet life that would have been unthinkable in other literary forms. In their novel Пикник на обочине (Roadside Picnick) the Strugatskys suggest that hope is what continues to propel the human race forward, against the universe’s indifference, stating: “Happiness, free, for everyone, and let no one be forgotten!”

The Strugatskys began their career as wirters during the period of Nikita Khrushchev's "Thaw." It is believed that they were officially in disfavor with the Brezhnev government; subsequent reprints of their early novels were thus illegal. However, in the 1970s, when their novels started to be widely translated, they became known in the West. Presently, the Strugatskys’ novels are widely published, read and openly discussed, the movies based on their numerous novels are appreciated by the Soviet and post-Soviet spectators.

The Strugatskys were personally connected to science and worked closely with Russian scientists. Moreover they were knowledgeable in the dominant research trends and core scientific paradigms. They also were interested in the impact of hippie movement, feminist culture and environmental science on the Soviet society.

Among the most recurrent themes of their novels are the following: human nature with its vices, virtues and different values; intervention in another civilization with the purpose of forcing progress; the dynamics of science. The Strugatskys, whose flights of fantasy were inspired by the way the science was done in the Soviet Union, often mixed Soviet realities with otherworldly settings. They were the forerunners of contemporary Russian science fiction genre and made a lot of efforts to distinguish Russo-Soviet sci-fi from its Western counterpart.

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