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First of all a warning do not read the annotation for this book here on Goodreads It is in Russian, but Google does an acceptable job translating it It contains a huge spoiler for something that is revealed after about two thirds of the book.In the far future humanity explore distant planets while encountering different life forms on some of them The scouts of the explorers are called Progressors and are highly trained in all forms of self defense One of these Progressors, Lev Abalkin secretly came back to Earth and for some reason it causes a lot of panic among high ranking security people Maxim Kammerer works for a security agency He is assigned to a task of finding Lev Abalkin Actually, he has two tasks to find the rogue Progressor and to figure out what sort of danger he poses on our planet As he investigates, he realizes the extraordinary measures were taken by somebody to keep Lev Abalkin as far from Earth as possible.It all might sound like a sci fi thriller, but it is actually mystery book set in the future with the main question who is Lev Abalkin The end of the book haunted me for a long time with a question what would I do in Maxim Kammerer s place After all the years since I read the book for the first time I still do not know the answer. (((Download E-pub))) ↱ Жук в муравейнике ⇘ ,. The Wanderers traveled all over the galaxy, and who knows perhaps beyond All this happened some thousands of years ago After all this time, no one knows what the Wanderers look like, even whether they were humanoid or not Arkady and Boris Strugatsky wrote about what they referred to as the Noon Universe, as described below by the Wikipedia article about the brothers The main characteristics of the Noon Universe are a very high level of social, scientific, and technological development the creativity of the general population and the very significant level of societal maturity compared to the modern world For instance, this world knows no monetary stimulation indeed, money does not exist , and every person is engaged in a profession that interests him or her The Earth of the Noon Universe is governed by a global meritocratic council composed of the world s leading scientists and philosophers That Noon World has been clearly named as World of Communism in their novels, which was handy for publishing their novels in the USSR where the Communist Party decided whether a book would be printed, and approved for mass circulation.The Universe was described by the authors as the world in which they would like to live and work It became highly influential for at least a generation of Soviet people, e.g a person could quote the Strugatsky books and be sure of being understood At first the authors thought that the Noon Universe would become reality by itself , but then they realized that the only way to achieve it is by inventing the High Theory of Upbringing, making the upbringing of each person a unique deed.One of the important story arcs of those books is how the advanced human civilization covertly steers the development of those considered less advanced Agents of humans are known as Progressors At the same time, some humans suspect that a very advanced spacefaring race called Wanderers exists and is progressing humanity itself.In Beetle in the Anthill, we are presented with a relentless search for one Lev Albakin, one of the Progressors described above, who has killed an associate and traveled to earth without permission.For me, however, the very best parts of the book are excerpted from a journal by Lev in which he and a doglike extraterrestrial named Schokn, who seems attached to Lev but who thinks little of the human race Humans How can there be any doubt Naturally, it was humans Iron and fire, rubble, it s always the same As in their great Roadside Picnic, there are wonderful outland scenes in which inexplicable things, things that can only be described as eldritch They wandered across a ruined landscape, where strange objects and threats materialize seemingly from nowhere, and they are treated with suspicion by the surviving human population, who are affected by a plague that makes them age prematurely.The Strugatsky brothers are not for your typical sci fi fan Beetle in the Anthill is a mystery wrapped within an enigma, and the tale unfolds slowly in a series of fragments, mostly from the point of view of Maxim Kammerer, who is seeking the Progressor Albakin Nonetheless, the conclusion is a shocker with profound implications about the Wanderers and the peoples they visited these many millennia ago. I won t bore anyone with long winded exposition regarding my high opinion of this book, but simply recommend they read it. The Bros continue their run of cleverly re imagining classic genre tropes in this case the spy story, although there s some sci fi and even post apocalyptic stuff here into complex discussions of the nature of humanity, and even the sort of veiled criticisms possible to Soviet writers They all also tend to fall pretty to third act infodumps and unruly Deus Ex Machinas, this one in particular so than the others I read. The book has an interesting noir mixed with science fiction atmosphere, but ultimately wasn t as exciting as I was expecting and the ending was disappointing.Firstly, it was difficult to understand the book s universe which made the beginning difficult to read.The book is not self explanatory as an American novel would be, not that it is a bad characteristic, actually I like when you have to discover the universe together with the main character as he is seeing it and without the strange out of place explanatory sentences, after all it s the natural way, but while I was reading it, I felt that if I d read Noon 22nd before, I would appreciate Beetle in the Anthill.The little I could understand about the Noon world, proofed me it was a really interesting universe thought humankind was so technologically developed that all physical and non intellectual labour were inexistent and careers like art, psychology and teaching were appreciated which is something interesting if you think about the book s soviet background and compare with the way today some left wingers think about any kind of technology not as a quality of life improver, but as an evil job elimination tool there was some kind of government organization whose goal was to accelerate other sentient alien species evolution there was some battle between government ethical control over science s research and scientists liberty to search for knowledge there was an alien species developed that made the government divided about their intentions unfortunately the necessity of spy investigation agents was never explained.Secondly, the ideas under the plot were not mind blowing but not dull either, the beetle in the anthill theory Albakin as a beetle put by the Wonderers in the middle of human species, the anthill, so they could study our behaviour and the idea of if it was cruel or not to not tell someone about his identity if it could make the person mad, suspicious of himself and an outsider in his own home to tell or not to Albakin if he is an possible weapon against human kind or not were almost cool Unfortunately, those cool ideas and universe were not enough to maintain me interested and excited as a noir novel was supposed to do.The main character did not convince me as a good investigator and his boss as someone so intelligent and important as he should be.I didn t care much about the main plot as I cared about Albakin s and the Bighead planet exploration subplot.But the biggest problem to me was the ending, it was inexplicably rushed albakin running to the museum and, I still don t know if it was because I didn t understand it, but the final paragraphs left the book with an open end that made me really really angry.In conclusion, it is a so so science fiction noir book, with a little action, some good ideas in a very cool world, maybe good as a quick teenager reading or a short story, but not so good as a novel itself. Don t judge the book by the cover, OK I really wish they went for a different one but Russian books are hard enough to come by that I will not wait to get an edition with a appropriate cover and there are some.The questions that this one asks stay with me the same way that Roadside Picnic and Far Rainbow stayed And neither of them truly answers them because these questions do not have answers And it s the very strength of the Strugatsky books that they do not try to force answers and solutions. This is the second book in the trilogy about the adventures of Maxim Kammerer It poses an important ethical question what sort of behaviour is acceptiple towards beings who come from other planets or worlds How far can one go if these beings might be a threat to the humankind.I actually read this book, because I loved The Inhabited Island , which is the 1st part of the trilogy What I like about the Strugatsky s vision of the future is that it s positive In their future, the planet is a highly deleloped, harmonious place with no wars, conflicts or meaningless destruction. The Beetle in the Anthill is definitely 5 stars, a great book with plenty of fascinating ideas and a truly spooky alien planet Escape Attempt is much raw and unpolished but the basic idea is chilling 4 stars All has that peculiar feel of other worldliness that the Strugatsky brothers always have. My rating