A blog by the staff of the Thomas Ford Memorial Library
Malianov is an important Soviet scientist who just wants to get some work done. He’s on the verge of a big breakthrough but he simply can’t concentrate. His phone is ringing off the hook with wrong numbers. A mysterious case of Vodka just shows up at his door. A beautiful woman comes calling and she seems really into him. When even that isn’t able to distract him completely he finds himself the chief suspect in a murder case.
In an attempt to escape all these sudden preoccupations he visits a colleague, but discovers that a similar plague of distraction is effecting other influential minds in Russia. Why is someone, or maybe something, trying to stop the progress of science?
Definitely Maybe is a short, funny Soviet SF classic. Besides the humor, it’s got lots of big ideas bouncing around in the plot and a few surprises too.
I’m glad to see the Strugatsky brothers coming back into print in English. Until recently, if you wanted to read the greatest of Russian SF authors you had to track down old ’70s and ’80s mass-markets from used bookstores. But now we have two of their books in our own SF section, Definitely Maybe and the 2012 re-release of their masterpiece Roadside Picnic. You can’t go wrong with either one.
Review by Matthew