This one was pretty intense. It works well as both a disaster novel and a sci-fi novel, and I felt that the characters were well developed considering the time they were given. The Strugatsky brothers do as well to make you feel content and safe in the beginning as they do to make you feel tense and scrambled by the conclusion. My only serious complaint, really, is that there were some aspects that were poorly communicated. I wasn't clear on what The Wave actually is, for example, and if there was an explanation in there then I must have skimmed over it. Still, you just can't beat that final scene where the characters are sitting on the beach waiting for their abrupt conclusion. It felt very strongly of the 2013 film These Final Hours, and it begs the question as to whether or not the film drew some of its inspirations here.
The Second Invasion from Mars:
This was much more of an endearing and pleasantly perplexing read. The characters are just shy of something out of Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces, and here the authors did a marvelous job of bringing to the fore these absurdist qualities. It is an approach that worked so well for the narrative, and I often found myself chuckling or shaking my head. I loved the protagonist and his obsession with his pension, and it did well to highlight this curious facet of the modern man: no matter how shocking current events may be, we are, first and foremost, concerned with mitigating our own discomforts. It's a great read, if a bit pessimistic; the Strugatsky vision of humanity is apparently a planet of bemused serfs, and I'm here for it.
DNB DDC Sachgruppen