Roadside Picnic

Arkady & Boris Strugatsky

Illustrated by Dave McKean

Introduced by Dave McKean

Foreword by Ursula K. Le Guin

Afterword by Boris Strugatsky

Translated by Olena Bormashenko

Featuring the phenomenal work of award-winning illustrator Dave McKean, this Folio edition of Roadside Picnic is a design-led celebration of the Strugatsky Brothers’ sci-fi masterpiece, which also includes a fascinating new introduction by the artist.

£49.95
£49.95
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‘The best Soviet SF writers, legitimate continuers of a Russian tradition extending from Nikolai Gogol.’
  1. The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction


Years after the aliens have been and gone, six landing sites, or Zones, around the world still hold the mysterious remnants of the visitation. These include dangerous but valuable artefacts and, despite the unimaginable terror of these toxic wastelands, stalker Redrick Schuhart feels compelled to keep coming back, his life dominated by the illegal trade in alien products. An unsettling and unforgettable world, the Strugatsky Brothers’ mind-bending novel is a hugely influential twist on a ‘first-contact’ story and was the inspiration for the Andrei Tarkovsky film Stalker.

Every aspect of this remarkable edition radiates the shimmering, strangely compelling qualities of the Zones. Seven colour illustrations by award-winning illustrator Dave McKean visualise the Strugatsky Brothers’ masterful storytelling with startling effect, while the binding is blocked in silver and gold foils. Two-colour printing and McKean’s intricately drawn endpapers make this the ultimate collector’s edition for science-fiction aficionados.

An edition limited to 600 hand-numbered copies is also available here.

Bound in blocked and printed textured paper

Set in PT Serif Pro and Filth of Icarus

240 pages printed in dark green ink with integrated illustrations

7 double-page spread colour illustrations, including a double-sided fold-out

Printed endpapers

Digitally printed page edges

Blocked and printed slipcase

10˝ x 6¼˝

‘Intelligence is the ability of a living creature to perform pointless or unnatural acts.’


Illustrating Roadside Picnic was a long-cherished ambition for award-winning illustrator Dave McKean, who first visited the Zones in art school. In this edition, McKean imagines the topography of the Zones in his startling endpapers, printed in green and traced in blocked silver, while the chapter heads draw the reader further into the strange landscape and its enigmatic artefacts. Seven double-page illustrations, including a spectacular double-sided fold-out, bring McKean’s vision of the story into startling focus. Printed two-colour throughout, the ethereal green text is matched with green page edges to enhance the otherworldly qualities of this beguiling edition: the ultimate tribute to the Strugatsky Brothers’ science-fiction classic.

Arkady (1925–91) and Boris (1933–2012) Strugatsky were brothers who wrote some of the most highly acclaimed science fiction published in the Soviet Union. Arkady studied foreign languages and worked as a writer, editor and translator; Boris was an astronomer based near Leningrad before taking up writing full-time. Much of the brothers’ socially critical science fiction is set in the ‘Noon Universe’, a utopia in which communism has been victorious. It was steadily translated into English from the 1970s but the Strugatsky brothers are especially renowned in several Eastern European countries. Their works have often been adapted for film and TV, most notably Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker, based on Roadside Picnic.

Dave McKean has released 60 books as an illustrator, author, photographer and designer, including Cages (1990–6, winner of two Harvey Awards, the Ignatz Award, La Pantera Award, and the Alph-Art Award), Pictures That Tick (2009, V&A Illustrated Book of the Year), and Black Dog: The Dreams of Paul Nash (2016, a 14–18 NOW Foundation/Imperial War Museum/LICAF commission). He has collaborated with Neil Gaiman (Sandman, 1989–97; Coraline, 2002), John Cale (What’s Welsh for Zen, 1998; Sedition and Alchemy, 2003), David Almond (The Savage, 2008), Richard Dawkins (The Magic of Reality, 2011), Heston Blumenthal (as Director of Story at The Fat Duck), and others. He has worked in theatre, galleries, and the music industry, and has written and directed three feature films: MirrorMask (2005), The Gospel of Us (2012, winner of two Cymru BAFTAs), and Luna (2014, winner of the Raindance Award for Best Picture, BIFA). For the Folio Society he has illustrated Neil Gaiman’s American Gods (2017), Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend (2018) and Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast (2022).

Olena Bormashenko was born in Ukraine and moved to Canada as a child in the 1990s. She has a PhD in mathematics from Stanford University and has worked a lecturer at the University of Texas Austin. As well as Roadside Picnic she has translated the Strugatskys’ Hard to Be a God into English.

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