Phys.org (a leading web-based science, research and technology news service which covers a full range of topics) is reporting the death of Russian author Boris Strugatskyon 19 November 2012 of heart trouble. Born 14 April 1933 in St. Petersburg, Russia, the Soviet-era writer studied math and worked in Russia’s observatory in Pulkovo before turning to full-time writing with his brother in the 1960s (his eight-years-older brother and co-author Arkady died in 1991).
One of the Strugatskys’ best-known novels, Roadside Picnic, was first published in 1972 (as Piknik na obochine) was adapted for film as Stalker (1979). The book, which follows a protagonist who searching Earth’s dangerous paranormal zones seeking artifacts to resell, was frequently censored, but eerily prophetic of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster (which occurred 15 years later). It was the first of a half-dozen Strugatsky novels to wind up on the big screen.
In addition to his writing, Boris was known for his political activism. He was an outspoken critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin (who he claimed was trying to take modern Russia back to the Soviet era), and recently worked for the release of jailed feminist punk band Pussy Riot.