Definitely Maybe

Arkady Strugatsky, Boris Strugatsky
Definitely Maybe Cover

Definitely Maybe: A Manuscript Discovered Under Unusual Circumstance


Definitely Maybe:

A Manuscript Discovered Under Strange Circumstances by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky is a slim novel, but is filled with great characters, ridiculous occurrences, and satiric discussions revealing the human weaknesses of even the best of scientists. There is also an oppressive ominousness permeating its atmosphere. This is not surprising given during the period that it was written, one of the authors, Boris, had been called by the state to give witness against Mikhail Khiefets who was charged with "spreading anti-soviet propaganda". (Boris denied seeing anything from Khiefets, who was given four years in the camps regardless.)

The story revolves around an astrophysicist, Dmitri, who is on the verge of a significant discovery and has sent his wife and young son away, so he can focus on his work. The trouble is -he can't; distractions of all types arise to keep him from completing his calculations. A delivery crate of prized food and drink, a mysterious beautiful young woman in a revealing short skirt and a criminal investigator show up.

Eventually several other scientists converge on Dmitri's apartment and confess to having similar experiences, crazy interruptions as they are on the verge of a major discovery. At first rejecting any organized or systemic aspect to these distractions, gradually the scientists argue through the possibility of a couple of different theories. The discussions are filled with wine, tea, vodka, caviar, cigarettes, and cognac.

The conclusion? Tragic, but hilarious, simultaneously! A recommended read for any interested in science fiction/fantasy/satire filled with wonderful characters, and social criticism on authority and the progress of science.