Reviews of Space Apprentice (1962)
Review by clong (2005-07-17)
I'd have to say that this is not one of the Strugatskys strongest novels. It is set in a reasonably near future in which mankind has established a limited number of scientific and commercial stations in the solar system. It follows a young man who at the last minute is added to the crew of the inspector general's ship, as it begins a tour of these stations, checking on the progress and management of each. This is definitely more of a book about the psychology and social implications of space development, as opposed to action (although there is one fairly memorable action sequence during their stop on Mars). At this point much of the description of our solar system seems dated, but as I said, the book is more about the daunting psychological challenges faced by the individuals, and how they interact with each other. One chapter, a fairly heavy handed depiction of ugly capitalism run amok, might be problematic for readers who think that communism is inherently evil and capitalism is inherently good.
Even in what may be a lesser work, the Brothers Strugatsky once again provide plenty to think about.