I’m ashamed to admit, that even with four years of Russian in college, I didn’t really *get* the title until it was very much spelled out for me.
Nevertheless, I very much enjoyed it. The middle third of the book very much redeems the somewhat slow, and dry beginning. Or perhaps it’s simply that the narrator’s voice took some time to grow on me. I laughed aloud at times, which isn’t true of many books.
Like the artists in Alan Moore’s WATCHMEN, the narrator is one of several Soviet science fiction writers compelled by Stalin to concoct an elaborate fantasy of radioactive aliens intent on destroying the planet. And that’s just the first twenty pages or so.
I would very much recommend this one.