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Literature / Far Rainbow

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Far Rainbow (Russian: "Далёкая Радуга", alternate translation: Distant Rainbow) is the third novel by the Strugatsky Brothers to be set in the Noon Universe. It is extremely depressing and was directly inspired by the 1959 film adaptation of the Post Apocalyptic novel On the Beach, which the Stugatskys saw in 1962 and were devastated by.

Rainbow is a lush green planet far away from Earth, which is one big test ground for physicists. Their recent research is about 0-T, a teleportation technique. Besides them, the planet is inhabited by their families, a couple of escapists, and few artists. When one of the experiments backfires, the whole planet is threatened by the deadly Wave...

Tropes found in the novel:

  • Apocalypse How: Class 5: all organics on the whole planet are going to die!
  • Face Death with Dignity: The entire adult population of the planet ends up doing it in the end. The cake definitely goes to the intended first human 0-T tester team, who swim into the Wave of their own accord while singing.
  • Fictional Painting: The painting "Wind", the Magnum Opus of a famous artist visiting the title planet, is the only inanimate object transported off the planet before it is devastated by the Wave.
  • Immortality Hurts: Camillo, both literally and emotionally — "I have risen from the dead thrice today. It hurt a lot every time. [...] Soon, I will raise from the dead for the fourth time, all alone on a dead planet covered by ash and snow.".
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Robert. Neither his heroics nor his betrayal of children (he chooses to leave them behind to save the girl he loves) matter, since everyone is going to die anyway.
  • Suicide by Sea: In the bleak ending, the Tester Group swims to their deaths into the approaching Wave (a colossal wall of negative energy spawned by a scientific experiment Gone Horribly Wrong) while singing, rather than wait passively for it on the coast.
  • What Could Possibly Go Wrong?: They know about the Wave, yet the planet has no escape ships ready? Were it not for "Tariel", nobody would survive!