This book signalled the increasing cynicism of Bulychev, who was no longer the same man who had written of a beautiful tomorrow in Alice, Girl from the Future.
- Captain Smith's ship is called the Venture, the same name as the ship in King Kong (1933).
- The premise of "people travel down the river and discover the worst in themselves" has been seen in Heart of Darkness, Apocalypse Now, and other works.
- The alien shows off his technology, but is attacked by humans, similar to in The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951).
- Take That!: Kir Bulychev heavily criticizes the 1900s-1910s, especially the sexism, racism, and imperial greed of the era.
- Technology Porn: The alien has a duplicator which can copy any object.
- The Tunguska Event: Alluded to when Professor Mueller is talking with Veronica about meteors.