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A novel of Russian author. Presumably, published in 1980s. An expedition to a remote galaxy on its way back to the Earth encounters a strange phenomena. During the passage through a "cloud" of some kind, the entire spaceship, with all passengers, is converted to anti-matter.

The characters realize this and the conclusion is appalling - they can't get back home. Author describes behavior of people then - some continue discovering ways to reach the Earth, some get embittered, one of the characters starts drinking.

  • You mean antimatter, yes? And "cloud" rather than "could"? – Keith Thompson Feb 10 '12 at 10:54
  • @KeithThompson - yes, he did. Antimatter in russian is "anti-materia" :) – DVK-on-Ahch-To Feb 10 '12 at 11:50
  • Right, thank you for editorial :) – mikalai Feb 10 '12 at 12:17
  • @DVK Also in Italian. :P – Alenanno Feb 10 '12 at 21:58
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So I performed one more attempt and found that - Door From The Other Side by Vladimir Mikhailov (1974) (Дверь с той стороны, В. Михайлов). It looks like it was published in Russian only. The only English description I found at Unseen Mainland European SF Classics :

...a hard SF space opera with strong new-wave elements. Interstellar travel has its problems which the crew of the spaceship 'Whale' find out when coming out of a hyperspace jump they find that all the atoms of their craft and themselves have become antimatter. So changed, they cannot return to Earth and so set out to find an anti-matter star system. This then is the setup, but the story is equally one of the socio-psychology of small, isolated communities.

That's it, exactly.

2

There was one short story, very similar in plot. Called "Misterium", by Ernst Pashitski. Only in that story the ship and crew encountered some "maser" radiation, not antimatter.

In Russian it will be «Мистериум», Эрнст Пашицкий.

  • For sure I read that too, but the one I've asked about was much longer, and I can't remember mirror ship. – mikalai Jun 7 '12 at 13:01

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