The lyric “I”, on whose behalf the story is narrated, is a “mimic”, an unnamed engineer who serves Mima – a machine that reproduces sensual images captured from the remotest corners of the universe. Mimorob and Mima, along with eight thousand passengers and crew, are aboard the Anhara “Goldonder”, making an ordinary trip from Doris (the former Earth) to the Planet Tundra (now, in the forty-third century, Mars is called). The flight of the gondondera ends in a catastrophe. Turning sharply and avoiding the collision with the asteroid, Aniara falls into a stream of stones. Maneuvering among them along a broken trajectory, she loses control (the Saba-aggregate breaks down) and, finally losing her course, rushes into the void in the direction of the unreachable
Fortunately, all the main nodes of the Gold Goddess (“heat pipe, light and gravity”) are in order. Falling into apathy after a flood of panic and desperation, the passengers gradually come to their senses. Their situation is unenviable. They will have to “endless odyssey”: neither to roll back nor to return back, nor to call for help is impossible, the “loxodromic” speed of Aniara’s movement is also not so great that they could hope that in their lifetime Aniara could fly to the constellation to which her nose.
Those who are in a state of forced idleness, people are looking for what to occupy themselves. Soon there are exotic religious sects, a considerable part of passengers and crew becomes “jurgon worshipers” (“yurg” – dance), spending all their time in carnal pleasures. They are helped in this by the priestesses of love – the “yurgini” Daisy, Yale, Trzebaeb and Libidel. Pleasures (Mimorob also gives them their due – with Daisy) help to forget… but not completely: the majority of the eight-thousand-strong population of Aniara (the size of the Goldonder is huge, its length is 14,000 feet, width is 8000), prefers to spend time in the halls of Mima transmitting a stereoscopic picture occurring
But in the sixth year of the journey, Mima begins transmitting the terrible visions of what is happening on Doris: the country of Gond burns in the whirlwinds of the fiery “photonoturb”, then the huge Dorisburg, the birthplace of Aniara turns into a boiling lava. Mima brings to the passengers not only the “picture”, but also the feelings and thoughts of those who are dying on the Earth: from the “stone thickness” they are called by the dead – deafened by the explosion and blinded by a flash of light. Now the Aniarans understand what the expression “when the stones cry out” means. What they see and hear for a long time will paralyze their will and desire to live. Strangely behaves after the transfer and Mima: first her work reveals interference, then she needs repair and asks to turn it off, on the sixth day Mima declares Mimorobu that she is blind and refuses to work: her mind is traumatized – Mima destroys herself.
From now on, people are completely alone. The last thread connecting them to the world is cut off. It’s no wonder that many aniarans indulge in memories of the past. Mimorob, as if replacing Mima, formalizes their internal monologues. In the most lengthy monologue, the Space Seaman, who previously worked on transporting people from Doris to the Planet of the Tundras (on Mars, now has several zones called Tundra 1, Tundra 2, etc.), tells of his love for Nobby, a dedicated woman who helped wretched and desperate people and loved even the meager and stunted vegetation of the tundra and its metal-poisoned animal kingdom. From the monologues it becomes clear which mechanized hell Doris-Earth has turned into – a living flame of burning wood is shown on it to schoolchildren as an example of a very ancient curiosity. In the memoirs of other passengers, by the way, the main milestones of the path traveled by mankind come to light: by the 23rd century, “the brilliant realm of man / in the smoke of war everything was dimmer, / the projects of humanists failed,” and again they had to dig trenches. ” Then “a cluster of stellar
and “overshadowed the Earth from the Sun for the whole 10 centuries, and a new era of glaciation has come, science and art as a result fell into decay, but did not disappear at all, and after a dozen centuries the dust dispersed and the world recovered in its former splendor.
But he looks extremely inhuman. Travel of people to Mars is forced: because of the long wars of earthlings among themselves and with other planets, Doris is poisoned by radioactivity. In the space portals of Dorisburg, people are sorted, according to their “psychophoto cards”. “Unfavorable gond” (that is, a person), and instead of the Planet of the Tundra it is sent to the marshes of Venus, and there they place in “Mansions and goals”, intended for painless killing of their inhabitants. The terrestrial region of Gond, the refuge of fugitives from Dorisburg, was destroyed by a photonoturb. Apparently, on the orders of the Doris rulers, the planet Rind with its main city Xinombe is blown up: a naked slave, a captive from this city, decorates the “flying garden” of Sheforka, the absolute commander of Aniara (and in the past the commandant of “Igory’s Mansions”), phantoms “
In vain are the attempts of Mimorob to restore Mima. And as if in a laugh at the aspirations of the Aniar people, an incredible event is happening right next to them – in the same direction as Aniara, a spear sweeps past, overtaking it! It is released by unknown people. And it is not known for what purpose. But it sets a riddle to everyone – “the spear pierced all.” This happened on the tenth year of the trip. Aniarans now live in anticipation of a miracle. But they are in for a completely different surprises: they fall into a cluster of cosmic dust, which causes panic on the ship (as a result, the mirrors enlarged the visual volume of the interiors, and several “yurgin” mirrors are cut by their fragments), then they are covered by a terrible feeling of endless fall into the well (and Mimorobu is worth a lot of effort to get them out of this state).
As it turns out, the most painful thing is the feeling of aimlessness of life. Szafork, the all-powerful leader of the flight, makes an attempt to overcome it in his own way: he establishes a cult of his personality, demanding the sacrifice of human victims. And what? He did not surprise the passengers of Aniara with this: Mima fed them with spectacles more scary, the fragments of them can be viewed anew in a partially restored Mimorob Mine. So twenty-four years pass. By the end of their many inhabitants of Aniara die a natural death. Among them, the terrible Shafork: having convinced that his powerful pretensions are not touched by the subjects, and having crucified in the end on the four powerful magnets of several ministers of his own cult, he, in the past, also a murderer, becomes on the eve of death the most ordinary inhabitant – the power eats the inspired illusions, which the inhabitants of Aniara can not perceive in their special situation. Mimorob recalls with sadness her attempt to forget herself in the arms of the absurd beauty Daisy (she died a long time ago) and her love for Isagel, the female pilot who died out of her own free will. The energy of Aniara is running out. Having settled around Mima, at its foot, the survivors, having gathered all their courage, “free time from space.”