The original novel was published in 1965.
Synopsis from the 2014 edition (Gollancz):
A brilliant and incisive satire of the Soviet pseudo-science research of the Cold War, with a new introduction by Adam Roberts.
When young programmer Aleksandr Ivanovich Privalov picks up two hitchhikers while driving in Karelia, he is drawn into the mysterious world of the Scientific Research Institute of Sorcery and Wizardry, where research into magic is serious business. Where science, sorcery and socialism meet, can chaos be far behind?