Escape Hatch: Two Novellas ($24.00; May 31, 1996; 193 pp.; 0-87501-110-1) Two futuristic novellas, discursive and allegorical to a fault, from a veteran Russian writer who has previously won his country's ``Little Booker'' Prize. ``Escape Hatch'' describes a city run, and overrun, by criminals from which escape to a more genteel ``world'' is offered through a passage available only to the story's conflicted protagonist. Is he bound to share the perils endured by family and friends in the aforementioned dangerous ``world,'' or only obliged to save himself? ``The Long Road Ahead'' confronts a (perhaps imaginary) idealistic young engineer with a utopian technocracy whose smooth efficiency proves, to his disillusionment, to be founded on the ugly realities of slaughterhouses and prison camps. Though both stories are initially intriguing, neither's premise is developed satisfactorily or surprisingly, and many readers may find their inconclusiveness deeply disappointing.