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The Futurological Congress: From the Memoirs of Ijon Tichy (original 1972; edition 1985)

by Stanislaw Lem

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1,065167,874 (4.02)16
Member:PrometheusUnbound
Title:The Futurological Congress: From the Memoirs of Ijon Tichy
Authors:Stanislaw Lem
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Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:fiction, scifi

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The Futurological Congress by Stanisław Lem (1972)

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» See also 16 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
It's entirely thanks to my sister, Jessa, that I discovered Lem, and thanks to the used bookstore in Mecosta that I keep finding old paperbooks of his and adding them to my collection.

This is a dystopian, chaotic future, full of rioting and hallucinogenic drugs used as societal control. This book is a hallucination within a hallucination within a hallucination. Where do they end? And what is the truth? The multiple hallucinations allow Lem to explore a number of possible futures and possible realities. None of which are terribly comforting. ( )
  greeniezona | Sep 20, 2014 |
A futurologist wakes up in 2039 and finds the human condition is everything we hoped for, and not all it's cracked up to be.

While attending the 8th Futurological Congress in war-torn Costa Rica, futurologist Ijon Tichy experiences first-hand the future to come. While staying in the gigantic hotel, Tichy feels emotions that are alien to him: a kind of brotherly love, especially for people he doesn’t particularly like. It disconcerts him because he knows that he really does not like a certain person, but can’t help but feel a deep benevolence toward him. Tichy discovers that the water and the air are tainted with pharmaceuticals to try to prevent revolution. Chaos and rioting break out in the streets, and Tichy is evacuated to the sewers underneath the hotel. There he is dosed with more gas, and is gifted with an unsettling vision of the future.

This book was part Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, part Candide, and part Brazil (yes, the Terry Gilliam movie!). It was extremely funny, trippy, and terrifying all at once. One of Tichy's colleagues, Dr. Trottelreiner, reminded me of Voltaire's character from Candide, Pangloss. He would show up just when Tichy's newest adventure was at its most extreme, and either offer explanation for the crazy circumstances, or show a way out. Trottelreiner never seemed surprised by the paths that he and Tichy took, much in the way that Pangloss always believed that things were exactly as they should be. Which is why Tichy was so angry when he understood the truth behind his beyond-perfect experience of the future.

I'm glad someone on i09 recommended this book a couple months ago. I would never have tried it. ( )
  eilonwyhan | Sep 20, 2013 |
Ijon Tichy is attempting to attend a conference of futurists when his hotel is attacked by terrorists with mind-altering gas. Through a series of absurd events, Tichy finds himself resurrected several decades in the future, when everyone relies on chemical supplements to provide them with all knowledge and emotion, perception-altering drugs that hide a distressing reality. This all sounds terribly dystopian and horrifying, and in some ways it is, but it is also pretty hilarious satire. It's one of those sorts of books where you just have to go with it, and pay special attention to the made-up words and random asides, many of which are the funniest parts of the book. I hadn't expected to so enjoy this book - I'd sort of expected it to be a bit of a slog, a book about an idea only tenuously strung together with plot - but this was quite a romp. The humor is dark, to be sure, but still quite entertaining. ( )
  melydia | May 6, 2013 |
It's Stanislaw Lem. No need to say anything more (except that I now know where the writers of The Matrix stole the idea from). ( )
  ropie | Sep 14, 2011 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Stanisław Lemprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Matwin-Buschmann, RoswithaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rey, LuisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The eighth world The Futurological Congress was held in Costa Rica.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0156340402, Paperback)

Bringing his twin gifts of scientific speculation and scathing satire to bear on that hapless planet, Earth, Lem sends his unlucky cosmonaut, Ijon Tichy, to the Eighth Futurological Congress. Caught up in local revolution, Tichy is shot and so critically wounded that he is flashfrozen to await a future cure. Translated by Michael Kandel.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:19:39 -0400)

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