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The Futurological Congress (1972)

by Stanisław Lem

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Ijon Tichy (3)

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1,577308,649 (3.99)21
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.… (more)
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» See also 21 mentions

English (27)  French (1)  German (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (30)
Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
Very funny utopian satire that starts out in an academic conference in a Third World hellhole and ends up somewhere really unpleasant. The translator did a good job with the technological puns, which are actually part of the plot for once -- one character has a theory that society evolves to meet the demands of jargon. ( )
  elibishop173 | Oct 11, 2021 |
A cross between Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Monty Python; very funny, disorientating story with so many futuristic ideas, inventions (including the spray-on-clothes that Robert Silverberg used in his novel Thorns), neologisms, and the etymology that goes with that. Fun and interesting read. ( )
  AChild | Mar 13, 2021 |
Meh.
Ditched a few chapters in.
Very 1970s.
Could well have been awesome in it’s day and may well have contributed to the evolution of SciFi writing but it has been thoughtless surpassed now. Interesting as a piece of history but I can’t be arsed with reading it now given everything else that’s available. ( )
  mjhunt | Jan 22, 2021 |
Lem, Lem is always such an enjoyment to read. Smart and good writing. I can just highly recommend this book. ( )
  gullevek | Dec 15, 2020 |
A very wild read. Multiple dystopian visions couched in nested hallucinations instigated by chemical warfare within another dystopia. The plot is fairly unsubstantial, but the book is short, so that's not really a problem. The story is really just Lem running wild with a thought experiment. I found it particularly fascinating to read having just finished Daniel Dennett's Consciousness Explained.

What is possibly most impressive is the translation. This book has a running theme about technical neologisms, and despite having been written in Polish, the wordplay throughout the English version is quite fun and feels as though it were originally written in English. I am not familiar with Polish, so I don't know how well the one language lends itself to cognates in the other, but I found myself impressed with how well the story makes fun of English word combinations. There are way too many examples of the delicious wordplay to give it proper summary here, so I'll just conclude this review with my favorite, "lubricrat": one who gives bribes, derived from the greasing of palms. I think I will start using this term to describe modern day corporate lobbyists. ( )
  joshuagomez | May 31, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lem, StanisławAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bustamante, MelitónTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kandel, MichaelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Koivisto, RiittaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Matwin-Buschmann, RoswithaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rey, LuisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Siraste, KirstiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stachová, HelenaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Swahn, Sven ChristerTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Taşkent, FatmaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zimmermann-Göllheim… IrmtraudTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The eighth world The Futurological Congress was held in Costa Rica.
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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.

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