The Star Diaries
None of Lem's series took so long to write; there were thirty years between the first and last tale of „The Star Diaries” (“The Advantages of the Dragon”). Author's inventiveness in creating fantastic worlds and extraordinary plots seems endless. The famous interstellar traveler Ijon Tichy on the one hand resembles baron Münchausen, on the other – Gulliver. The tales of his incredible adventures bring as many hilarious and improbable events as serious reflections on the paradoxical nature of the world, of man and of his culture - based on contradictions.
Lem is both a polymath and a virtuoso storyteller and stylist. Put them together and they add up to a genius... He has been steadily producing fiction that follows the arcs and depths of his learning and a bewildering labyrinth of moods and attitudes. Like his protagonists, loners virtually to a man, his fiction seems at a distance from the daily cares and passions, and conveys the sense of a mind hovering above the boundaries of the human condition: now mordant, now droll, now arcane, now folksy, now skeptical, now haunted and always paradoxical. Yet his imagination is so powerful and pure that no matter what world he creates it is immediately convincing because of its concreteness and plentitude, the intimacy and authority with which it is occupied... read Lem for yourself. He is a major writer, and one of the deep spirits of our age.
Theodore Solotaroff "The New York Times Book Review"