“The Astronauts”, one the most famous novels by Lem, was initially published in 1951; since it had to comply with the schematics of the so-called socialist realism in communist Poland, Lem was reluctant to authorize reissues. His first novel dedicated to interstellar travel presented author's exceptional imagination and faith that reason eventually would overcome political madness. The story of Earth attacked by Venus, previously destroyed in a fratricidal battle, remains a moving vision of results of primitive practicism and struggle for power.
Today I am of the opinion that my first science-fiction novels lack any value (despite the fact that I gained world acclaim through their numerous editions). I wrote them - this was the case with Astronauci (The Astronauts) published in 1951 - driven by motives that I still understand today, however the world presented in them radically differs from all experiences of my life.
Everything is so smooth and balanced; among the heroes we have a positive Russian character and a sweet Chinese; naiveté is present on all pages of this book. The hope that in the year 2000 the world would be wonderful is indeed very childish.... As a very young man to a certain extent I must have resembled a sponge that sucked in postulates proposed by socialism. I was concentrated on making the world more and more positive. In a certain sense I fooled myself, since my feelings and hopes were genuine. Today I am a bit disgusted by this book.