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I understand

Apocryphs: introduction by Lem

I think that as the years passed my impatience for conscientious and slow craft steadily grew. In order to turn illumination into narration one has to work very hard - on a quite nonintellectual level. This was one of the main reasons for taking this shortcut - from which these books emerged.

I tried to imitate various styles - that of a book review, a lecture, a presentation, a speech (of a Nobel Prize laureate) and so on. These experiences were "boxes" that formed the stairs I climbed high enough in order to make Golem speak.

I always tried to limit the amount of plot to the very minimum. I am bored hearing that "the marchioness left home at five". I don't care about the marchioness, her house and five o'clock. Only things that are necessary should be said. By writing reviews instead of writing books I managed to accomplish much more in terms of experimenting than if I were to dedicate full energy to each of these works, like a craftsman. If there were no age limit of sixty, seventy years of life, if my brain would not start disintegrating - maybe I would not use a shortcut while dealing with the domain of certain literary experiments. But in the given situation I feel excused by circumstances that are beyond my control.

  • A Perfect Vacuum

    A Perfect Vacuum
    1 1 1 1 1 Rating 4.50 (32 Votes)

     

    Like the Perfect Vacuum of the title, the books that seem to be reviewed in this book do not exist.  neither, in an odd way, does "Lem" as a reviewer;  in the first chapter, someone reviews the book in reference to his Introduction, but that has not been written, either, and must be deduced from its review.  Within the reviews, Lem speaks as the author:  in the review of  his book, he speaks as reviewer of himself as author.  The "I" cannot be finally located.

    Literary considerations have expanded to encompass world criticism and the condition of man.  Lem has penetrated existentialism with wry humor and a paradoxical emphasis on the emotional needs of the human organism.

    M.A. Bartter, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

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  • Golem XIV

    Golem XIV
    1 1 1 1 1 Rating 4.36 (28 Votes)

    „Golem XIV” is one of Lem's most far-fetched intellectual adventures:  for the purpose of this book Lem constructs the character of a supercomputer of the future that infinitely overshadows human intelligence.  Golem, whose history we follow from its birth until his inexplicable departure from the human world, not only mercilessly criticizes humanity, claims of our culture and delusions about allegedly refining mechanisms of evolution, but also creates a breathtaking vision of further development of artificial intelligence – beyond our cosmos and cognition available within its limits.

     

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  • Imaginary Magnitude

    Imaginary Magnitude
    1 1 1 1 1 Rating 4.73 (11 Votes)

    A Perfect Vacuum was a collection of humorous reviews of nonexistent books, satirizing trends and fads in literature, criticism, academia, and popular science.  Imaginary Magniture is really a companion piece, being a collection of introductions to books of the next century.  The introductions are parodies, satires, and miscellaneous bits of speculative whimsy, and Lem shows signposts along the way to tell us in what spirit we should take the introductions:  two of the authors are named Rambellais and Gulliver, reminding us that the shadows of Rabelais and Swift cannot be far away.

    Joseph Francavilla, American Book Review

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  • One Human Minute

    One Human Minute
    1 1 1 1 1 Rating 4.80 (15 Votes)

    One Human Minute (...) is a review of a book of statistical tables, a compilation that includes everything that happens to human life on the planet within any given 60 second period.  One of Lem's most diverting and thought-provoking abilities is his gift for taking mundane realities, paradoxes and horrors and flying with them to heights of imaginative, logical absurdity.  There are occasional flashes of such wit in this piece (...)

    Lynn Harnett, Portsmouth Herald

     

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  • Provocation

    Provocation
    1 1 1 1 1 Rating 4.50 (10 Votes)

    This brilliant analysis of a totalitarian system and the way it lead to genocide is not limited to the diagnosis only. Lem describes this process in most shocking detail sometimes in a seemingly iconoclastic way.

    Wiktor Grotowicz

    NOTE:  Prowokacja has not been translated to English.

     

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