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"The Futurological Congress" is one of the most daringly told stories about Ijon Tichy.  Tichy is invited to a futorological convention in a Latin America republic shaken by revolution.  Eventually Tichy is transferred to a world where in a grotesque convolution both the utopian and anti-utopian visions of the future have been realized.  Mockery of futorology – as always with Lem – is accompanied by serious reflection about human disposition for discord with reality.

 

4.50 out of 5 based on 2 ratings2 user reviews.
The Word Is ... Unreal! Reviewed by James Paris "Tarnmoor" on . Here I am sitting on a chair and pecking at a keyboard with a monitor and computer in front of me. At least I think so. But what if the sushi I had for lunch was spiked with a psychotropic drug that makes me believe that this typing at the keyboard activity is real? Especially when, in actual reality, I may be strung up stark naked and upside-down in a subterranean dungeon with rats gnawing at my vitals while happily thinking up what to write about Stanislaw Lem's greatest book, THE FUTUROLOGICAL CONGRESS. The reason why I believe that some of the best sci-fi since WW2 came from Eastern Europe (Lem from Poland and Boris and Arkady Strugatsky from Russia) is that the mind set of communism was conducive toward what is referred to as "aesopic writing" (The term comes from Solzhenitsyn.) If you protested anything, you were regarded as a traitor to the state; but if you wrote fables as the Greek writer Aesop did which were not set in a particular unnamed repressive regime at a particular time, you might be able to get away with it scot free. Lem had a field day by speculating on a congress who members are drugged into thinking they are drugged into acting as if they were drugged ... it goes on and on. The more or less classical beginning descends into multiple levels of questioning every level into reality, until even the most utterly solipsistic stance is questioned. By that time, you are either confused or, if you're like me, laughing your head off. As they say in another context, unreal! James Paris "Tarnmoor" Rating: 5 5
A most enjoyable diversion Reviewed by James Paris on . Candide by Moliere, part anything by Kafka and part End Game or Waiting for Godot. This touches the fringe of dystopia presented by Stanislaw Lem's biting look into our collective future. It takes just a tiny bit of suspension of disbelief to find the seeds of his tale planted in the last hundred years of human history. I liked this story as I also liked his Solaris. I will invest my time in exploring some of his other works. Rating: 4 5