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Book Title: The Futurological Congress|
The author of the book: Stanisław Lem
The size of the: 751 KB
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Reader ratings: 6.2
Format files: PDF
Date of issue: January 1st 1991
ISBN 13: 9780749305291
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Ijon Tichy is sent to the 8th World Futurological Congress by Prof Tarantoga. The conference focuses on overpopulation. It's held at the 164 storey Costa Rica Hilton in Nounas. Absurdities abound with the Hilton's guaranteed Bomb-free rooms & the extravagance of the suite, including a palm grove & an 'all-girl orchestra play[ing] Bach while performing a cleverly choreographed striptease'. The conference is absurd. Papers are too numerous to allow full presentations. They're distributed & speakers call out paragraph numbers of the salient points.
Tichy drinks tap water & an hallucinogenic trip begins. Notably, it never becomes more or less absurd than the glimpse of reality presented at the outset. Next day he learns the government has drugged the water supply with Love Thy Neighbor, a drug causing helpless benevolence. Events spiral out of control at the Hilton, which is already so chaotic that charred bombing victims are covered with tarps while guests do business.
The government bombs the hotel. Tichy escapes to sewers where rats walk on hind legs. He's evacuated by the military, but the helicopter crashes. He awakes in hospital & finds his brain has been transplanted into an attractive young black woman.
Protesters attack the hospital. Tichy is nearly killed again. This time he wakes to find he's been transplanted into the body of a fat, red-haired man. His state grows increasingly fragile. He can't distinguish reality from hallucination. The staff freeze him until a time when medicine can help.
He awakes in 2039. Tichy keeps a journal to chronicle his experience. His future shock is so great that he finds he's being introduced to the world in small stages by the medical staff. In this utopian society money is no object. One can go to the bank, request a sum & borrow it interest-free. No effort is made to collect as most take a drug that instills a sense of pride & work-ethic, disallowing default. There's bias against defrostees. There are many words he doesn't understand. The talk's a mishmash of words with clear English roots, but he's mystified. Like Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, mood is regulated. Whereas Dick's characters use machines to control their emotions, Lem's use drugs. He gets involved with a woman. She takes recriminol to make her combative in arguments.
Following their break-up, Tichy becomes disillusioned with the 'psychem' mentality wherein drugs regulate waking moments. He resolves to stop taking any drugs & confides to his friend, Dr Trottelreiner, that he can't stand the world. Trottelreiner explains that the everyday drugs he's tired of are only the tip of the iceberg. Narcotics & hallucinogens are trifles compared to 'mascons' powerful enough to mask whole swaths of reality.
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Read information about the authorStanisław Lem (staˈɲiswaf lɛm) was a Polish science fiction, philosophical and satirical writer of Jewish descent. His books have been translated into 41 languages and have sold over 27 million copies. He is perhaps best known as the author of Solaris, which has twice been made into a feature film. In 1976, Theodore Sturgeon claimed that Lem was the most widely read science-fiction writer in the world.
His works explore philosophical themes; speculation on technology, the nature of intelligence, the impossibility of mutual communication and understanding, despair about human limitations and humankind's place in the universe. They are sometimes presented as fiction, but others are in the form of essays or philosophical books. Translations of his works are difficult and multiple translated versions of his works exist.
Lem became truly productive after 1956, when the de-Stalinization period led to the "Polish October", when Poland experienced an increase in freedom of speech. Between 1956 and 1968, Lem authored 17 books. His works were widely translated abroad (although mostly in the Eastern Bloc countries). In 1957 he published his first non-fiction, philosophical book, Dialogi (Dialogues), one of his two most famous philosophical texts along with Summa Technologiae (1964). The Summa is notable for being a unique analysis of prospective social, cybernetic, and biological advances. In this work, Lem discusses philosophical implications of technologies that were completely in the realm of science fiction then, but are gaining importance today—like, for instance, virtual reality and nanotechnology. Over the next few decades, he published many books, both science fiction and philosophical/futurological, although from the 1980s onwards he tended to concentrate on philosophical texts and essays.
He gained international fame for The Cyberiad, a series of humorous short stories from a mechanical universe ruled by robots, first published in English in 1974. His best-known novels include Solaris (1961), His Master's Voice (Głos pana, 1968), and the late Fiasco (Fiasko, 1987), expressing most strongly his major theme of the futility of mankind's attempts to comprehend the truly alien. Solaris was made into a film in 1972 by Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky and won a Special Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 1972; in 2002, Steven Soderbergh directed a Hollywood remake starring George Clooney.
He was the cousin of poet Marian Hemar.
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