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The Futurological Congress (Ijon Tichy #3)

4.19 of 5 stars 4.19  ·  rating details  ·  4,344 ratings  ·  237 reviews
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 ch ...more
Paperback, 156 pages
Published January 1st 1991 by Mandarin (first published 1971)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Kasia
Dec 30, 2009 Kasia rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: The Matrix, Brave New World, Stanisław Lem, and or Philip K. Dick fans
Recommended to Kasia by: Jim son of Jim (formerly PhotoJim)
"Now to make it in the arts,
publicize your private parts!
Critics say you can't offend 'em
with your phallus or pudendum!"

That's the translation, the original version:
„Tylko głupiec i kanalia
lekceważy genitalia,
bo najbardziej jest dziś modne
reklamować części rodne!”


Do you like it? I find it hilarious, in both languages, and it's roughly the same.

WTF? You ask. Well, it's a slogan Lem made up for the use of this book, and I think it shows a little something about this guy.

But don't be mistaken,
...more
Jesse Campagna
Jun 24, 2007 Jesse Campagna rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All
Maybe the most mind bending, and pain inducing books I've ever read. Also the most eye openning and refreshing. The book that both made me want to die and gave me reason to live.
Manny
Stanislaw Lem outdoes Philip K. Dick on the latter's home territory. If reading this doesn't make you doubt the solidity of the world for at least a moment or two, you are an enviably secure person. I'm afraid I still feel apprehensive any time I notice I'm inexplicably out of breath after taking an elevator. Luckily that doesn't happen very often.

Dina
This one didn't excite me at all. The first part of the book is so muddled, it's hard to make heads or tails of. While I acknowledge this attempt to put in the reader in the shoes of the protagonist, I'm sure we would have got the message loud and clear without the 50ish pages of is-it-real-or-isn't-it "hallucinations". Yes, we get it, drug commentary, psychopharmacology, etc, etc. Move along. Lem's attempt to establish a dystopia struck me as one-dimensional and boring, focusing almost exclusiv ...more
Chris Kelly
I can't remember which science fiction author made a statement that suggested that, while "outer" space offers a great deal of potential subject matter, it does not come close to the realm of "inner" space in terms of room for exploration. Lem has certainly taken that idea to heart with this short but powerful book.

The Futurological Congress is a first person account through the eyes of a recurring Lem character by the name of Ijon Tichy. The story begins in Costa Rica where a group of academics
...more
sologdin
Over-the-top satirical. The Matrix meets Brave New World. Lotsa inventiveness and humor. Part of a subgenre that includes Stand on Zanzibar, R. Scott, Bakker, and others, a fantasy of demographics, say.

The future imaginary of the setting’s updated Rip van Winkle dystopia offends narrator’s “esthetic sense as well as my attachment to the irretrievable past” (84). Very much a matter of solids melting into air, &c.

AI laborers fuck things up, but it is “no question of malice or premeditation on
...more
Toby
This 1971 offering from Polish author Stanislaw Lem mixes black humour, absurdism, and social satire brilliantly in a short novel that will make you laugh at times, and make you think always.
The Futurological Congress follows one of the adventures of character Ijon Tichy as he is caught up in a chemical attack. The book provides satire on both the social move towards a "chemically corrected society" where we use different drugs to fix any kind of problem we encounter, and a more subtle commenta
...more
Pierre Menard
Nov 26, 2014 Pierre Menard rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Who hopes that just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down…
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oliver Twist & Shout
"Congreso de Futurología" vendría a dar la razón a esos puristas que antes despreciaban la ciencia ficción y la tachaban de literatura menor. El motivo principal es que la caracterización de los personajes es irrisiblemente plana, sin relieve ni aristas que los hagan interesantes. Se tratan de unos compañeros de viaje insípidos que difícilmente darán lugar a grandes acontecimientos.

La escritura de Lem es la típicamente cinematográfica y resulta monótona como si un pianista se empeñara en tocar
...more
Joshua
A very wild read. Multiple dystopian visions couched in nested hallucinations instigated by chemical warfare within another dystopia. The plot is fairly unsubstantial, but the book is short, so that's not really a problem. The story is really just Lem running wild with a thought experiment. I found it particularly fascinating to read having just finished Daniel Dennett's Consciousness Explained.

What is possibly most impressive is the translation. This book has a running theme about technical neo
...more
Eric
As I was reading it, I kept thinking it'd make a great movie. And it turns out that one is in the works, directed by the guy that directed Waltz with Bashir. Funny, I was also thinking that it should be a partly animated movie. Despite it having been written nearly 40 years ago in Iron Curtain Poland, it's still VERY applicable to today. My only disappointment was the ending... but considering where and when it was written, there probably wasn't any other choice for the author.

I'm definitely goi
...more
Desinka
I'm glad I had a look into a crzy genius' head but it was a bit too long and I wasn't impressed with the picture inside.
Steve
For a book that's almost 50 years old, it still feels fresh and funny. For instance

"Really," I thought, "we have too many of these eye-opening enthusiasts."

could equally apply to your Twitter timeline today.

The translation to English was excellent, even with all the made-up words and clever turns of phrase, it never felt awkward to read.

(view spoiler)
...more
Katherine
Sep 29, 2008 Katherine rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who would like to expand their science fiction libraries
Recommended to Katherine by: Husband
Shelves: dystopian
I need to start out by saying that I am not as well read in Science Fiction as I am in other genres.

Stanislaw Lem writes with a style that is inaccessible for me, but I could see as being accessible for other people. This book, published in 1971, was too psychedelic for me and consisted of too many sexual themes. Upon coming to the conclusion of the book, I was disappointed not with the ending but that the ultimate message of the book was such a great message that I wish it had been told in a di
...more
Biblibio
While I enjoyed reading The Futurological Congress throughout, its shine has diminished somewhat in recent weeks (unlike the opposite effect I had with Lem's significantly superior Solaris). The book is best classified as a mind-f[...], if only because that's the plot of the book. Toss in the fact that the book constantly teases and baffles the reader and... well. Mind-f[...] it is.

There is some dark humor in The Futoroglical Congress. Scenes like the moment Tichy realizes the extent of his high
...more
Herman Gigglethorpe
This short novel is a gem that all fans of dystopian stories should read. Ijon Tichy is a recurring character in Stanislaw Lem's works who is caught in a terrorist attack on the hotel where scientists are trying to figure out how to solve future overpopulation issues. There's a chemical in the water that makes the victim become altruistic to the point of feeling suicidal because of previous sins.

After many funny hallucinations, Tichy has to have his brain placed into another body and be cryogen
...more
Michael
Absurdist satire of humanity lurching toward pharmacological solutions toward the world's problems. Laugh out loud funny, with compressed touches of genius enough to supply a foundation of a slew of ordinary sci-fi dystopian novels. The play on words on every page somehow works great even in translation. Lem's astronaut Tichy attends the conference in Costa Rico, which is supposed to address on the first day the population crisis, global pollution, the food crisis, the energy crisis, etc, before ...more
_inbetween_
Seem to have forgotten I never actually wrote down what I thought I had, which fits the book in a way. It starts out funny and fastpaced and only stopped be - early on and abruptly - when it became clear that even in this novel written in the 70s and a communist climate, there are NO female professors. All professors are male, all secretaries are female, so I guess all rape also only went one way. I made the mistake of trying to get the simple fact that even post Dick Dick and Asimov, in an age ...more
Sara
This book killed me: made me laugh much of the way through, and then smacked me in the face with its utterly bleak conclusion. I could compare it to a certain movie, but to do so would give it away.

It's better to compare it to Douglas Adams. "Congress" contains a sermon on the napkin, brought on by a drug that makes you "worship whatever happens to be at hand," products for sale that are allowed to shout, but prohibited from actually reaching out and grabbing you, and "macrotrashm" a new cosmogo
...more
Liam
Now THAT'S how you write a fucking book. Astounding stuff. At points it's a very trippy search for objective reality within embedded hallucination, at others its a savage satire of linguistic modernity, and at its best it's an intriguing analogy of Taylorist social control and political belief in the "greater good". It deals with the dangers of drug-dependence with more insightfulness than Brave New World and with far less self-righteous indignation. The book is foremost a very funny and enormou ...more
Erik Graff
Jul 31, 2011 Erik Graff rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Dick/Lem fans
Recommended to Erik by: James Koehnline
Shelves: sf
This book impressed me as reminiscent of Philip K. Dick's Through a Scanner Darkly. Lem is more clearly intending humor, albeit dark humor, but the theme of governments pacifying populations by the general application of drugs is the same. With Lem it seems pretty clearly a social satire about governmental manipulation of public consciousness. With Dick, and in light of all of his later gnosticizing work, the theme is handled with a virtually paranoid seriousness. One wonders if one borrowed fro ...more
Jacob
This book is basically what would happen if Philip K. Dick decided to smack around Edward Bellamy's Looking Backward. Complete with future jumping, the book spends it's first have setting the stage of modern chaos and then after some futurological meddling transported to this nouveau utopia complete with excess, equality, and perhaps more importantly robots (in theory).

It is however important to note that this setting always remains only that. The book itself is played off as a diary so you are
...more
Turok Tucker
It took a moment for "The Futurological Congress" to draw me in, because it read like a young writer grabbing at word count. It read like something I'd currently write, which is a loosely strung together plot with occasionally interesting ideas. However, after reaching the halfway point in the novel Lem's theme begins to mingle with his plot. Before the theme synthesizes in a readers mind, the book reads like a series of bizarre ideas mingled with a repetitive and cliche twist to push the next p ...more
Ronald
I write this review shortly after seeing the movie The Congress, which is an adaptation of Lem's book _The Futurological Congress_. I advise to skip the movie. The movie has a much different (and inferior) plot than the novel. The movie only had three or four things from the book. Soon after the movie ended, I sensed disappointment in the other movie goers and I actually told some of them that the book is different and much better.

This book is like a Philip K. Dick novel is highly wacky mode. It
...more
Chavonne
This book was something else. It felt like the author was on a crazy trip and this was what he came up with. I was struck by the similarity between the future world and how we live now--as a society we medicate any and every ailment without letting ourselves view reality at times. I thought this book was wildly funny in some ways, but it took ages to slog through it. I have never read anything like this before and am glad to have had the chance to. Still, I'll never read it again.
Carlos Piélago rojo
Le doy dos estrellas y a lo mejor estoy siendo demasiado duro porque el libro tiene momentos brillantes, pero son solo eso, momentos.

La historia está dividida en dos partes, que además divide el libro en dos mitades casi exactas en cuanto extensión. En la primera comienza, a mi modo de ver, no muy bien, no engancha desde el principio y al final te acaba cansando, todo parece un sin sentido enorme.

Vale, ahora llegamos a la segunda parte y todo cambia drásticamente, lo que no tenía sentido en la
...more
Sara
Stanislaw Lem's The Futurological Congress: From the Memoirs of Ijon Tichy is a concoction of Alice in Wonderland, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy Live, and The Matrix. It was the first book in a while that literally made me laugh out loud. Trust me about it's awesomeness, as summarizing a joke truly ruins it.

In the not so distant future, Earth is desperate for peace after generations of hostilities and overpopulation, but no one can seem to agree about how to achieve that peace. Each count
...more
Jeremy
The Futurological Congress is a sardonic sci-fi novella about a futurologist who winds up in the future after being dosed with hallucinogens. A work of Swiftian satire that now seems prophetic: It was published in the 1970s, but its pharmacological warning is even more pointed in our post-Prozac era. The book is read-out-loud hilarious, and required reading for fans of Philip K. Dick and/or William Burroughs.
Lauren Good
Took me forever to wade through this miniscule book, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. Maybe better as a short story as one could get the point across in that amount of space, but it was interesting to see the imagery the author used throughout, especially when the curtain between reality and the drug-induced state began to fade.
Stewart
In a world where normal life is terrible, the soothing deceits of the virtual world are more appealing. This is meant to include: video games, drugs, and religion. There are layers upon layers of delusions. For example, a religious father will (rightly) mourn his sons variously breaking from "reality" by indulging obsessively in video games or drugs, but they merely add another layer of delusion. The religious authority merely needs one less soothing lie.

Stanislaw Lem is a bitter version of Dou
...more
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The Evolution of ...: The Congress 5 31 Nov 17, 2014 11:38AM  
The Sword and Laser: [LINK] New Trailer for Stanislaw Lem Film Adaptation, "The Congress" 1 20 May 20, 2013 07:16PM  
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10991
Stanisław 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 w ...more
More about Stanisław Lem...

Other Books in the Series

Ijon Tichy (8 books)
  • The Star Diaries: Further Reminiscences of Ijon Tichy
  • Memoirs of a Space Traveler: Further Reminiscences of Ijon Tichy
  • Peace on Earth
  • Pożytek ze Smoka i Inne Opowiadania
  • Wizja Lokalna
  • Dzienniki gwiazdowe 1 (Dzienniki gwiazdowe, wyd. 2-tomowe, #1)
  • Dzienniki gwiazdowe 2 (Dzienniki gwiazdowe, wyd. 2-tomowe, #2)
Solaris The Cyberiad Tales of Pirx the Pilot The Star Diaries: Further Reminiscences of Ijon Tichy Eden

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