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The Futurological Congress: From the Memoirs of Ijon Tichy

(Ijon Tichy #3)

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  9,918 ratings  ·  617 reviews
Bringing his twin gifts of scientific speculation and scathing satire to bear on that hapless planet, Earth, Lem sends his unlucky cosmonaut, Ijon Tichy, to the Eighth Futurological Congress. Caught up in local revolution, Tichy is shot and so critically wounded that he is flashfrozen to await a future cure. Translated by Michael Kandel.
Paperback, 149 pages
Published October 28th 1985 by Mariner Books (first published 1971)
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Karol Urbanski It's basically freestanding, and quite different from the other ones.…moreIt's basically freestanding, and quite different from the other ones.(less)

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Glenn Russell
Oct 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-books

"Books are no longer read but eaten, not made of paper but of some informational substance, fully digestible, sugar-coated. A few grams of dantine, for instance, and a man goes around with the deep conviction that he has written The Divine Comedy.
-Stanislaw Lem, The Futurological Congress

A short novel narrated by cosmonaut Ijon Tichy, a kind of futuristic Alexis de Tocqueville who shares his travel report and diary beginning at a convention of world futurologists held at a space age hotel in Co
Mario the lone bookwolf
Mar 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lem-stanislaw
Join Ijon Tichy´s short trip to the unconventional group meeting therapy sessions called intergalactic politics.

The only ones coming close to Lem´s subtility and dark humor are Twain, Capek, and some others I am too procrastinating to remember their names, excluding Clarke, who was epic and philosophical, but didn´t intend to reach the meta cynical level, instead more moving towards philosophical and even positive, utopian visions.

If you like this one, you will love The star Diaries, by far Lem
Jan 08, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
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.

MJ Nicholls
A frenetic, benzedrinical helter-skelter masterwork of neological loopiness and warp-nine schizomania, served in a tureen of insane, prophetic, and batshit prose that maintains a neck-snapping pace of breathless imaginative dizziness across 129 faultless pages.
H.M. Ada
Oct 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-sci-fi
Ok, so I don't want to give too much away here. This short book, almost a novella really, takes you on quite a ride, and I really enjoyed not knowing where it was going, so I'm not going to say too much about the plot. But basically it starts in one dystopian future, where the main character is at a convention about solving the world's many serious problems, and then it takes you to another, where all of those problems have been solved by technology - and pharmacology in particular.

This is refe
Bill Kerwin
Feb 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction

This outrageous and satisfying adventure of star voyager Ijon Tichy, Stanislaw Lem’s galactic Gulliver, is not strictly part of The Star Diaries at all, for it shows us our hero Tichy in a terrestrial setting for a change: in Nounas, Costa Rica, to be precise, where he is an attendee of the Eighth World Futurological Congress.

This annual academic convention—which takes place in a hundred-story luxury hotel, divorced from the teeming country below that “boasts the highest rate of demographic gro
Dec 07, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  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,
David Katzman
Dec 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant! Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant! Written in 1975, in Polish, The Futurological Congress is easily as relevant today as then. The story consists of two parts. One set in a near future and then one in a more distant future, hypothetically 2039.

Part one is the most absurd satire of academia, U.S. - third world relations, and those "trend predictors" of the future. Part two imagines a future that is the xtreme-sports version of "Brave New World." And told with the most experimental lingui
Jesse Campagna
Jun 24, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Sep 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This novella is a reality-bending substance, a crazy roller-coaster or helter-skelter ride of a book, concerning the further adventures of Lem's anti-hero, Ijon Tichy. It's both philosophical and deeply funny at the same time. Taking the Berkeleyan concept of the location of subjective reality within individual consciousness, Lem refracts it though a prism of narcotics and takes it on a mind-warping freak-out. At first, the humour reminded me of Woody Allen - very 1970s-surrealist - and the plot ...more
A schizophrenic plot scraping the reality bare. You are left with linguistical, logical, psychological tenets, in shambles and with barely a chance to put yourself together.
A novel paving the way to obvious comparisons between Stanisław Lem et Philip K. Dick!

Personal point of view : the loose, multilayered plot scattering and scuttering in every direction had me utterly confused. Then again, the coarse, lopsided translation may be partly responsible for this state of things in the end.

Matching S
Chris Kelly
Jun 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
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
Dec 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Futurological Congress is one of the best sci-fi books I've ever read. It's also one of the more interesting books I've read this year in terms of both its structure and plot. In terms of structure, the book opens with non-stop action and excitement, every single page, and this doesn't stop until about 70 pages in. Then it's a really slow burn for about 50-60 pages, and then it picks up again and drops an absolutely fantastic, mind-blowing ending. I find books tend to be consistent in pace f ...more
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 the
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
Jose Moa
Dec 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This novel by Lem is a chapter of the astronaut IJon Tich memoirs series,it is with Ubik by Dick yet surpassing Dick(i dont know if there was some crossed influences between them) the most bizarre i have read,it is a hilarious,delirious,mind-blowing and outlandish nightmare.

Writen in 1970 in the LSD era,it has the bigger number of nested realities ever described.
After a satyrical and killing oneself laughing begining of a congress in order to foresse the future wold(with some ambiental concerns)
Sep 19, 2007 rated it it was ok
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
Apr 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Stanisław Lem is my favorite science fiction writer; only Brian Aldiss, Samuel Delany and John Sladek come even close to his level of invention in ideas and language. But Lem is wittier than any of them and arguably better value too. The Futurological Congress is a short novel but packed to bursting with amazing concepts, original situations and hilarious wordplay. The action is multi-layered, reality proving to be nested inside other realities until it becomes unclear what is really real and wh ...more
Alex Drozd
Dec 23, 2017 rated it liked it
This book is often compared to the work of Philip K Dick, ostensibly because of its theme of drug-induced hallucinations, but I suspect it’s more so because of Lem’s admiration for PKD as “the only worthwhile American science-fiction writer.”

For me, I’m much more reminded of Brave New World by Alduous Huxley. The same, basic concept is behind the story, even though Huxley’s work is a “serious novel” and this one is anything but. While The Futurological Congress has many deep ideas, it’s delivery
Jan 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Stanislaw Lem and Philip k Dick share a feature which I would call 'reality mongering', an obsession with the reality of reality. I will explain it with a horribly sweet example.

One day, I started noticing some paranormal activities going around me. First at a minimal level, then it heightened to a grotesque level: like people having three heads on their shoulder, and eating other people's flesh for dinner. I don't remember the details, but everything possibly weird was going on. As I'm a fairl
Nov 25, 2014 rated it liked it
From the author of the brilliant and disturbing Solaris, this absurdist dystopian work is rife with black humor and wordplay. Although the trope on which the novel turns is the pharmacological management of a dismal future, one can easily see the novel as an ironic comment on current psychological and sociological uses of marketing "spin" to turn vast segments of the world's population into the mindless puppets who have given lemmings a bad name. Let me be clear that I am not just talking about ...more
Leo Robertson
Aug 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bonkers, loved it :)
Charles Dee Mitchell
Oct 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
As the first day of the Eighth Futurological Congress draws to a close, the one-hundred-story-plus Hilton Hotel in Costa Rica that hosts it has been reduced to rubble by the protesters, insurgents, and armed forces fighting outside. Ijon Tichy, whose space travels Stanislaw Lem chronicled over many years, has retreated along with a handful of other delegates to the labyrinthine tunnels beneath the destroyed structure. They wear oxygen masks to combat the chemical weapons deployed to calm the rio ...more
Bulent Erdemir
May 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author created a dystopian future which is very nice to read. The book is short, maybe as a result of this, the characters and the story is not well developed. As the reader, you in fact expect more from the book and the plot overall could have been mode sophisticated. However, it's worth a read just to witness the mind bending that's in the story. ...more
Aug 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Ami Iida
Oct 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: scifi
"The Futurological Congress
there are full of experimental thoughts and Hallucination in the world in it.
I enjoy to read it and thank you for introducing me it.

When I read it, there are full of science fiction's thoughts, topics, thought experiment in the book's
my imagination activates many times.................
Jul 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: prose, polish, 4-star, fiction
My future conferences, if any, will never be as before.
May 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
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
Mark Hodder
Dec 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
I rate Stanislaw Lem as I rate Philip K. Dick, which is to say, very highly indeed. I recently read that his work is being newly translated, these editions being far superior to the ones I owned in my youth. However, I’m on a mission to rebuild the collection I had back then, so restricted myself to this 1974 copy, which adorned my shelves too many decades ago. In THE FUTUROLOGICAL CONGRESS, Lem immediately plunges the reader into a world of overcrowding, sexual excess, and terrorism, where a ha ...more
Apr 12, 2020 added it
Shelves: science-fiction
This had a feel of Philip K. dick about it in it's crazed plotline and speed of storytelling although this did actually have an ending that, whilst abrupt, made sense. ...more
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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

Other books in the series

Ijon Tichy (5 books)
  • The Star Diaries: Further Reminiscences of Ijon Tichy
  • Memoirs of a Space Traveler: Further Reminiscences of Ijon Tichy
  • Peace on Earth
  • Wizja Lokalna

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