Books by Stanislaw Lem

HIGHCASTLE by Stanislaw Lem
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 1, 1995

"A charming, effervescent memoir from a writer who consistently transcends genre."
The brilliant Polish science-fiction writer (Peace on Earth, 1994, etc.) reflects on his childhood between world wars. Read full book review >
PEACE ON EARTH by Stanislaw Lem
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 1, 1994

"His complex, witty narratives, while often — as here — lacking visceral clout, attack the outermost limits of logic and reason."
This third appearance for imperturbable astronaut Ijon Tichy (following The Futurological Congress, 1974) extends the horrifying notions on future weapons and warfare that Lem advanced in One Human Minute (1986). Read full book review >
EDEN by Stanislaw Lem
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 1, 1989

"Like Lem's most recent, the brilliant Fiasco (1987), a terrifyingly plausible picture of a world gone mad."
The inimitable Lem continues his penetrating, profound social criticism by dramatizing—in the form of an alien-contact yarn—what can go wrong with society even when ideology is absent. Read full book review >
HOSPITAL OF THE TRANSFIGURATION by Stanislaw Lem
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 17, 1988

"All in all, not for the fainthearted, even though Lem is not yet at full power here."
Lem's first novel, written in 1948, and suppressed in Poland—not too surprisingly, given the Eastern bloc's use of psychiatry as an instrument of the state: part autobiography, part mordant commentary, part metaphor. Read full book review >
FIASCO by Michael Kandel
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 26, 1987

"Powerful, brooding, fascinating work, with a frightening and urgent message for Star Wars-mongers."
Pure "hard" sf of the finest: developing and embellishing some of the ideas put forth in One Human Minute (1986), Leto presents a disturbing, highly intelligent, and scathing account of medium-future humanity's attempt to contact an extraterrestrial civilization. Read full book review >
ONE HUMAN MINUTE by Catherine S. Leach
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Feb. 17, 1986

"Brief but stimulating work, much less belligerent than Microworlds (1984), with the concerns here for once scaled down to a level readily assimilated by mere humans."
Along the lines of A Perfect Vacuum (1979), the three slender pieces here—apparently of recent vintage—start out as reviews of nonexistent books, but soon develop into essays that straddle the borderline between fiction and non-fiction. Read full book review >
IMAGINARY MAGNITUDE by Marc E. Heine
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Aug. 24, 1984

"Don't look for stories, here, or fiction in any orthodox sense—but this is weirdly satisfying entertainment, with the remarkable Lem variously at his profound, provocative, or comic best."
In A Perfect Vacuum (1979), Leto offered a collection of reviews of nonexistent books. Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 1, 1984

"In sum: guaranteed to offend and provoke."
Ten essays, 1971-83: ranging from autobiography through analyses of the underpinnings of sf to examinations of specific authors and works—delivered in thunderous yet calculated tones, and a welter of academic polysyllables. Read full book review >
MORE TALES OF PIRX THE PILOT by Louis Iribarne
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 17, 1982

"A ruminative, often discursive bunch, wanting in urgency and drama—without the mature idea-wrestling of last year's Memoirs of a Space Traveler."
Five more tales featuring Pirx—a bumbling rookie in the original Tales (1979), now a seasoned and level-headed (but coolly cerebral) space jockey. Read full book review >
HIS MASTER'S VOICE by Michael Kandel
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Feb. 15, 1982

"Complex, extremely demanding work altogether (originally published in Polish in 1968), only for alert and determined readers."
In the messages-from-the-stars tradition of such as Hoyle's A for Andromeda and Varley's The Ophiuchi Hotline: a fictional memoir, less a novel than an extended lecture, with Leto simultaneously at his thoughtfully provocative best and irritably didactic worst. Read full book review >
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Jan. 7, 1981

"Intellectually stimulating stories, then—but with Lem's didactic skeletons frequently poking through the meager narrative flesh, they're best taken in small doses."
Sharp satire, with complex philosophical underpinnings: these nine wild but often heavy-handed pieces were omitted from the US edition of The Star Diaries (1974) and now appear as a companion volume. Read full book review >
RETURN FROM THE STARS by Stanislaw Lem
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 23, 1980

"Atypical work from a master, but carried off with characteristic panache."
First published in 1961, and not much like any of Lem's recent work. Read full book review >
TALES OF PIRX THE PILOT by Louis Iribarne
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 22, 1979

"So (in a translation that includes a lot of uneasysounding tense sequences)—one prize and four slighter items from the early Lem archives."
Those who know Lem chiefly through his funny and disturbing paradoxes concerning the future of mind and machine may be puzzled by the present book, first in a planned two-volume edition of the Pirx stories. Read full book review >
THE CHAIN OF CHANCE by Louis Iribarne
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 28, 1978

"Obviously not for most fans of the suspense genre; Lem is just playing, seriously, with the form, and the result is tightly moody in that only half-translatable continental manner, alternately witty and scary and ponderous."
As you might guess, this "novel of suspense" from Europe's favorite deep-think science-fictioner is rather light on the suspense, rather heavy on the philosophical implications. Read full book review >
A PERFECT VACUUM by Michael Kandel
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Feb. 22, 1978

"He may be one of the most annoying writers alive, but had he not existed it would probably have been necessary to invent him."
I suspect," intones one of Lem's supposed reviewers, "that there was an idea that burst upon the author—and from which he shrank." Read full book review >
MORTAL ENGINES by Stanislaw Lem
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: April 1, 1977

"One is grateful for every addition to the body of Leto's work available in English, but Kandel's admittedly personal selection is a good deal less coherent and convincing than his redaction of The Star Diaries."
Kandel, translator of a recent collection of Leto's Ijon Tichy stories (The Star Diaries, 1976), has now put together a slightly disjointed sampling of the Polish sf writer's robot fables. Read full book review >
STAR DIARIES by Michael Kandel
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 1, 1976

"Funny, unexpected, tantalizing."
The Polish sf writer's Star Diaries is a crazy-quilt collection of pieces written, according to Kandel, "over a period of twenty years" and published in 1971. Read full book review >
THE FUTUROLOGICAL CONGRESS by Michael Kandel
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Nov. 1, 1974

"A pessimistic, mordantly funny book, well translated from the Polish by Michael Kandel."
The futurologists of the world have gathered at their Eighth World Congress at the Costa Rica Hilton to discuss the problem of overpopulation. Read full book review >
THE INVESTIGATION by Adele Milch
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 1, 1974

"A compelling and disturbing book, closer to Kafka than the police precinct house."
The Polish science fiction writer has taken the format of the procedural police mystery and turned it into a metaphysical puzzler of considerable power. Read full book review >
THE CYBERIAD by Stanislaw Lem
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Jan. 1, 1973

"The intelligent, ironic Lem is a real find."
Trurl the constructor whose inventions tend to make life complicated for anyone in the vicinity and his cohort Klapaucius make their welcome appearance in this attractive collection by Polish SF writer Lem (translated by Michael Kandel). Read full book review >
SOLARIS by Stanislaw Lem
Released: Sept. 30, 1970

"It all gleams with portent."
An elegant philosophical/futuristic solar bash by a Polish writer involving haunts and terrors on a space station attached to the planet Solaris lit by two suns (red and blue) and covered by an "organic ocean." Read full book review >