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PEACE ON EARTH by Stanislaw Lem


by Stanislaw Lem

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1994
ISBN: 015602814X
Publisher: Harcourt

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). The governments of Earth have banished the arms race to the moon, where miniaturized, self-replicating weapons equipped with artificial instincts were provided the means to evolve and compete in utter secrecy -- the intended outcome being a self-adjusting stalemate. However, the meddlesome Lunar Agency, among other interested parties, soon evinces an overwhelming desire to discover what's going on, and the experienced Tichy is given the job. After numerous inexplicable experiences, he runs afoul of a tightly focused ray that surgically severs his right brain from his left. Back on Earth, his left brain functions much as usual; his right brain cannot read, likes to pinch women's behinds, and keeps trying to communicate in Morse code. And when Earth's computers abruptly fall silent, Tichy finds that the lunar weapons have used him to mount a successful terrestrial invasion. One of science fiction's true intellectuals, Lem doesn't so much write novels as conduct thought experiments. His complex, witty narratives, while often -- as here -- lacking visceral clout, attack the outermost limits of logic and reason.