A Genuine Alienness,
This review is from: His Master's Voice (Paperback)
A highly recommended exploration of genuine alienness. Incommunicable, unfathomable, the kind of encounter that refuses to conform to the frameworks and paradigms that we attempt to enforce. Plot-wise, Lem focuses mainly on the isolated scholarly reflections of Peter Hogarth as he joins The Master's Voice project, set up to decipher a message not of this world.
We get to explore scientific politics and rivalries, potted histories of the project that verge on the Borgesian and a series of intellectual puzzles rendered more thrilling than you would imagine. Lem's true gift is to convey all this without the heavy-handed indulgence of quasi-scientific terms and over-wrought discussions of quantum physics. As a result, the unique alien intelligence not only remains potent today, but is perhaps even more compelling in comparison with the cliched ideas of the alien that currently abound.
If there is a complaint, it is that the unsettling psychological quality which Lem conveys so well is stronger and better-plotted in his best known work 'Solaris'. But this is all well worth your time and attention. It is only a pity that more of Lem's works are not available in contemporary editions. He is woefully under-appreciated.