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The Futurological Congress: From the Memoirs of Ijon Tichy Audio Download – Unabridged

4.5 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio Download
  • Listening Length: 4 hours and 51 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Audible Studios
  • Audible.co.uk Release Date: 27 Aug. 2012
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0092QM4MK
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank:

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
A brilliant novel that is at once hillarious, disturbing, and thought provoking. This book is both philosophy, recalling Plato's parable of the cave, and satire, commenting on our prescription drug-obsessed society, told with Lem's trademark punnery and absurdity. My favorite novel by Lem. Highly, highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
My first acquaintance with Lem was via The Cyberiad, which unlike any other non-Lem book had me laughing out loud almost once per page. While The Futurological Congress is also satirical, in that Lem tells the tale with just the right amount of insincerity to make the story credible in its framework, it also takes the genre of "psychological sci-fi" to an extreme. Picture Philip K. Dick to the nth power. I was incredibly amused, bemused, and provoked by this novel and would recommend it to absolutely everyone. (Also any other Lem book.)
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By A Customer on 8 Aug. 2000
Format: Paperback
It is impossible to say how highly i recommend this book . It is by turns exciting, thought provoking and above all funny ; but i think that its constantant questioning of our perception of reality that is just downright scary. Accept no substitute! This book is for everyone who doubts the real(?) world and for all those who think Orwells 1984 could well be happening. Did i just write this ? I may never know.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Whether the hidden qualities of this have been lost in translation I'm not sure, but my impression of this supposed satirical sc-fi classic is that it is actually one big random heap of repetitive and rambling confusion. Starts promisingly, the type of dystopian, 60/70s sci-fi I usually go for and very much a reflection of what was happening in the late 60's (i.e. post-hippie social meltdown) but Stanislaw just can't seem to develop any kind of satisfying narrative. Feels like a book written on a cheap speed bender - good idea at the time, but come sobriety...ouch.
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Format: Paperback
Stanislaw Lem is a fascinating writer, preoccupied with the questions of how people perceive reality, and what future the war-like human race has in store for itself. Ijon Tichy, frozen and then defrosted, is thrown into a bizarre world he can barely comprehend; but is it real, a delusion, or is the delusion even aware there might be another delusion beneath? Lem creates a brilliantly observed world, almost recognisable, almost believable, totally unnerving. Tichy is a great guide, bewildered, yet non-judgemental; who in trying to understand, gets closer and closer to the truth of a human race enslaved by itself and its creations. Visionary, and highly unusual.
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Format: Paperback
This was my introduction to Lem, and in my opinion, nothing else of his quite lives up to it. The seemingly farcical tale turns into an intellectual puzzle before your very eyes. This dystopia will make you sit up and say "Wow!" at the end, with plenty of laughs before you get there.
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Format: Paperback
I am a list fiend. I make lists of every conceivable form and fashion. One such list is "The Funniest Books I have Ever Read." This one makes that list, finishing in a three-way tie for first with CATCH-22 and John Barth's THE SOTWEED FACTOR (Jerome K. Jerome's THREE MEN IN A BOAT is next in the list). The plot: the future is a very, very bad place to be. Inconceivable overcrowding, deplorable living conditions, shortages of every imaginable form. How to cope? Drug the world! Social engineering and better living through the use of mind altering drugs. Democracy and Socialism have given way to the government of the future: Pharmacocracy! The world isn't a better place; it just seems to be. But when terrorists put LSD into the water supply at the 116-story Costa Rica Hilton during the meeting of the world's foremost futorologists, the thin veneer holding society together becomes flayed.
Lem has written three of my favorite books in the world: this one, THE STAR DIARIES (also featuring Ijon Tichy--I believe in the original Polish these two were part of the same volume), and SOLARIS. The latter is equally superb, but oddly enough, completely without humor. It is almost difficult to comprehend that these works all came from the same writer.
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Format: Paperback
The futurological congress is a think tank for the foremost minds of the age. They meet for a conference against a back drop of a totalitarian government and drugged masses idling their lives away while being unaware of how bad things are. But it's all going to change. Someone has drugged the water supply.

This is a book of ideas, almost essay like in its presentation. The one thing that it doesn't concern itself with is a plot. Although set up as a strong story, it quickly abandons this in favour of presenting its arguments. That is its strength. It wrong foots you into believing one thing and then presents a contrary argument for you to consider alternate views.

This is a short work, but there's more to think about here than you normally get in a novel ten times the length. If you haven't tried Lem before, I'd recommend The Cyberiad or Tales Of Pirx The Pilot in which you can take the serious messages or ignore them and enjoy the story. Here that isn't so easily done, but if you fancy a thoughtful and funny book, it's well worth trying.
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