Fri Jul 16 1999 08:35: I can't get enough of the Super Golden Crisp that is Stanislaw Lem. Every time I think he's going to reuse an idea he's already used in a story, he turns on me and pounds me into the ground for my insolence. Metaphorically, I mean.
I read Eden, Memoirs of a Space Traveller, and Return from the Stars yesterday, picking up one as soon as I finished the other. Memoirs was consistently good, and very funny. Return started out excellent and then dragged along for a while. Eden started off great, was consistently great, and ended in a mind-numbing explosion of greatness that overwhelmed me to the extent that I never want to read the beginning or middle of the book again, just the end.
I have three more books of Lem to read, and there are at least five more books of his in English in the library, although a couple of the novels look like your standard Cold War-era Polish angst-filled novels. I've never actually read such a novel, but I can recognize the form.
Actually, I did read a novel of that form, though by a Russian expatriate, It Is Hard To Be A Russian Spy. I found it in Peter's office. I thought it would be a light-hearted romp through the world of espionage. Instead, it was just depressing. I do like saying "Is hard to be Russian spy" in my lame Russian broken-English accent, though.
Eden is copyright 1990. I wonder if Lem is still alive and writing.
I went to the library to get T.H. White's Arthurian novels. I came for the White, stayed for the Lem. I am starting The Sword In The Stone, which I now realize was where Disney got their The Sword In The Stone from. I thought that movie seemed a little lighthearted to be a Disneyisation from the original Arthurian mythos.