Cover of Fiasco by Stanislaw Lem


My third Stanislaw Lem book comes by way of a gift-recommendation from a friend, possibly after he noticed The Cyberiad on my book pile last October.

Calling Fiasco “relentlessly pessimistic” is maybe a bit harsh, but only a bit. It’s a Stanislaw Lem novel, after all. Sometimes I want to talk about a book as soon as I finish it—I think most times I do—but this was a case where I re-read the last paragraph a few times, closed the book, and sat quietly for a while. I appreciate when a book makes me do that.

I think in the end, all I can say is that Fiasco was a more invigorating “first contact” take than Axiom’s End, which I read back in March and which is total garbage. Fiasco was also an unintentionally interesting choice to read right before another Austin Feminist Sci-Fi Book Club pick on the first contact train, A Desolation Called Peace. 

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Stockholm-based translator and copyeditor of American extraction.

2 thoughts on “Fiasco”

  1. I love Lem! Have you read A Perfect Vacuum? I also loved Imaginary Magnitude–I recommend them both. When I did an independent study project on philosophy and lit, we read both.

    1. Not yet! I usually try to prioritize reading as many authors as I can as opposed to multiple of particular authors (and I’ve already also read Solaris and The Cyberiad), but this might be one of the cases where I make an exception, putting Lem among illustrious figures like Agatha Christie, Roald Dahl, David Foster Wallace and Pär Lagerkvist.

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