Review by Booklist Review
For die-hard Lem fans, any new work featuring his lovably hapless hero, Ijon Tichy, of Star Diaries fame, is a welcome treat. Here, the legendary polymath and veteran of uncountable universe-spanning misadventures stays closer to home, on a mission to uncover secret information about the reigning superpowers' new breed of intelligent, entirely autonomous weapons. While visiting the moon, where all nations' military arsenals are now located, one high-tech weapon slices through Tichy's corpus callosum, severing the left and right hemispheres of his brain. So now Tichy can type only with his right hand, while his left pinches women's behinds and otherwise acts with a mind of its own. Not only that, but Tichy's memories of what happened on the moon are hidden away in the mischievous right side of his brain, and the fate of nations may depend on their secrets. As usual, Tichy's dilemmas become a fascinating forum for Lem's often brilliant speculations, this time on the future of military technology. Another gem from one of sf's towering geniuses. ~--Carl Hays
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Lem's latest futuristic satire sends his redoubtable protagonist Ijon Tichy-hero of The Futurological Congress, among other works-to the moon, which has been given over to intelligent, self-evolving war machines in a kind of super-detente. Weapons are banned on Earth, while each nation's robot army runs an arms race on the moon. When the governments of Earth become concerned that the machines are planning an invasion of the mother world, the Lunar Agency dispatches Tichy and several remote-controlled robots to investigate. What Tichy finds on the moon provides Lem with a first-class opportunity to skewer military thinking and arms-race politics (it's to the author's credit that his deft takeoff of the Cold War in no way seems dated). Even stranger, however, is what happens to Tichy himself-a bizarre encounter with an unusual weapon results in a unique twist on the theme of split personalities. Humor and a breathless pace create a delightful and thought-provoking read. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review
While engaged in a clandestine operation on the moon's surface, agent Ijon Tichy suffers a mishap that severs the connections between his right and left brains, rendering himself his own worst enemy. Poland's premier sf writer offers a resounding send-up of modern society in his latest novel. Readers familiar with the author's wildly funny yet discerningly articulate speculations will not be disappointed. A good choice for general and sf collections. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
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.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.