Sunday, October 2, 2011

Breaking rules for Stanislaw Lem

Buying The Cyberiad by Stanislaw Lem broke one of my rules - never acquire more than one book by an unread author. That's the tipping point, in my mind, when the stacks begin to grow for no reason whatsoever. That and the oh-so-dangerous sales at Hebrew Book Week. But something about The Cyberiad made me forget my rule, even though Solaris is still on my shelf, waiting for me. First was the fact that it was available at Border's going-out-of-business sale (bizarre that Borders had it in the first place, awesome that it made its way to my hands). Then the second reason nailed it home: the first story entertained the crap out of me.

The Cyberiad is a collection of short stories. Sort of. I think. Because it looks like the characters are going to be consistent throughout. But these are definitely stories, individual bites of brilliance. Even from the first pages, it's clear to me that Lem has a sharp, wonderful mind. It's everything I love about old-school science fiction - the wit, the intelligence, the quick drama. Quite refreshing.

I'm not going to read The Cyberiad any time soon. First Solaris (after all, I did buy it a few months earlier) and then I'll be able to devote my attention to these stories. And knowing my flightiness and general impatience with short stories, I wouldn't be surprised if I read the book sporadically and in a most disorganized manner. Still, I'm pleased I broke my rule for once - I'd rather like to reread the opening story - How the World was Saved. That's already worth it.

1 comment:

  1. Coincidentally, I fingered a copy of The Cyberiad this weekend myself, and considered buying it but didn't, because it violated one of my own rules (I have a book of his unfinished book [but for a very good reason]). I probably would've bought it if it were on sale though.

    Reading Lem is at times more like reading a philophy text than a story (which is fine by me). I highly recommend His Master's Voice. I haven't read any of the short stories — I look forward to your opinion.


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