I absolutely hated the first half of this book, but it was partially redeemed by the second half. The first part of the book is a Manly Adventure Story about a ship that lands on an alien planet in order to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a previous ship in the region. An inimical situation makes it very clear that it would be better to just leave, but stubbornness, bravado and machismo mean that they stay. However, the second part of the book makes it very clear that much of the idiocy and arrogance of the characters at the beginning was intentional, on the author's part, and to make a point ABOUT man's idiocy and arrogance... but it was still very flawed.
A lot of it just didn't make sense. I had a hard time believing, for example, that if manned space flight to other planets was achieved, that technology would be unable to do something like analyze a planet's atmospheric content from within the spaceship, without going outside with no protective gear, holding a manual gadget. I also don't think that, no matter how cooped up a crew was feeling, that they would want to go outside (unprotected) into a totally untested alien environment, knowing that another crew had never returned from the same place...
What I also felt was a flaw is that, although this IS a book about Men, there is no acknowledgment anywhere in the book that females even EXIST, which was just weird.
However, I'm going to give the book a free pass on the language and writing style, because the translation was just awful - the phrasing was consistently awkward, and there were definitely examples of the wrong word completely being used - like "Alarmed" instead of "Alerted." A note at the front of the book says that this edition was translated from German. The book was written in Polish. Why one would translate from a translation is a little mystifying to me, and after this literary game of 'telephone' I really can't say even if what I read resembled the original story much at all!
I'll remain open to giving another of Lem's books a try!