Marvelous Space Romp, December 4, 2004
Reviewer: Oriana Lister "skubs"
Whether he is infiltrating a planet of rogue robots whose ire against humans shows little restraint or, debating theology with Dichotican monks, Ijon Tichy is almost always willing to go to the ends of the universe for new adventures. (I found it amusing that, in the novel, Baedecker's was still printing travel guides, even for the far reaches of space).
One time, however, his future self visits Tichy to enlist him in heading the THEOHIPPIP effort (this acronym stands for Teleotelechronistic-Historical Engineering to Optimize the Hyperputerized Implementation of Paleological Programming and Interplanetary Planning). Tichy is a bit reluctant to take on this monumental project of reworking history so that man will be a better human in the future. Using a chronocycle, those spearheading the undertaking would travel through time to set things right, so to speak. Tichy finally agrees, and there begins his frustration. Many of the historical engineers start using the project for their own grandiose schemes and things quickly run amok. For example, Harry Bosch, who was supposed to be working on perfecting intelligence in earthly species, decided instead to dabble in the formation of all manner of fantastical creatures whose brain power was getting nowhere fast. Ijon had little choice but to strand Harry, and others who had strayed from the goal, in past times. It is there that they used their imagination in other endeavors; Harry took to painting.
Stanislaw Lem covers many themes in this book and there is much to think about as varying species in the universe voice their views on all kinds of subjects. ... But, when our intrepid star traveler has to leave a planet quickly in order to save his life, some things must fall by the wayside.
The Pole, Lem Stanislaw died recently. Wrote some of the best science fiction in any language. He explores the universe with ideas and concepts that will startle you