Essays by the author of Solaris: “Lem’s delightful sense of humor accentuates his essential seriousness about humanity’s possible fate” (Publishers Weekly).
In One Human Minute, Stanislaw Lem takes a hard look at our world and technology—what it means now and what dire implications it could have for the future—in satirical, wise, and biting prose.
With this collection of three essays, Lem targets some of the most pressing issues humanity faces, from our unsettling origins to the cybernetic future of our weaponry. “The Upside-Down Evolution” chronicles the Earth’s military evolution from nuclear stockpiles to deadly, robotic microweapons. “The World as Cataclysm” examines how humankind’s dominance on Earth is the result of the extermination of another species just as qualified to rule the world. And the title essay presents a disturbing and fascinating snapshot of every single thing happening on the planet in a sixty-second span.
Effortlessly blurring the lines between fiction and nonfiction, scientific essay and fantastical short story, cynical reproach and wry humor, Lem’s One Human Minute combines the best elements of the renowned science fiction author and Kafka Prize winner’s writing into one irreverent and intellectually stimulating package.
The noted science-fiction writer blurs the boundaries between present and future, fiction and nonfiction, in this collection of three apocryphal essays. "One Human Minute'' purports to be a review of a book collecting statistics on everything that occurs on Earth in 60 seconds; in fact, it's a meditation on the nature of reality and the meaning of human behaviorplus a wickedly funny satire of publishing. ``The Upside-Down Evolution'' chronicles the metamorphosis of 21st century armaments from nuclear stockpiles into micro-armies of ``synsects,'' deadly machines so tiny and elusive that conventional weapons are helpless against them. ``The World As Cataclysm'' pretends to be an introduction to a book of the same title; it sees the emergence of humanity as the end result of a series of catastrophic, chance occurrences that killed off other species with just as good a claim to rule the world. (``The laws of Nature act not in spite of random events but through them,'' he concludes.) Lem's delightful sense of humor accentuates his essential seriousness about humanity's possible fate. February 17