the futurological congress


There’s no ego, no competition, no violence, no war, no strong, no weak, no secrets, everyone is what they are, what they want to be…

The Congress, 2013

(based on the novel Futurological Congress by Stanislaw Lem)

Ari Folman / Michael Englert


ahbartleby-ahhumanity  asked:

Do you or your followers have any recommendations for science fiction books kind of in the same vein as The Martian Chronicles? Or ones that include space travel and/or multiple dimensions?

My recommendations include reading more Bradbury – Bradbury was an incredibly prolific writer, writing every day of his life. Also, although it’s considered a children’s book, I’d say that Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time fits your criteria; it has space travel, multiple dimensions, and a lot of literary merit. You might also like Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five, which includes space travel of sorts and a nonlinear timeline.

My dad is a big Bradbury fan, so I brought your ask to his attention, and he happily wrote up a list of his recommendations with justifications. (He even stole a couple of mine!) Dad writes:

Bradbury considered himself a fantasist and not a science fiction writer.  His forte was short stories on a variety of topics, and his goal was to evoke a sense of wonder. TMC is really a compilation of short stories with a unifying framing device of the colonization of Mars. R is for Rocket, S is for Space and The Illustrated Man have more stories in the genre of TMC mixed with a number of other genres. I think swapping “Dark They Were, and Golden-Eyed” from S is for Space with “Usher II” would have made TMC a better, more consistent work.

Here are some fantasies that may be of interest:

  • C.S. Lewis’ Out of the Silent Planet offers a different vision of Earth contact with a kinder, gentler Martian civilization. 
  • James P. Hogan’s Inherit the Stars, the first of his Giants series, tells a story of how Earth, the Moon and the lost planet Minerva were linked in a time loop thousands of years ago.  
  • Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time series is a fantasy about the conflict between good and evil.  It’s targeted to young adults, but it holds up well for older readers. 
  • Michael J. Martinez’s The Daedalus Incident mixes sailing ships, space travel, alternate universes, a lost Martian civilization, alchemy and historical characters.

Collections of short stories about space travel and aliens:

  • Stanislaw Lem’s Tales of Pirx the Pilot, More Tales of Pirx the Pilot, The Space Diaries, Memoirs of a Space Traveller, and The Futurological Congress relate the often humorous space voyages of astronauts Pirx and Ijon Tichy. Return from the Stars is a longer work about an astronaut’s return to a dramatically different Earth after a long space mission.
  • Tales from the “White Hart” (Arthur C. Clarke) and The Draco Tavern (Larry Niven) use bars as framing devices for vignettes about aliens visiting Earth. Both authors combine good storytelling with science-based premises. Niven’s Known Space series has a number of short stories and longer novels that share common technological and planetary settings.

Stories and novels about time travel or nonlinear time:

  • Niven’s The Flight of the Horse collects the fantastic adventures of Svetz, a time traveler, and is reminiscent of Lem’s Pirx the Pilot.  
  • Kurt Vonnegut used nonlinear time in a satiric and surreal style in several of his works, including Slaughterhouse-Five and The Sirens of Titan. 
  • Philip K. Dick’s stories were darker, often with elements of dystopia and mental illness. The Martian Time-Slip, Now Wait for Last Year, and “We can Remember It for You Wholesale” are representative. I just finished Dick’s The Man in the High Castle, an alternate history of the U.S. after World War II.

Another Bradbury fan I know suggested Neil Gaiman.  I’ve read one or two of his books, but don’t have any titles about the topics you asked about.   

Hopefully some of these recommendations will interest you.

Followers with recommendations of their own should either:

  • Reblog this post with your recommendations
  • Send an ask directly to hey-cest-la-vie

He also said–pointedly–that space travel nowadays was an escape from the problems of earth. That is, one took off for the stars in the hope that the worst would happen and be done with in one’s absence. And indeed I couldn’t deny that more than once I had peered anxiously out the porthole–especially when returning from a long voyage–to see whether or not our planet resembled a burnt potato.

The Futurological Congress, Stanislaw Lem


The Congress – Official US Release Trailer