These wickedly authentic introductions to twenty first century books preface tomes on teaching English to bacteria, using animated X rays to create pornograms, and analyzing computer generated literature through the science of bitistics Lem, a science fiction Bach, plays in this book a googleplex of variations on his basic themes New York Times Book Review Translated by Marc E Heine A Helen and Kurt Wolff Book Well actually I would give it 4.5 It took me 3 months orto reach cover to cover This books has numerous of those aha moments and numerous places which will allow you to ponder a lot Turn of events right when they are expected, a bit predictable, which will make your eyes widen a bit and you smile and ponder again. This was Stanislaw Lem s first collection of reviews of non existent books, also known as pseudepigraphy because every stylistic tic clearly deserves its own distinct Greco Latinate title As with most disciples of Borges this student doesn t trump the master, but this was flawed even compared to A Perfect Vacuum, which I highly enjoyed.The main problem was that though these pieces are funny , in that they are usually written to parody various styles of writing, they re not typically actually This was Stanislaw Lem s first collection of reviews of non existent books, also known as pseudepigraphy because every stylistic tic clearly deserves its own distinct Greco Latinate title As with most disciples of Borges this student doesn t trump the master, but this was flawed even compared to A Perfect Vacuum, which I highly enjoyed.The main problem was that though these pieces are funny , in that they are usually written to parody various styles of writing, they re not typically actually that amusing The opening Introduction might be the best piece in the whole lot in a way, its supercharged bombast namedropping Linnaeus, John the Baptist, Bach, Heidegger, and the Book of Genesis in an entertaining way while also highlighting the uselessness of most real introductions However, the humor quickly vanishes Necrobes is about an artist who makes X ray artwork out of porn, and is essentially humor free Same with Eruntics , which covers the Lysenko ish efforts of a scientist to teach bacteria to read, A History of Bitic Literature , which reviews various styles of computer generated literature, and Vestrand s Extelopedia in 44 Magnetomes , a futuristic encyclopedia These are mildly interesting, but might have worked better in actual sci fi form instead of this pseudepigraphical sketches The goal of the Borges style is to save a lazy author from having to concoct an entire story when all he really wants to do is write about an idea for a story, but even Lem s formidable literary pyrotechnics can t make these outlines interesting.The last story Golem XIV , the longest section in the book, is the perfect example of that It s purportedly the transcript of a lecture to humanity delivered by a hyperintelligent computer, framed by some commentary and background on the political situation at the time Pages and pages of quite sophisticated verbiage about mankind, computers, evolution, intelligence, and reality rain over the reader, but even though Lem is deliberately making this as pretentious as possible for effect, the computer s dense theorizing doesn t have much of an impact, and it simply isn t as enjoyable as thelight hearted literary parodies in A Perfect Vacuum Lem should have made these ideas into full fledged stories, his forte, because they simply didn t work too well in this format I bought this book because I was interested in reading golem xiv Golem was great and the other introductions to books that don t yet exist were only extra reading I enjoyed all the introductions Some were funny and some interesting to imagine This is not the story novel that one expects I am happy though that I found this author and will readfrom him. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here As usual, Lem amuse me with these stories, he is always giving something to think about and giving you new perspectives about the relationship with technology and it s implications in our culture He wrote for the future, and his books are very relevant now, it is a mystery for me how he foresaw all the implications and behaviors of machines in the present days.