REVIEW: The Three Electroknights by Stanislaw Lem

We are onto Penguin Modern Classic numero 9 and I give you The Three Electroknights by science fiction/ fantasy writer Stanislaw Lem.

Now I know I have mentioned this before but the font on the front of this collection of 50 classics is so hideous I can barely look at it. The merging of the L and A in Stanislaw and the horrible mergings of the T and the H in the title (three times!). I hate this font and its stupid angles on the As, Ms and Ws it is uncomfortable and jarring and I really don’t like.

Thankfully the substance of these little books more than make up for the dreadful font in most cases – Gertrude Stein’s Food being the notable exception so far.

I’ve not read any Stanislaw Lem before but I enjoyed the four tales in this book, although they were pretty much all on a theme. They are a bit like fairy stories on speed.

Lem is described as one of the giants of science fiction of the 20th century. I believe he is most famous for his novel Solaris, which I think I should probably read at some point.

These are tales of mad robot kings, strange new worlds, inventors who are slightly crazy and machines from a quite surreal imagination. For someone who is more used to taking her science fiction via Asimov or John Wyndham, these came across as more of a merger between fantasy, surrealism and science fiction.

They are crazier than I am used to but nonetheless enjoyable. We have 52 pages of madness here and, if anything, I think I would have liked the stories to be a little longer.

But they have certainly piqued my interest in Mr Lem and I would be very interested to read one or two of his novels now.

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