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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Return From The Stars (Helen and Kurt Wolff Books) Kindle Edition
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"Star Trek" digital graphic novels
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Top Customer Reviews
The "one" in this case is Bregg, an astronaut returned from an interstellar misson. Perhaps he never hoped to be a hero upon return, but it never occurred to him that no one would care. In the hundred-plus years since his departure, humankind had remodeled itself into a people that could not understand why anyone would venture into space, after an era in which such trips were declared pointless expenses. The returning voyagers are welcomed by their gentle hosts, but largely ignored.
The first part of Lem's story imagines Bregg's utter disorientation in the physical world, filled with unfamiliar words, sounds, and sights; where even a wall isn't necessarily a wall. He's intelligent and adaptable, so moves on to the second level of disorientation: simply having no idea how to have a conversation when so very few concepts or values are shared. This isolation appears most clearly in his attempts at inimacy. Betrization, the process that made this world the gentle idyll that it is, makes him seem like a ravenous beast to the generation around him, an object of fear no matter what he does or says. The danger inherent in his un-betrizated state appeals to some, of course, but it's an appeal that Bregg does not want to hold. After a time, he finds a woman of this brave new world that can accept him. Then, the deepest level of his isolation surrounds him: he simplay has no place in this society. There is no need for his skills, no interest in the heroism and tragedy of his star travel, and no job that he's competent to do.Read more ›
This book will speak to anyone who has had the experience of returning to a community from which one has been excluded for a number of years; be it a return from prison, repatriation or imigration, the experience of Bregg returning from the stars is symbolic of all of them. To those who never left a community and never returned to it later, the book will be a chance to see what returning from the stars might be like.
However, it's worth noting that the kindle edition has been very poorly edited.
It seemed to get worse and worse throughout the book - I didn't notice too many errors with the initial sample, but after that it was quite terrible.
Presumably the text was scanned in and then put through OCR and never checked. E.g. sue throughout the book in place of six, Ame in place of Arne at times, weird/missing punctuation, exam bed in place of examined, etc. Since this is sci-fi, it makes up new words for new devices, so at times it was a guessing game whether a word was a misspelled word or a made-up word spelled correctly...
In one place they even managed to mix up the order of two consecutive pages, so it breaks off in the middle of a sentence to skip a page ahead, then jumps back. Extremely confusing when you first get to it, so watch out for it.
It's still mostly readable and understandable, but the poor editing is extremely distracting.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
While considered a classic by some because it was written by Stanislaw Lem, I’m convinced there is either a bad translation to English as well as a poor Kindle editing process in... Read morePublished 22 days ago by Michael Gallagher
Very Good book, I wish it had delved more in the "future" world descriptions.Published 1 month ago by Sergio Pan
One of the best science-fiction novels I've read! And one of the best depictions of a dystopia, harmless though this one might be, since Aldous Huxley. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Rich M.
My Hungarian wife has read this novell in several languages and it is one of her favorits. I was not disapointed.Published on May 3, 2014 by Amazon Customer
Lem is almost certainly one of the most amazing intellectually gifted writers I have had the pleasure to read. Read morePublished on December 25, 2013 by Dan S. Tong
I'm a fan of Lem, and I'd have to say this has become one of my favorite works by him. The way the isolation and alienation felt by the main character is conveyed is wonderfully... Read morePublished on November 22, 2013 by N. Burd
I am a Lem fan from way back and this book has always been one of my favorites. Of course, there is very little plot and the characterizations are not deep. Read morePublished on October 24, 2013 by soyuz
This is the first of Lem's books that I've read and it certainly won't be the last. This book has made me a fan. Read morePublished on July 15, 2013 by G. P. Thomas