Peace on Earth Summary (Stanislaw Lem)

Stanislaw Lem

Peace on Earth

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Readers familiar with Stanislaw Lem’s Ijon Tichy will rightly expect PEACE ON EARTH to be amusing, satirical, exciting, and philosophical. The United Nations has successfully achieved disarmament while preserving the right to wage war by transferring all weapons design, testing, and manufacturing to the moon. There, industrial computers work in a secrecy that preserves the balance of power. Eventually the military-industrial complex and other interests foster suspicions that Earth may be in danger of attack by rogue artificial intelligence on the moon. Ijon Tichy is sent to learn what is happening.

When he returns with a little moon dust and partial memory loss caused by a wound that separated his right and left brain, he becomes the center of multiple intrigues. Conflicting interests want the advantage his information may provide, but he himself seems unable to get it. His virtually silent right brain may remember, but his verbally conscious left brain cannot access those memories.

Ijon explains in alternate chapters what he remembers about his training and mission and his gradual discovery—through conversations with various agents and eventually with his right brain—of most of what happened to him on the moon. Interspersed are humorous, satirical and thought-provoking digressions. Ijon eventually discovers that in an incredible series of accidents and crossed purposes, he has contributed to producing another chance for humanity to create peace. PEACE ON EARTH is a hopeful novel by one of the great imaginations of the contemporary world.