His Master's Voice (novel)

His Master's Voice (Novel)

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His Master's Voice (novel)

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His Master's Voice (original Polish title: Głos Pana) is a science fiction novel written by Stanisław Lem, first published in 1968. It was translated into English by Michael Kandel in 1983. It is a densely philosophical novel about an effort by scientists to decode, translate and understand an extraterrestrial transmission. The novel critically approaches humanity's intelligence and intentions in deciphering and truly comprehending a message from outer space. It is considered to be one of three most known books by Lem, the other two being Solaris and The Cyberiad.


The novel is written as a first-person narrative, the memoir of a mathematician named Peter Hogarth, who becomes involved in a Pentagon-directed project (code-named "His Master's Voice", or HMV for short) in the Nevada desert, where scientists are working to decode what seems to be a message from outer space (specifically, a neutrino signal from the Canis Minor constellation). Throughout the book Hogarth — or rather, Lem himself — exposes the reader to many debates merging cosmology and philosophy: from discussions of epistemology, systems theory, information theory and probability, through the idea of evolutionary biology and the possible form and motives of extraterrestrial intelligence, with digressions about ethics in military-sponsored research, to the limitations of human science constrained by the human nature...
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