“Sadistics: the algebra of conflicts that end fatally for all parties.”
Wish I read this fifty years ago. A cynical, naive but hopeful inquiry into how to end the arms race. Well written with a folded timeline which will leave the inattentive reader confused. Good understanding that man’s most basic urge in any situation is to cheat. Stand alone story.
“Politicians continued business as usual, more concerned about voters than the future.”
Extra star because this story reads so well fifty years after written. Lem nailed nano-technology though he wrote at a time when the first integrated circuits were huge and slow. Correctly posited that the future of military–like all technology–is smaller, not larger. Though he erred in thinking robots couldn’t manage walking on two legs.
“The falling curve of the cost of intelligence and the rising curve of the cost of weapons intersected, and at that point began the unhumanization of armies.”
Some awkward phraseology which may be faulty translation, as Lem wrote in Polish. Identified as written in 1867, but correctly refers to 1969 and subsequent moon landings.
“The infiltration of political, religious and social movement … taking advantage of the illusions of the young and the conservatism of the old.”