I approached reading this book with the images of the film “Solaris” (also based on a novel by Lem) in the eyes, especially recalling the extreme slowness. For this reason, I was expecting a book with slow rhythms and I wasn't surely denied, but “Fiasco” is something different.
The slowness of the action is not an end in itself, but it is due to the long digressions and explanations in which the characters linger. In front of them the story runs almost completely in background.
Initially this puzzles you, especially when you meet digressions that have nothing to do with the rest of the book (like when the characters tell stories or read a book), then you enter the rhythm and you appreciate the study done by the author on the most strictly scientific and anthropological parts (even if they refer to aliens).
The overall impression is of being in front of a science fiction treatise, in which a lover of this genre, especially one who writes as well as reads it, can draw on to broaden their horizons and their knowledge in this field. The book is, in fact, interesting and if you read it you definitely learn very much.
The action, as mentioned, is little, the characters are sketchy and sometimes act making extreme decisions, so that what they do has no real meaning, as if it were subservient to the purpose of the writer to create certain situations that will enable them to investigate other aspects of his “treatise”.
As a result of all this, some parts (especially those on speculations about the political situation of the aliens) are sometimes tedious, while others are extremely interesting (the science part).
The few scenes, where the characters actually move, seem sometimes added to duty, as if they were fake, but some are remarkable, especially the finale. The last pages catch you completely, and although things happen slowly, they force you to go on until the ending.
The latter is, in my opinion, perfect.
Fiasco on Amazon.com.