The Magellanic Cloud
|Original title||Obłok Magellana|
|Cover artist||Jan Młodożeniec|
|LC Class||PG7158.L399 O2|
|Preceded by||The Astronauts|
Major literary tropes include interstellar travel, "first contact", with a good deal of psychological fiction, and most of all, Communist utopia complete with the criticism of the capitalist militarism, which Lem himself characterized as an "extract of the times of Socialist realism". 
Fragments of the novel were published earlier, in 1953-1954, in the magazine Przekrój.
After almost eight years of travel, they find signs of organic life on a planet orbiting Proxima Centauri, possibly originating on another planet within the Centauri system.
One of the planets orbiting Alpha Centauri turns out to be inhabited by an advanced civilization.
The expedition meets a lifeless human ship of "Atlants", which turns out to be an old artificial war satellite of the United States and its NATO allies, carrying still active biological weapons and nuclear warheads, which had accidentally left Earth orbit and got lost in space during the Cold War era.
Censorship and criticisms
When the novel was first published, parts of it were censored by the Communist authorities. Lem famously denounced the censored version, calling it too optimistic about Communism. At the time, this was a bold sign that demonstrated Lem's confidence that his singular status as a Polish author of international renown would protect him from state repression. A complete version was published in the 1990s after the fall of Communism.
|This article about a 1950s science fiction novel is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.
See guidelines for writing about novels. Further suggestions might be found on the article's talk page.