"Peace on Earth" by Stanislaw Lem (1994)
"'Mr. Tichy,' said the director, 'Our people will fill you in on the details of the Mission. I would just like to give you the general picture - so you don't miss the forest for the trees. The Geneva Agreement made four impossibilities possible. A continuing arms race at the same time as universal disarmament - that's one. Arming at maximum speed and at no cost - that's two. Full protection of each nation against surprise attack while each reserves the right to wage war - that's three. And finally the liquidation of all armies despite their continued existence. No troops, but the staffs stay on and can think up anything they like. In a nutshell, we've instituted pacem in terris.'"
Lem wrote "Peace on Earth" in 1987, though it wasn't translated into English until 1994. It was one of the last novels he wrote before his death in 2006. Other Lem works I've read - namely "Solaris," "Mortal Engines," and "The Cyberiad" - were written in the 1960s. His non-fiction "Microworlds," also reviewed here, was written in 1980.
The protagonist, Ijon Tichy, has appeared in several other Lem novels. In this installment, Tichy journeys to the moon to investigate the doings of robots. These "thinking weapons" have been placed upon the moon by the world's governments, thus ushering in world peace, and a kind of unilateral disarmament.
Unfortunately for Ijon, he is callotomised (his brain is severed into two halves) by the robots he encounters on the moon. Unable to remember what he has discovered on the lunar surface, and moreover divided into a "left Ijon" and a "right Ijon," he becomes an object of scrutiny for the powers that be.
"Peace on Earth" is a truly weird and wonderful book. It all but erases the impression left by Lem's "Microworlds," which I also read recently. Where "Solaris" is serious and philosophical, "Peace on Earth" is silly and clever. Where "The Cyberiad" was labored and overly complicated, "Peace on Earth" is brief and to the point. It's a great book, and I highly recommend it.