Hal Bregg is an astronaut who returns from a space mission in which only 10 biological years have passed for him, while 127 years have elapsed on earth. He finds that the earth has changed beyond recognition, filled with human beings who have been medically neutralized. How does an astronaut join a civilization that shuns risk? Translated by Barbara Marszal and Frank Simpson. A Helen and Kurt Wolff Book
These fourteen science fiction stories reveal Lem’s fascination with artificial intelligence and demonstrate just how surprisingly human sentient machines can be. “Astonishing is not too strong a word for these tales” (Wall Street Journal). Translated and with an Introduction by Michael Kandel.
The Invincible (Polish: Niezwyciężony) is a science fiction novel by Polish writer Stanislaw Lem, published in 1964. The Invincible originally appeared as the title story in Lem's collection Niezwyciężony i inne opowiadania ("The Invincible and Other Stories"). A translation into German was published in 1967; an English translation by Wendayne Ackerman, based on the German one, was published in 1973.
An interstellar 2nd-class cruiser called Invincible, lands on Regis III, a planet that seems bleakly uninhabited. Invincible, and crew, are there to investigate the loss of sister ship, Condor.
While maintaining the highest security measures, the crew begins searching for the lost Condor. Meanwhile, scientists start researching the planet, trying to identify sources of potential danger. During the search for the lost ship unknown structures are discovered, probably forming the equivalent of an Earth city. While a group of explorers scouts out the ruins, the Condor is found three hundred kilometers away (roughly 186 miles away).
This is a collection of perfect yet imaginary reviews of nonexistent books. With insidious wit, the author beguiles us with a parade of delightful, disarmingly familiar inventions. "Lem is Harpo Marx and Franz Kafka and Isaac Asimov rolled up into one and down the white rabbit's hole" (Detroit News). A Helen and Kurt Wolff Book
A six-man crew crash-lands on Eden, fourth planet from another sun. The men find a strange world that grows ever stranger, and everywhere there are images of death. The crew's attempt to communicate with this civilization leads to violence and to a cruel truth-cruel precisely because it is so human. Translated by Marc E. Heine. A Helen and Kurt Wolff Book
Written in the style of a detective novel, The Chain of Chance is classic Lem: a combination of action, hard science, and philosophical investigation. An ex-astronaut is hired to look into the death of several wealthy businessmen. The authorities suspect a pattern, but neither the police nor a supercomputer enlisted for the investigation can crack the case.
On a trail leading across Europe, the ex-astronaut barely escapes numerous attempts on his life. Having set himself up as a potential victim, he realizes that he may now be the target of a conspiracy--and that the conspiracy is not the work of a criminal mind, but a manifestation of the laws of nature. Certain patterns have begun to emerge from the chaos of modern society. Some of those patterns can be fatal. . .
Ijon Tichy is the only human who knows for sure whether the self-programming robots on the moon are plotting a terrestrial invasion. But a highly focused ray severs his corpus collosum. Now his left brain can’t remember the secret and his uncooperative right brain won’t tell. Tichy struggles for control of the lost memory and of his own two warring sides. Translated by Elinor Ford with Michael Kandel. A Helen and Kurt Wolff Book
A young officer at Scotland Yard is assigned to investigate a puzzling and eerie case of missing-and apparently resurrected-bodies. To unravel the mystery, Lt. Gregory consults scientific, philosophical, and theological experts, who supply him with a host of theories and clues.
It is 1939; the Nazis have occupied Poland. A young doctor disturbed by the fate of Poland joins the staff of an insane asylum only to find a world of pain and absurdity to match that outside. Translated by William Brand. A Helen and Kurt Wolff Book
Ijon Tichy is an ordinary space traveler whose extraordinary curiosity leads him to the very fringes of science. Their plans are grandiose, the bargains they make too often Faustian, for the ends these scientists pursue concern humanity's greatest and most ancient obsessions: immortality, artificial intelligence, and top-of-the-line consumer items.
By turns philosophical, satirical, and absurd, Lem's stories follow Ijon's adventures as both an observer of--and participant in--strange experiments. Faulty time machines, intelligent washing machines, suicidal potatoes--Ijon Tichy navigates them all with common sense and in so doing shows why he endures as one of Lem's most popular characters.
Bringing his twin gifts of scientific speculation and scathing satire to bear on that hapless planet, Earth, Lem sends his unlucky cosmonaut, Ijon Tichy, to the Eighth Futurological Congress. Caught up in local revolution, Tichy is shot and so critically wounded that he is flashfrozen to await a future cure. Translated by Michael Kandel.
Commander Pirx, who drives space vehicles for a living in the galaxy of the future, here faces a new series of intriguing adventures in which robots demonstrate some alarmingly human characteristics. Translated by Louis Iribarne, assisted by Magdalena Majcherczyk and Michael Kandel. A Helen and Kurt Wolff Book
A brilliantly funny collection of stories for the next age, from the celebrated author of Solaris. Ranging from the prophetic to the surreal, these stories demonstrate Stanislaw Lem's vast talent and remarkable ability to blend meaning and magic into a wholly entertaining and captivating work.
In Pilot Pirx, Lem has created an irresistibly likable character: an astronaut who gives the impression of still navigating by the seat of his pants-a bumbler but an inspired one. By investing Pirx with a range of human foibles, Lem offers a wonderful vision of the audacity, childlike curiosity, and intuition that can give humans the courage to confront outer space. Translated by Louis Iribarne. A Helen and Kurt Wolff Book
The planet Quinta is pocked by ugly mounds and covered by a spiderweb-like network. It is a kingdom of phantoms and of a beauty afflicted by madness. In stark contrast, the crew of the spaceship Hermes represents a knowledge-seeking Earth. As they approach Quinta, a dark poetry takes over and leads them into a nightmare of misunderstanding. Translated by Michael Kandel.
The novel was published in German translation (translated by H. Schumann) in 1986. The Polish text published in 1987, the English translation (by M. Kandel) the same year.
Twenty-five hundred scientists have been herded into an isolated site in the Nevada desert. A neutrino message of extraterrestrial origin has been received and the scientists, under the surveillance of the Pentagon, labor on His Master's Voice, the secret program set up to decipher the transmission. Among them is Peter Hogarth, an eminent mathematician. When the project reaches a stalemate, Hogarth pursues clandestine research into the classified TX Effect--another secret breakthrough. But when he discovers, to his horror, that the TX Effect could lead to the construction of a fission bomb, Hogarth decides such knowledge must not be allowed to fall into the hands of the military.
Ijon Tichy, Lem's Candide of the Cosmos, encounters bizarre civilizations and creatures in space that serve to satirize science, the rational mind, theology, and other icons of human pride. Line drawings by the Author. Translated by Michael Kandel. A Helen and Kurt Wolff Book
The year is 3149, and a vast paper destroying blight-papyralysis-has obliterated much of the planet's written history. However, these rare memoirs, preserved for centuries in a volcanic rock, record the strange life of a man trapped in a hermetically sealed underground community. Translated by Michael Kandel and Christine Rose.