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by Stanislaw Lem

Download The Invincible fb2, epub

ISBN: 0283979623
Author: Stanislaw Lem
Language: English
Publisher: Sidgwick and Jackson; 1st edition (1973)
Pages: 223
Subcategory: Fantasy
Rating: 4.1
Votes: 253
Size Fb2: 1687 kb
Size ePub: 1140 kb
Size Djvu: 1302 kb
Other formats: rtf lrf azw lrf

The Invincible moved across the outermost quadrant of the Lyre Constellation. The heavy cruiser was propelled through space by photon drive.

The Invincible moved across the outermost quadrant of the Lyre Constellation. It was the largest ship at the disposal of the space fleet based in this section of the universe.

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Then Gralew got up. Underneath the stacks of torn maps and books the whole deck had been strewn with dried human excrement. Another spoke of a can of food that showed impressions of teeth, as if someone had tried to bite through the metal. Gaarb had been deeply shaken by the scrawls in the log book and the entry about the flies. But he did not stop there. Let’s assume a cloud of poisonous gas escaped from the tectonic vault inside the city. He desperately tried to free himself from the invisible ropes that bound him. He wanted to shake them off but kept ensnaring himself in an inextricable net. His scream was caught in his swollen throat.

Lem is an author I feel I should have read as a SF fan, so am finally getting around to his works. As with most Lem books, there is both a strong component of scientific, philosophical ideas; on the nature of evolution, and the immense gap between different types of intelligence and more generally different types of life; this is coupled with a stoic, individualistic philosophy of the protagonist men and an introspective view of the protagonists feelings and emotions.

Читать онлайн The Invincible. Stanislaw Lem. The Invincible. Translated from the German by Wendayne Ackerman).

The Invincible (Polish: Niezwyciężony) is a hard science fiction novel by Polish writer Stanisław 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. A direct translation into English from Polish, by Bill Johnston, was published in 2006.

Stanislaw Lem. This impression was strengthened by the sand massed around it. Since the wind came from the west the sand wall had piled up much higher than in the east. Since the wind came from the west the sand wall had piled up much higher than in the east ost totally buried by the sand. Even the antimatter mortar had been put out of action. It stood there with its hood raised, half filled with sand. But one could still see the jet openings at the ship’s nose which rested in an unobstructed depression in the ground. Publication date: 1973

Stanislaw Lem. Publication date: 1973. A powerful sublight interstellar space ship, a class two cruiser called Invincible, lands on the planet Regis III which seems uninhabited and bleak, to investigate the loss of sister ship, Condor

Invincible is straightforward, active, a classic adventure.

Invincible is straightforward, active, a classic adventure. His writing represents an extraordinary range of subject and style, most frequently dealing with the confrontation between human values and other, alien (nonhuman, random, mechanical) systems. Lem was born on September.


This novel was originally published, in the Polish language, in 1964 and then didn't appear in English until 1973. It thus predates the Moon landing by five years, and, IMHO, retains some of the trappings of the prevailing science fiction of the times. For example, very large spacecraft landing on the surfaces of planets, and devices with terms like "automat" and "electronic brain". Ray Bradbury had "rockets" landing on the planets of other suns, also, but his focus was on how space travel would change people(or not), etc. Lem's focus is far more scientific and his protagonists are typically professionals trying to understand particularly mysterious aliens. But he still manages to keep his descriptions of his tech general enough for it to still play well even here in the jaded 21st century.

The Invincible is an 80 kiloton "cruiser" in Lem's grand tradition of large, powerful and lavishly-equipped spaceships that, despite their office bldg dimensions, have the power and ability to actually land on the surface of one gee planets, rather than park in orbit and send out smaller craft. It is loaded with squads of various types of robots (indispensable helpers in Lem stories) and several heavy ground and air vehicles, along with adjustable force fields to protect both the main ship and the various expeditions it sends out. It can even launch satellites into geosynchronous orbit for surveillance, and possesses antimatter "annihilation weapons" that evaporate the atomic structure of targets, as a last resort. The crew is also a well-chosen and essential asset, with experts in all sciences mankind has found useful among the stars, and who go about their duties with efficiency and insight. The discussions between the 19 (out of 80) crewmembers that form the scientific administration of the ship are fascinating excursions into the best of hard science fiction. It is good to see trained professionals puzzling out an alien mystery and not just running scared from space monsters. Thus, Lem shows us mankind's best being confronted by a lethal unknown, and coming away with a deeper understanding. Indeed, Lem is trying here to gaze into a possible future for a robot lineage left abandoned by a race of beings fleeing the nova of their home star. This isn't a tale of robots like Klapaucius and Trurl of "The Cyberiad" (which he published a year after this novel) ; this is a hard science fiction look at what could really happen if robotic entities are left to their own form of evolution for hundreds of thousands of years after their own creators have long since died out.

Despite all this, the fate of The Condor, Invincible's sister ship that it was sent to find on Regis III, remains a mystery for nearly a month of careful and comprehensive investigation . Lem takes us along on the mystery and reasoning of the scientists, until the amazing truth arises to render nearly 50% of The Invincible's crew either blank-minded children, or dead.

Where other novelists might want to add intrigue among the crew or commanders, and action triggered by subterfuge or incompetence, Lem portrays a shipload of men who, though human in every way, are an idealized version of such. They stick to procedures and do their jobs in the background of the action, which frees the story to move forward as a progression of discoveries that reveal the nature of their foe. I sincerely hope that future expeditionary forces from Earth are just like these guys.
I read this book about 40 years ago in it's original language. It made an impression on me. Loved sci-fi ever since. One of the best Lems work. I would recommend finding an edition translated from Polish to English.
Stanislaw Lem tends to be unrivalled when it comes to philosophical insights into first contact with alien intelligence. Unfortunately, as philosophising for Lem often tends to spill over into over-philosophising, this usually comes at the expense of accessibility and readability. The Invincible is a rare and rather successful exception to this, which makes it an excellent introduction to Lem for novice readers. And even if the underlying theme is the same as in a number of Lem's other works – man's understanding with alien intelligence is doomed from the start – the take on it in the Invincible, combining elements from the mystery, horror and action genres and offering a curious environmental angle is both rather unique and makes for a real page turner.

The novel opens with the landing of a vast and powerful space ship, the Invincible, on Regis III. The Invincible is sent to investigate the loss of its sister ship, the Condor, on the desert planet. The discovery of the horrific disaster that has befallen the Condor and the first encounters with the mysterious force behind it gradually build a growing sense of terror among the crew, which turns into genuine bafflement and a feeling of powerlessness as the enemy is revealed and proves undefeated despite all of the crew's efforts.

As the only realistic prospect of subduing the peculiar intelligence developed on Regis III is to cause planet-wide destruction with nuclear bombs, the crew come to the realisation that – just like the ocean or the wind or a swarm of bees – this intelligence has become an integral part of the planet's ecosystem. Seeking revenge on it for Condor's destruction would make just as much sense as nuking an ocean for wrecking a sailboat. The ending is anti-climatic. Humans have no place on Regis III. Both man and the Invincible – now quite defeated – need to go home.
Like many of Lem’s other books, this one was not translated into English directly from Polish. A German translation was used as an intermediate step, but at least Lem authorized the translation as he was fluent in German. Still, some meaning has been lost.

‘The Invincible’, written in 1964, was his third book dealing with an alien intelligence that was incomprehensible by humans (after ‘Eden’ and ‘Solaris’). It describes a visit to a desolate planet where the previous ship lost contact with Earth a few years ago. The humans arrive quite cocky, equipped with heavy equipment and weaponry, only to find a hidden alien force that seems impossible to defeat. 'SF thriller' would best describe the genre, but it also carries a strong message about human inability to understand another form of intelligence.

A must read for every SF fan.

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