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Eden (Helen & Kurt Wolff Book) [Kindle Edition]

Stanislaw Lem
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)

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Book Description

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

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Lem's latest novel takes a stylistic departure from his usual satirical, antic approach. Playing it fairly straight, he details the adventures of the crew of a crash-landed spaceship on an alien planet. The crew, composed of Captain, Engineer, Physicist, Cyberneticist, Doctor and Chemist, and remaining mostly nameless (quirkily, the Engineer is addressed as Henry in one instance), sets about repairing the ship and exploring the beautiful, unmapped planet. They encounter increasingly exotic creatures and phenomena which they assume they understand, but all-too-human errors lead them to misinterpret nearly everything. Finally, when a communication of sorts is initiated with one of the planet's natives, the crew learns the full extent of their illusions. Lem creates an intricately detailed exotic environment in a thoughtful, often exciting story.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

When their space ship crash lands on the planet Eden, six men confront their disturbing new environment and its unfathomable life forms. The author of One Hu man Minute (LJ 2/15/86) skillfully portrays an all-too-real encounter with a truly alien intelligence. This stark space parable by Poland's leading sf writer belongs in comprehensive sf collections.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1229 KB
  • Print Length: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; Reprint edition (October 31, 1991)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008533D44
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #310,834 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful nightmare May 5, 2001
A spaceship with a six-man crew crash-lands on Eden, an unsurveyed planet. The first part of the book details the men's efforts to dig out and repair their ship, working at first with nothing more than their ingenuity and bare hands. Eventually, the crew begin to explore, and wander through a gorgeously evoked, haunting landscape - the first of many brilliantly conceived alien worlds from Lem's mature imagination. Amusingly, the three scientists on board - the Physicist, the Chemist and the Cyberneticist - are the minor characters, good mainly for emotional outbursts and comic relief, while the other three characters - the Captain, the Engineer and the Doctor - are the fleshed-out human beings who do most of the acting, thinking and arguing. The explorers come across an insane "factory" in which apparently useless products are manufactured and then destroyed; they witness what appears to be a horrific massacre; they film, from a distance, the activity in one of the aliens' cities; and they cause, quite inadvertently and with no intentions but the best, a fairly substantial amount of death, destruction and general harm. Finally, they are able to communicate with one of the aliens, who gives them some idea of the planet's social system and history. As you would expect in a Lem story, what's learned is far from certain and of dubious usefulness. Eden is a wholly original, beautifully written horror story that deserves to be far better known. The last line is one of the most moving, disturbing and subtly horrific I've seen, bearing out the grim irony of the novel's title and the planet's name. Written in 1959, two years before Lem's more famous book, Eden deserves to rank with Solaris as one of his greatest works.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun beyond Solaris December 21, 2001
I've only read three books by Lem counting this one and while nothing so far has bypassed Solaris as his absolute masterpiece, for me it's a step up from the strangely dense Fiasco. As in those two books the theme here is the one that Lem seems to count as his favorite, that we should not assume that because we are smart and can get into space and across stars, that we can automatically "understand" any alien life that we come across, or even start to fit what we see into established human preconceptions. Fortunately this is an excellent theme to explore and one rarely dealt with in SF, so Lem easily finds new wrinkles to explore every time he writes about it, even if the conclusions wind up being nearly the same every time. In this novel, six explorers crashland on the planet Eden and while trying to fix their spaceship and get off they find that the planet is home to a civilization that seems to make absolutely no sense. They keep coming across odd artifacts, a strange factory, a graveyard, weird villages, all of which they try to quantify through human theories that they wind up discarding anyway because they can't hope to explain what they're seeing. Most of the book is just strange, unexplainable event piled on strange unexplainable event . . . perhaps because I read it in spurts this approach never becomes wearying, or maybe it's the constant combinations of interactions between the six characters, three of which comes across as fully rounded human beings (The Captain, the Doctor and the Engineer, the only one who seems to have a proper name, oddly enough) while the Chemist, the Physicist and the Cyberneticist mostly just take up space and are there for the main three to argue with, that keeps the plot moving along and engaging. Read more ›
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Could we understand the truly alien if we saw it? January 14, 2006
Almost all of Lem's science fiction centers around one or two variations of one theme. The theme is "What is intelligence?" and the two variations are "What would robotic life be like?" and "What would a truly alien intelligence be like?" "Eden" is in the second group. A party of explorers arrives on an alien world and wanders around trying to make sense of it. The subtext of "Eden" is that it could really be a description of Earth as viewed through completely fresh eyes. In a typical scene the explorers wander into a valley of flowers. When approached the blooms suddenly take flight. Lem leaves it to the reader to realize a visitor to Earth might make the same mistake about butterflys. Like many of Lem's works the book is really a work of philosophy and somewhat abstract: the explorers do not even have names, just job descriptions. By the standards of any other science fiction author this book deserves 5 stars, I only give it 4 because I prefer "Solaris" and "Fiasco" with which "Eden" should be grouped (along with the more difficult "His Master's Voice") as books about contact (Sagan's "Contact" is clearly based on "His Master's Voice").
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars fine alien description March 23, 2004
By H&W
This is only the second Stan Lem book I've read (Solaris being the first), and here, once again, Lem captures the utter strangeness of an alien world and its utterly strange inhabitants. As others have mentioned, Lem chooses to identify the crew members by profession rather than by name, with one exception. I'm not sure of his reason for this, but my guess is that he was trying to show the tendency of humans to comparmentalize, and, subsequently, to show how this could present a barrier to understanding alien beings. Here, Lem presents a well-thought-out alien atmosphere, with "doublers" living in a society that we can barely imagine. The most interesting parts of the story were the various planetary explorations performed by the men, both on foot and by ground vehicle. It is rare, at least in my experience, to encounter an author who can describe such strange places in such fine and honest detail. I also enjoyed Lem's take on the human contamination of such worlds. Recommended for those who enjoy exploratory, adventure-type science fiction with a philosophical twist.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Futility of Communication
Eden is a beautiful and highly disturbing tale of first contact with alien intelligence. The novel has unfortunately been disregarded and overlooked throughout the years in favour... Read more
Published 22 days ago by Plamen Nenchev
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
The best sci-fi writer.
Published 7 months ago by Volare
4.0 out of 5 stars Captivating
Lem delivers again with Eden. The book starts slowly but once contact is made, the story takes off. Could not put down.
Published 8 months ago by nik
5.0 out of 5 stars very good.
Thoughtful writing as usual from S. Lem. Why they need so many words to complete the review I don't know.
Published 10 months ago by leszek jaszczak
4.0 out of 5 stars No action, but lots of mystery
This is only my 2nd Lem novel (the other being Solaris) and I would have to say that, without reading any of his other works, he certainly tries to capture the tedium of his... Read more
Published 16 months ago by David Durtschi
5.0 out of 5 stars Great fantastic book
It is a pleasure to read and follow the plot of this book. Stanislavsky Lem is a great author and fantastic writer.
Published 18 months ago by Elena
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but coukd have been so much more
This is the second book I have read by Lem (the other his classic Solaris). He paints a compelling and disturbing narrative about a thoroughly incomprehensible other world but I... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Stephen
4.0 out of 5 stars Certainly not The Garden
I am a big fan of Lem. I hold Solaris as one of the very best Science Fiction books ever written. Eden was written before Solaris and it paves the way for the masterpiece by... Read more
Published 22 months ago by Kostandin Pajcini
4.0 out of 5 stars A lot of mystery but not a lot of action
At first this reminded me of Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama. However, as the story progressed, this got more mysterious than the Rama story. So this was a page turner. Read more
Published on March 18, 2013 by Scychry
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but not entirely successful...
This was my first Stanislaw Lem book. I was curious about the author who is renowned for thoughtful science fiction writing about social and ethical concepts. Read more
Published on March 7, 2013 by monicae
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