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The Cyberiad [Kindle Edition]

Stanislaw Lem
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Trurl and Klaupacius are constructor robots who try to out-invent each other. They travel to the far corners of the cosmos to take on freelance problem-solving jobs, with dire consequences for their employers. “The most completely successful of his books... here Lem comes closest to inventing a real universe” (Boston Globe). Illustrations by Daniel Mr—z. Translated by Michael Kandel.

Editorial Reviews


Stanislaw Lem may be the most famous science fiction writer you've never heard of ... [this] collection of stories may go some way to redressing that ... The linguistic inventiveness is extraordinary ... Lem has created a curious world in which robots and rockets rub shoulders with kings, dragons, witches and pirates Independent on Sunday A Jorge Luis Borges for the Space Age New York Times

Language Notes

Text: English, Polish (translation)

Product Details

  • File Size: 1008 KB
  • Print Length: 314 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; 1 edition (April 19, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,522 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
67 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dazzling! January 27, 2003
By GeoX
Imagine a mixture of Borges, Calvino, Saint-Exupéry, Pynchon, Douglas Adams, Samuel Beckett, L. Frank Baum, Dr. Seuss, Lewis Caroll, and perhaps a little Philip K. Dick. That's what this is like, sort of. It is a collection of stories, some profound, others 'merely' entertaining, written by a man who was clearly drunk on sheer linguistic exuberance. The sheer virtuosity of the language is breathtaking: the book is packed to the gills with puns, rhymes, nonsense words, and general verbal japery. Huge amounts of credit must of course go to the translator, Michael Kandel, on this score. I wish the book included translation notes; he must have had to rebuild innumerable language formations from scratch in order to make them work--and work dazzlingly well--in English. Particularly impressive in this regard are 'The Fifth Sally (A), or Trurl's Prescription,' a delightful bit of frippery driven almost entirely by verbal dexterity; and an extraordinary mathematical love poem related in 'The First Sally (A), or Trurl's Electric Bard.' The centerpiece of the collection, however, must surely be the 'Tale of the Three Storytelling Machines of King Genius,' which, as you would expect, includes a flurry of internal stories, some of which in turn have stories inside them. One of these internal stories, that of Mymosh the Self-Begotten, is in my opinion the book's highlight. If Sam Beckett had turned his hand to science fiction, this is what he would have written. It's as strange and unsettling as any of Sam's short novels. Finally, some mention must be made of the highly stylized illustrations by Daniel Mroz scattered throughout the book; they complement the action to perfection.
Lem is clearly having fun with The Cyberiad, and it's contagious.
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best stories by the best SF author ever September 23, 1996
By A Customer
More than anyone else, Stanislaw Lem
understands the unique potential of the Science Fiction
genre. His
depictions of non-human intelligences, whether alien or
artificial, are consistently compelling. His insight into
humanity and our role in the Cosmos is unmatched (at least
among SF authors). As far as I can tell, Lem has never
written a bad book, and his reservoir of fresh ideas is

However, this is a review of a book, not an author :-),

I have read and enjoyed most of Lem's work, but I still go
back and re-read The Cyberiad every year or so. I always
hope to find something new, and I am never disappointed. It
amazes me to see how many of the deepest ideas from Lem's
other books are echoed somewhere in these stories. And
their style is Lem's best: The futuristic "fable", mixing
intellectual slapstick, brilliant wordplay, and deep
philosophy as only Lem can.

I guarantee The Cyberiad will make you laugh hard and think
harder. What more could you want from your reading?
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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lem Should Get Nobel for Literature (but won't) April 20, 2000
By A Customer
First, the Cyberiad is an absolute hoot. It works on the highest literary levels with humor and insight. My only complaint is that Lem didn't write more of these cyber fables (I've got almost everything he's written that's been translated over the years and he's written quite a lot in this vein nd IT IS NOT ENOUGH - I WANT MORE!!). He's probably most famous for his book Solaris which I found an intriguing bore (personal taste only and could be a bad translation since I don't read in his native Polish). People who read Solaris as their first Lem book will find little in common with the Cyberiad. I avoided Lem for years because I pegged him as the author of Solaris and didn't realize what a virtuoso author he was. He will never win the Nobel because he's been stamped as a "Science Fiction" writer, sort of like Vonnegut, Le Guin, and Philip K. Dick are/were. He's different from all of them ... Read Solaris, The Invincible, and the Cyberiad and you'll see the range of his skills (good and bad). An aside: I was astounded when my 9 year old picked up the Cyberiad and read it obviously not getting a lot of the finer points) and then asked if he could find more books about Trurl and friends. He thought it was one of the funniest things he's read (and he likes the Harry Potter books also). Now, I wouldn't recommend Lem to most 9 year olds ...
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great in Polish and English. July 29, 2000
I have head the great opportunity to read this novel in both English and Polish - Lem's native tongue. It contains great word play, clever ideas, and the ability to make you wonder about the limitless value of the world.
Greatly written prose in both languages - the translator into English deserves much credit. When you read it, you will taste every word and find it synonymous with fresh rasberries with whipped cream and chunks of pistachio nuts (or whatever floats your boat).
The Cyberiad is a mixture of humor parallel to one exhibited in the creations of Julio Cortazar and Douglas Adams. To ponder the existence of things as well as the presence of the most common objects is Lem's domain. Although I do not usually like to provide quotations for take out of context, they do not mean much, this one provides a great example of Lem's clever style:
"Everyone knows that dragons don't exist. But while this simplistic formulation may satisfy the layman, it does not suffice for the scientific mind. The School of Higher Neantical Nillity is in fact wholly unconcerned with what does exist. Indeed, the banality of existence has been so amply demonstrated, there is no need for us to discuss it any further here. The brilliant Cerebron, attacking the problem analytically, discovered three distinct kinds of dragon: the mythical, the chimerical, and the purely hypothetical. They were all, one might say, nonexistent, but each nonexisted in an entirely different way ... "
In addition, if you as a reader know anything about the social attitudes of the late 70's in Poland, you will find this book to be a weird and exciting commentary on the Polish people of that particular period.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Probably the best of Lem.
Published 8 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
very convenient way to buy.
Published 12 days ago by Donald G.
5.0 out of 5 stars Laughingly funny while blowing your mind with deep recursive thinking
Made me laugh out loud in some places, think really hard in others and both in many. It's great to read an author who can work very deep and complex ideas and questions into their... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Lem's best
This is a true classic. Every science fiction buff should read it. Lem's style is difficult in this book and Michael Kandel has made it an amazing read.
Published 3 months ago by Bruce
2.0 out of 5 stars ripoff
in the free books I live with the occasional spelling error. I paid for this. I expect better then grossly obvious spelling errors in the first short story.
Published 3 months ago by thommy
5.0 out of 5 stars Very entertaining.
Lem has a way of creating the most interesting juxtaposition and interplay of disparate ideas. This is a great read in ebook format so you can keep up with his vocabulary.
Published 7 months ago by Rick DeShone
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic Work of Intelligent but Light-Hearted Science Fiction
If you want sultry space sluts and giant armadas of space battleships and evil king Vorkon snickering in his palace of skulls don't bother. Read more
Published 8 months ago by VJ7
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly a set of classic fables for the electronic age - Unputdownable.
Do you remember how thrilling it was to listen to your grandfather's stories? How you always wanted another one? The Cyberiad ignites your imagination just like that. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars secretly one of the best books ever
this book is so good. every story is amazing. this is a genre re-defining sci-fi fairy tale of epic proportions!
Published 10 months ago by Eric Drewes
1.0 out of 5 stars Kind of silly
More a collection of fables than sci-fi. I enjoyed Solaris, but I didn't even finish this one. If feels too much like Kafka.
Published 10 months ago by Leigh Anderson
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More About the Author

Stanislaw Lem is the most widely translated and best known science fiction author writing outside of the English language. Winner of the Kafka Prize, he is a contributor to many magazines, including the New Yorker, and he is the author of numerous works, including Solaris.

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