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Eden (Helen & Kurt Wolff Book) 1st Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0156278065
ISBN-10: 0156278065
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

After crash-landing on an alien planet known as Eden, the crew of a spaceship begins to explore--and hopelessly misinterpret--the strange surroundings. In this ``stylistic departure from his usual satirical, antic approach. . . . Lem creates an intricately detailed exotic environment in a thoughtful, often exciting story,'' said PW.

Copyright 1991 Cahners 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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Helen & Kurt Wolff Book
  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; 1 edition (October 31, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156278065
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156278065
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,091,887 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really couldn't get caught up in the story. It did make the case that alien species will probably not be anything like mankind and men will not be able to make any judgements of them based on there previous experiences. However, I could not get interested in the characters and found the story somewhat confusing. I did finish the book, but came away feeling glad that I was done.
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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. This book was written in 1959 in Poland. It is difficult to analyze the book without taking into account the writer. My perception of what his life was like and how his experiences may have been shaped is the basis for my review. First off, the book comes across as dated. There really is little attention paid to the science aspect of science fiction. There is no attempt at imagination here; Lem envisioned the future with technology that existed in 1959. He seemed to conceive of 1950's technology being used to create weapons and space travel, but did not actually conceive of any technological advancements that would aid in space exploration or advanced weaponry etc. In a way it seemed bizarre in a science fiction novel that his imagination just didn't go there. Some "robots" and a ray gun with no real explanation as to that science is not exactly imaginative. The science in this novel is beyond dated, it's just plain nonsense. But the novel is more about mood and philosophy and less about science. The novel is largely successful in creating a mood that exudes anxiety, paranoia, strangeness, confusion, and ambiguity. After only a few pages, the reader does begin to feel claustrophobic and restless and confused. By the end of the book I found myself unexpectedly involved and concerned about the choices confronting the explorers. From a philosophical point of view, the novel was much less successful. It never gets around to describing why they were out in space in the first place. They crash landed on their way to where or what is never stated.Read more ›
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