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Fiasco 1st Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
"Fiasco" is a brilliant read on its own, and very approachable, but should really be considered part of Lem's larger set of works on this theme: "Solaris", "Eden" and "His Master's Voice" being the most obvious...with "Fiasco" being the most approachable, "Solaris" the best known and "His Master's Voice" the most challenging.
Fiasco is simply astonishing: a meditation on the nature of intelligence, culture, technology. Lem often parodies science fiction while writing serious literature, but with this novel he and translator Michael Kandel outdid all previous efforts.
While The Futurological Congress remains my favorite Lem book (personal taste), Fiasco is the best Lem book in English, followed closely by the 'lectures' of GOLEM the computer in Lem's Imaginary Magnitude.
I believe this novel, Lem's last, contains his finest effort of all. The playfulness and leitmotifs of some of his other work are absent, but we get a sober treatment of just how a voyage of hundreds of light years could be carried out, without a magical 'warp drive', and a cautionary tale about expectations,self delusion and just how alien alien can get. The first chapter, that some other reviewers found boring, I found to be written in the style of his Pirx stories, with one event leading to the next, and with our pilot Parvis' viewpoint featured. No deep concepts, no long, involved conversations - just an adventure story prequel to the Quinta voyage. For example, the six-page description of Parvis taking control of the fusion-powered Digla is a fascinating and satisfying tour de force of traditional hard scifi. I climbed into the control harness as if I was Parvis, while I renewed my deep love of Lem's evocative prose (see title of this review). The first chapter takes place on the moon Titan, and depicts the workaday world of our thoroughly conquered Solar system, while informing us that Pirx has disappeared on a Digla operation, and a spaceman very much like Pirx sets out in another one to find him. Lem's mixture of hard science fiction with lyrical description is pure catnip for readers with hungry imaginations. You aren't merely wowed by all the mecha; you enter into the joy of it.Read more ›
What IS the story about? Set in a future when humankind finally acts on the basis of a scientific ideal not personal gain a planet is discovered in a distant solar system that has a high probability of supporting life. An expedition is sent and seemingly noble efforts are made to make contact with the inhabitants. The story illustrates, in my own opinion, that no matter how 'evolved' we think we are, no matter how noble and honorably we think we can be, our pride in ourselves and our accomplishments has a way of causing us to ultimately act in barbaric ways.
The beginning of the story is astonishing and relates the re-animation of a man frozen on Titan a century earlier. The scene painted by Lem of this man�s technique in saving himself, his death, and his eventual return to the living are all astonishingly well-written and full of imagery. Lem is a master at getting the reader to imagine a very realistic and plausible scenario. All of this takes place in the first few chapters. This introductory story also serves to acquaint us with the 'evolved' and noble human of the distant future. The human we all hope our children�s children become.
There is also a short description of man�s mastery of gravity and cybernetics. This is related in a short description of an �smart� probe vehicle and the probe�s independently deduced attempts to avoid capture by the planet�s inhabitants.
I�ve read other reader�s comments regarding Lem�s use of science as a tool only and that he is not a true science fiction writer. I completely disagree.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is the most complete and thoughtful science fiction book I've read. It impresses with technical thoroughness and imaginative visuals while confronting themes of identity,... Read morePublished 8 hours ago by Jonathan Parker
This has got to be one of the most interesting and complex science fiction books I have read in years. I have always enjoyed reading Stanislaw Lem but somehow missed this gem.Published 1 month ago by biffer
Excellent sci-fi novel on the possibilities of first contact, I think a lot of readers may find the story anticlimactic, but the wealth of knowledge and detail both revealed and... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Rich M.
I consider this book an admonition for pride and prejudice!
Read it again and again and it's so amazing and detailed in many aspects and conflicts that arise from the... Read more
Warning: plot spoiler ahead. Finished Fiasco, four stars, unsatisfied with the decision to attack a world which did not want to make contact. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
Fascinating technology of the future. Great application of game theory to war conflicts. Lots of good ideas over all. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Lev Shneider
If you want to know what Lem is like as writer, start with Kafka, then add intellectual rigor.
In Kafka, characters cope with an intrinsically ambiguous world by... Read more
Fascinating book on what it means to be alien. I see lots of paralells in our current society with some of things that happen on QuintaPublished 10 months ago by Brett A. Harris
Stanislaw Lem is one of my favorite authors. I'm not aware of another author who so successfully blends philosophical ideas with plausible physics into engaging stories. Read morePublished 12 months ago by fzwz