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Fiasco [Paperback]

Stanislaw Lem
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
RRP: 10.24
Price: 10.09 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Fiasco + The Futurological Congress (From the Memoirs of Ijon Tichy) + Solaris
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Product details

  • Paperback: 322 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt Publishers Ltd; Reprint edition (Mar 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156306301
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156306300
  • Product Dimensions: 20.5 x 14.8 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 228,765 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


When a crew of earthmen--among them a space pilot, a military leader, a scientist, and a priest--reach the planet Quinta, the travelers descend into the very depths of the human condition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DON'T READ THE PREVIOUS REVIEW 7 Nov 2002
... this is a truly excellent book. Lem is an outstanding and unusual author and this book is one of my favourites by him. Some of Lems books are humourous or even 'silly', but you will generally find more serious themes hidden in the depths. Fiaso is not one of these, it is pretty much serious from top to bottom. Especially the ending, which hopefully you will be lucky enough to discover as Lem intended rather than reading it from a web review, or the back of the book as an even earlier reviewer mentioned (the copy I have has no text on the back).
If you are seeking a more humourous Lem read then try The Futurological Congress or The Cyberiad.
Everyone who purports to like Science Fiction should read at least one Lem book, Fiasco would be a good one.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Is he a SF writer really, or pure philosopher. 17 Oct 1998
By A Customer
If you read any book from this author, you will completely change your oppinion about SF genre in literature.I understand, people who think that SF is complete trash, pulp, call-it-what-you-want, literature, because i was one of them, untill I read "SOLARIS". I was shocked, amazed,and intellectualy shaken. Whole new horizon of thinking opened in front of my mind. "FIASCO" was the second, and the situation was the same. Buy this book, and you will find a lots of stuff to feed your mind with there.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant 17 Dec 1996
By A Customer
In my opinion, this is the best of Lem's books, but they're
all excellent. "Fiasco" deals with how humans react to
something TRULY alien. I learned more about mankind from
reading this one book than I have from years and years of
learning history.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This is a typical Lem 'space opera'. As in several of his books, Lem warns us about what technology without foresight can lead to. The book depicts an alien civilization which has fallen into the trap of its own cleverness: through a frenetic arms race, it has turned over control of its destiny to its military devices, and, locked in a deadly embrace, is unable and unwilling to open itself up to a 'first contact' mission of Earth... Unlike 'Solaris', where the 'alien' cannot be understood at all, here we are given definite hints at the motivations of the unseen 'others'... The guesses at the 'others' motivations are thus necessarily coloured with all the emotional baggage that the Astronauts brought with them. The result is the Fiasko. Incidentally, a story of quite similar atmosphere can be had from the other side of the Atlantic, and that's the 'Anvil of Stars' by Greg Bear. Now, comparing 'Fiasko' and 'Anvil' is like comparing '2001' and 'Star Wars', but if you like this book, you may like the other, too.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The best SF I've read 23 Mar 1998
By A Customer
After countless readings, Fiasco is the best SF title out there. I don't even think of this work as SF - the early jungle sequence and Titan construction segue into the conclusion leaving me thinking that what Lem is writing about isn't exactly what Lem is writing about at all. Invincable, Pirx, and Cyberiad may be his best known works, but this is Lem's masterpiece. If you don't have it - buy it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Almost a science (fiction) treatise 11 July 2014
By Anakina
I approached reading this book with the images of the film "Solaris" (also based on a novel by Lem) in the eyes, especially recalling the extreme slowness. For this reason, I was expecting a book with slow rhythms and I wasn't surely denied, but "Fiasco" is something different.
The slowness of the action is not an end in itself, but it is due to the long digressions and explanations in which the characters linger. In front of them the story runs almost completely in background.
Initially this puzzles you, especially when you meet digressions that have nothing to do with the rest of the book (like when the characters tell stories or read a book), then you enter the rhythm and you appreciate the study done by the author on the most strictly scientific and anthropological parts (even if they refer to aliens).
The overall impression is of being in front of a science fiction treatise, in which a lover of this genre, especially one who writes as well as reads it, can draw on to broaden their horizons and their knowledge in this field. The book is, in fact, interesting and if you read it you definitely learn very much.
The action, as mentioned, is little, the characters are sketchy and sometimes act making extreme decisions, so that what they do has no real meaning, as if it were subservient to the purpose of the writer to create certain situations that will enable them to investigate other aspects of his "treatise".
As a result of all this, some parts (especially those on speculations about the political situation of the aliens) are sometimes tedious, while others are extremely interesting (the science part).
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of my Favourite Books 24 May 2008
By Dobbsy
This book supports my view that great intelligence does not necessarily go hand in hand with great common sense. I can't help but think that if mankind ever does come into contact with a race of intelligent beings from another planet, then we are unlikely to deal with it any better than the crew of the Hermes in this book.

Some may find the science in the book a little too excessive but I personally found it to be one the books charms. Lem puts forward a number of interesting and educated theories as to how we may eventually cross the expanses of space. If you enjoy Astronomy and Physics(as I do) then you will definitely like this book.
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