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The Cyberiad: Fables for the Cybernetic Age (Penguin Modern Classics) by [Lem, Stanislaw]
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The Cyberiad: Fables for the Cybernetic Age (Penguin Modern Classics) Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews

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Length: 299 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

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)

About the Author

Stanislaw Lem (1921-2006) was born in Lviv, then part of Poland. He is probably the most original and influential European science-fiction writer since H.G. Wells. Best known in the West for Tarkovsky's film of his novel Solaris, Lem wrote novels and stories that have been published all over the world. He is credited with anticipating in his writing artificial reality, e-books and nano-technology. His most famous works include The Cyberiad, Mortal Engines, The Star Diaries, The Futurological Congress, Tales of Pirx the Pilot and Solaris.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 7787 KB
  • Print Length: 299 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (5 Jun. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00HNIJ38C
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #118,396 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bought it for a friend as a gift. He relally loved it. It is a nice read. Great translation from Polish to English. This book is a masterpiece among other amazing books from Lem.
I can only highly reccomend it to you, you will see how great writer/futurologist Lem was.
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Format: Paperback
Like 'Mortal Engines', this collection of short stories is lovely. If you want to classify the genre, they're... bed-time stories for androids. The Cyberiad is probably the better of the two collections, but it's a close-run thing. The collection starts with the tale of an inventor who creates a machine which can make anything that starts with an 'n'. Everything goes well until a rival tells the machine to do 'nothing' and it starts deleting bits of reality... Futurist fairy tales, every one. Translation from the original Polish has been handled very well. Even the occasional poems still rhyme, and still feature clever puns.
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Format: Paperback
I first read this wonderful book many years ago but reread it recently and enjoyed it even more. It's a collection of short stories set in a distant future (or possibly a distant past) where all the characters are robots and only ancient legends tell of the horrible slimy 'protoplasmic goo' people who came before (i.e. humans). They are comic fairy tales, poking fun at computers, maths and science in general. The two heroes are 'constructors' , 'Trurl' and 'Klapaucius' who can create almost anything, from a machine which composes poetry 'two hundred and twenty, to three hundred and forty seven times better' than the best poets to one which can make anything beginning with the letter 'N'. The stories are all philosophically absurd and very funny as a result! I agree with previous posters that the translation is excellent (particularly on the poetry - I can't imagine what it was like in Polish but it is brilliant in English!) I rather like the story where Trurl constructs an eight-storey thinking machine which refuses to admit that 2 and 2 is not 7. Why does this remind me of work? (I'm a computer programmer!)
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Format: Paperback
The blurb on my copy of this book waffles on about the stories being about rival inventors vying with each other to create ever more ludicrous machines to carry out ever more ludicrous purposes in a blinding satire on the genius and futility of man's inventiveness. So I suppose that's what it's about. But either way this book is a masterpiece.

This collection of short stories is a translation of Lem's Polish original, and so it's a wonder that the humour, which mainly works because of the clever wordplay, translates from another language. In these humorous stories there are machines who can build anything beginning with the letter 'N', storytelling machines, war machines, poetry writing machines, thinking machines that can't add up...

Although I've read this book many times I find it hard to convey why I love it so much, other than that it reads like no other. The tales are gentle, but strange. They are poetic, but implausible. They are satirical, but without malice. The language is of fables, the structure whimsical. If you're looking for a focussed parody on the relentless quest for technological invention, this isn't exactly it. But if you want a warm, friendly and original read, then this is the book for you.
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Format: Paperback
There is no book in my mind that covers the whole of the
universe like this. Humans and machines alike are given
a humorous treatment, during which you will be tickled
pink by Lem's ingenuous twists of imagination, and after
which you no longer can take humans or machines too
seriously. The translation from Polish is a work of art in
its own right - witty, concise, elegant, and fluent.

Lem is a great thinker, and the depth of his writing only
hits one after a few moments. Read this book and let its
gentle humor move you. You'll never regret it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Cosmologist Sean Carroll nominated this as a "lost sc-fi classic" in "New Scientist" magazine last year. It's an absurdist study of a robot-dominated future and as such doesn't have any precedents in science fiction that I can think of, although the style has an illustrious history in both fantasy (Lord Dunsany, James Branch Cabell, Jack Vance, Mervyn Peake - as another reviewer has picked up on - and latterly Terry Pratchett) and main-stream literature from Rabelais to Bulgakov. But I can think of two important later SF creations that appear, whether deliberately or accidentally, to owe a lot to the Cyberiad, both in terms of their general absurdist style and their sentient machines: "The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy" (think of Marvin and Deep Thought) and Matt Groening's "Futurama" (Bender and all the other robots, particularly those on Chapek 9). And maybe a third in Terry P's Hex if you accept Discworld as borderline SF/fantasy.

When I had read a couple of chapters I thought I was going to love the book, but to be honest for me the conceit wore thin after a while. The stories would probably read better taken about once a month, like in a magazine (is that how they first appeared?). But there are so many good ideas in the book that I have to recommend that you at least dip into a borrowed copy. It would almost be worth learning Polish to read it in the original!
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