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Eden (Helen & Kurt Wolff Book) Paperback – 1 Oct 1991

4.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 262 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt Publishers Ltd; Reprint edition (Oct. 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156278065
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156278065
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.5 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 599,674 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Contacting an alien civilisation has always been one of the most popular motivs of sci-fi literature. This book is about it; however, unlike most approaches to the subject, the civilisation that mankind comes across with is _really_ alien. The whole point of the book is to prove that it might not be so easy to get in contact with extraterrestial intelligent beings, let alone communicate with them. The way we understand the world around us is based on categories and values that are very human; but that does not mean that they are really universal.
This book is really exciting, in that sense. A crew of explorers lands in a planet, finds an alien civilisation, wanders around the planet, sees many aliens behaving in absolutely uncomprehensible ways and never get really close to understand what's happening around them. As it tends to happen with Lem's books, the end is a bit disappointing, only because the expectations he draws along are very high and it's simply very difficult to keep up to them. However I think this book is truly original and very recommendable.
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Format: Paperback
a companion piece to lems the invincible. 5 astronauts crashing on strange planet find even stranger civilisation which they struggle to comprehend. an excellent read - one of my favourite books. if you like lem you will like this.
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Format: Paperback
Six astronauts got stranded on the planet Eden - so far unexplored unknown planet. Their ship is broken, they have limited supply of water. Luckily all astronauts survived the crash and planet's atmosphere is breathable.

The whole story of Eden can be perceived from 2 angles. From one point of view it's a classic "Robinson's" tale. From another point of view is author giving us his visualization on human-to-alien contact. For me both those views are interesting, however why I love the book is the first one. Let me elaborate on both those sides of the same story.

The "Robinson's" part is a straightforward action which begins in the very beginning of the book. I love the parts where crew is trying and solving the technical issues. It is always dynamic and well written, including dialogs among the crew. Overcoming all the difficulties, making a small progress in repairs, step by step improving their situation - this is where this book shines. There are not many good sci-fi novels with "Robinson's Crusoe" plot. Maybe another worth mentioning would be Kir Bulychev's - Those Who Survive.

The second side of the book is - unlike the technical side - more philosophical view on how humans would react when contacted with truly alien life. That part was more descriptive and slower moving. While I agree that individual crewmembers are not deep enough for reader to actually see/feel the human nature in depth, there are at least parts which would force you to think about true "alien-ness". Also the final part when crew is trying to communicate with an alien is very well written and will catch your attention.

In conclusion I enjoyed the book very much and read it maybe 10x.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This travelogue of weird plants, structures and sluggy aliens is written without any regard for plausibility or characterisation. In fact, the only thing less plausible than the juvenile plot is that it could have come from the pen of the incomparable Stanislaw Lem. Maybe he wrote it when he was 10 years old?
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x89c9a354) out of 5 stars 43 reviews
28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x88eb7024) out of 5 stars Beautiful nightmare 5 May 2001
By Philip Challinor - Published on Amazon.com
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.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x88eb7078) out of 5 stars Fun beyond Solaris 21 Dec. 2001
By Michael Battaglia - Published on Amazon.com
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. In the end there are explanations of a sort, but they seem anticlimatic and feel a bit like a cop out, a concession to readers not really prepared for the honest answer that maybe there really is no way to understand something utterly alien. All told, Lem's imagination and presentation of his argument is impressive and mostly entertaining, even if you have to read Solaris to get a better idea of what he's trying to say.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x89420c6c) out of 5 stars Could we understand the truly alien if we saw it? 14 Jan. 2006
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Almost all of Lem's science fiction centers around one or two variations of one theme. The theme is "What is intelligence?" and the two variations are "What would robotic life be like?" and "What would a truly alien intelligence be like?" "Eden" is in the second group. A party of explorers arrives on an alien world and wanders around trying to make sense of it. The subtext of "Eden" is that it could really be a description of Earth as viewed through completely fresh eyes. In a typical scene the explorers wander into a valley of flowers. When approached the blooms suddenly take flight. Lem leaves it to the reader to realize a visitor to Earth might make the same mistake about butterflys. Like many of Lem's works the book is really a work of philosophy and somewhat abstract: the explorers do not even have names, just job descriptions. By the standards of any other science fiction author this book deserves 5 stars, I only give it 4 because I prefer "Solaris" and "Fiasco" with which "Eden" should be grouped (along with the more difficult "His Master's Voice") as books about contact (Sagan's "Contact" is clearly based on "His Master's Voice").
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x88eb7300) out of 5 stars Just an OK book. 19 Feb. 2013
By G. Roche - Published on Amazon.com
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.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x88eb72a0) out of 5 stars fine alien description 23 Mar. 2004
By H&W - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is only the second Stan Lem book I've read (Solaris being the first), and here, once again, Lem captures the utter strangeness of an alien world and its utterly strange inhabitants. As others have mentioned, Lem chooses to identify the crew members by profession rather than by name, with one exception. I'm not sure of his reason for this, but my guess is that he was trying to show the tendency of humans to comparmentalize, and, subsequently, to show how this could present a barrier to understanding alien beings. Here, Lem presents a well-thought-out alien atmosphere, with "doublers" living in a society that we can barely imagine. The most interesting parts of the story were the various planetary explorations performed by the men, both on foot and by ground vehicle. It is rare, at least in my experience, to encounter an author who can describe such strange places in such fine and honest detail. I also enjoyed Lem's take on the human contamination of such worlds. Recommended for those who enjoy exploratory, adventure-type science fiction with a philosophical twist.
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