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The Cyberiad: Fables for the Cybernetic Age…

The Cyberiad: Fables for the Cybernetic Age (1965)

by Stanisław Lem

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (21)  Spanish (2)  Italian (1)  All languages (24)
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
This book is so goofy! On one hand, it's a short story collection with consistent characters and something close to resembling a plot that ties everything together. On the other, it's an entire book of unapologetic technobabble.

Billed as a book of fables, and as such the morals of the stories are pretty heavy-handed. But since we have a lot of them with the same two folks there's a surprising amount of character development, even if there's an infinitesimal amount in each individual story.

The technobabble is great. You can dip in and out of it as you read - if you're feeling like reading some clever nonsense it's fun, and if you're not, you can skim through it knowing that most of it is just for flavor anyways.

In many ways this reminds me of Labyrinths by Borges, but I liked this book and didn't like that one. I think the difference was this: when reading Labyrinths I felt like the author was so proud of how clever the ideas in his stories were, and the Cyberiad is mercilessly skewering cleverness at every turn. ( )
1 vote haagen_daz | Jun 6, 2019 |
(Original Review, 1980)

Some people’s complaint about "The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy" is reminiscent of a friend's complaint about Stanislaw Lem's "Cyberiad: Tales for a Cybernetic Age". He thought it was just a series of disconnected tales that were "everything that sf is ridiculed as being", petty, and demeaning. Then one day I snuck up on him and read him the start of the story on Dragons and Probability, and he burst out laughing. Then he reread the book and enjoyed it immensely. All this is presented for just two reasons: (1) Maybe me friend was looking for too much or something the book was not intended to be (I found the little I've read of it to be rather humorous), and; (2) This seemed like a splendid opportunity to plug a great book. The only book I know of which makes jokes about the Laws of Thermodynamics, computers, robotics, atomic physics, and still is funny and very philosophical politically (Stanislaw Lem is a Polish author whose works are translated into English brilliantly).

P.S. I should warn that none of the other four books of his I've read have even come close, and most aren't even worth buying (though the intro to "Memoirs Found in a Bathtub" is quite good). If you've been disappointed by his other works, don't let that stop you from reading "Cyberiad".

P.P.S. The story about the electronic bard is probably the best.

[2018 EDIT: This review was written at the time as I was running my own personal BBS server. Much of the language of this and other reviews written in 1980 reflect a very particular kind of language: what I call now in retrospect a “BBS language”.] ( )
  antao | Nov 6, 2018 |
It starts off as a series of cute and amusing stories featuring ridiculously human robots. But soon, you realize you're reading and thinking, what is happiness?

When you progress through the book, stories become longer and more involved.

I really like the tension between Trurl and Klapaucius, who are both brilliant constructors and friends, but who compete against each other. ( )
  automatthias | Jun 19, 2017 |
I started reading this once a while ago and got to exactly the same place and stopped ( it just happened again ! )
  Baku-X | Jan 10, 2017 |
Imagine Crow T. Robot and Tom Servo roaming the galaxy at will, enacting vast Platonic thought experiments while exercising nearly godlike creative powers. Toss in a whole lot of whimsy and wordplay and just a dash of dizzying scientific speculation and you might have some idea of what Trurl and Klapaucius, the weird heroes of Stanislaw Lem's Cyberiad are like.

The book is utterly charming.

There is not an overarching narrative per se; rather a series of "sallies" in which the duo enact different fictional tropes and plots, some of them bewilderingly recursive. The irresistible allure of certain fantasy princesses is a common element -- Lem's version of our mechanical descendants do have sex lives -- as is speculating about whether those mushy, gushy, sloppy, gloppy organic things they call "palefaces" created the glorious robot race, the inheritors of the universe, or vice-versa.

It's a lot of great, head-scratchy fun. I would particularly recommend it to fans of Walter Moers' Zamoria books, which Lem surely must have inspired and influenced (and if you haven't read any of those yet, I envy you the treat of experiencing them -- and this -- for the first time. Books like these are why it's fun to be smart!) ( )
  KateSherrod | Aug 1, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lem, Stanisławprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
義治, 村手翻訳secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fernandes, StanislawCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kandel, MichaelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kannosto, MattiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mróz, DanielIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rey, LuisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
昭三, 吉上翻訳secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Żył raz pewien wielki konstruktor-wynalazca, który nie ustając, wymyślał urządzenia niezwykłe i najdziwniejsze stwarzał aparaty.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0156027593, Paperback)

A brilliantly crafted collection of stories from celebrated science fiction writer Stanislaw Lem


Trurl and Klaupacius are constructor robots who try to out-invent each other. Over the course of their adventures in The Cyberiad, they travel to the far corners of the cosmos to take on freelance problem-solving jobs, with dire consequences for their unsuspecting employers. Playfully written, and ranging from the prophetic to the surreal, these stories demonstrate Stanislaw Lem's vast talent and remarkable ability to blend meaning and magic into a wholly entertaining and captivating work.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:59 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Trurl and Klaupacius are constructor robots who try to out-invent each other. They travel to the far corners of the cosmos to take on freelance problem-solving jobs, with dire consequences for their employers.

» see all 2 descriptions

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