The Invincible
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The Invincible

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  1,296 ratings  ·  58 reviews
An interstellar 2nd-class cruiser called Invincible, lands on Regis III which seems bleakly uninhabited, to investigate the loss of sister ship, Condor. The crew finds evidence of a form of quasilife, born thru evolution of autonomous, self-replicating machines. The evolution was controlled by robot wars. The survivors are swarms of minuscule, insectoid machines. Individua...more
Paperback, 223 pages
Published August 23rd 1973 by Sidgwick & Jackson (London) (first published 1964)
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Solaris by Stanisław LemRoadside Picnic by Arkady StrugatskyWe by Yevgeny ZamyatinTwenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules VerneThe Futurological Congress by Stanisław Lem
Best European Science Fiction Books
21st out of 156 books — 104 voters
Inne Pieśni by Jacek DukajSolaris by Stanisław LemDzienniki gwiazdowe by Stanisław LemLimes inferior by Janusz A. ZajdelCyberiada by Stanisław Lem
Best Polish Sci-Fi
7th out of 25 books — 14 voters


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Community Reviews

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Thomas Beekers
This science fiction tale by Stanislaw Lem is easily missed or dismissed as just a space romp, but it is much more than that. A crew land their gigantic, overbuilt and overpowered "Invincible" starship on a planet, trying to find out what happened to the previous starship that landed here. Soon they find out mankind with all their technology is not as Invincible as they'd hoped, and a "mystery" story begins as they try to find out what it is that lives on this planet. The latter part of the book...more
Mark
Apr 02, 2011 Mark rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: sf
The starship Condor never returned after landing on Regis III, so its sister ship Invincible is dispatched on a rescue mission. The sf portions are classic 60s hard science fiction, a gradual exploration of an alien planet and the threat that defeated the first crew. However what I really love is the sparse but effective characterization of the Invicible's crew. From the beginning there is an undercurrent of tension implying that the crew has been together in space a little too long. There is th...more
Reinhold
Auf dem Planeten Regis 3 ist der mächtige, schier unbesiegbare Raumkreuzer Kondor verschollen. So wird das Schwesterschiff Der Unbesiegbare zu dem Planeten entsandt um das Rätsel über das Verschwinden der Kondor zu lösen. Als die Kondor gefunden wird, bleibt zunächst alles so unerklärlich wie zuvor. Regis 3 war ganz offenbar einmal belebt und dennoch gibt es keine organischen Überreste der vergangenen Zivilisation. Auch von der Besatzung der Kondor fehlt jede Spur. Bald findet man jedoch eine un...more
Van Choojitarom
Another rip-roaring space adventure from Lem; like "Eden," "Fiasco" or "Solaris" Lem's astronauts boldly go through a glass darkly to thrilling encounters with insanity, meaninglessness, all-too human motives and the sheer unintelligibility of the universe on anthropomorphic terms. For Lem, the problem is never the horror of unfamiliar alien intelligence; it's that the encounter reveals to us how little we mean by the word "intelligence." Something for the Spinozist in all of us.
Roger
A short, raw, tight novel from Lem, dealing, in his inimitable manner, with an investigation of a ruined spaceship on a planet that holds a truly disturbing secret. One of Lem's best, this is true Verne-style futurizing.
Hugo Resendiz
This book has a very interesting concept, the necroevolution, an evolution of inorganic beigns, that were abandoned on planet Regis III by their creators. The plot is fluid and keeps in with the expectative by his unusual concept that in the sci-fi tradition is viewed in a very original way. There is normally life in other planets as organic and semi-rational beings. (view spoiler)...more
Aleksandar Trapara
Luckily, I read the book in Serbian translation which was fairly good, so I didn't have to bother about it having been originally translated into German and then into English.

Brilliant little book and such a sad story. It aroused so many conflicting emotions in me. At one point, I was infuriated by the crew's insistence on staying on Regis III and meddling with its ecosystem, and yet I was so startled when their plan to use the Cyclops backfired on them. Once again, Lem successfully sets out the...more
Mathew
Easily one of Lem's best novels, tense and gripping — I found myself reading it at 3AM because I wanted to know what would happen next. Cinematic, would make a good SF movie. Unusually rich characterization for Lem, too. Boggles my mind that it had no available direct English translation until this year.
D. Scott Meek
Apr 07, 2014 D. Scott Meek rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to D. by: no one
Classic sci-fi! Stanislaw Lem takes us back to the sci-fi days of yore with a tale of eerie and epic proportions. While most authors then, and even now, explore alien civilizations and bring us a daunting "bad guy" or alien race to contend with, making it almost cliche, Stanislaw Lem takes a very original track and brings the reader a mysterious tale that will not end as expected - my favorite kind of book.

The story surrounds the disappearance of a space ship, more rocket ship since this is the...more
Jon
Feb 07, 2013 Jon rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: sci-fi
As a huge Lem fan, I've been itching to read this since I first heard of it. I finally got a copy and had some time to read it, but after ten pages something seemed wrong. I flipped to the colophon and my heart sank. Who thought it would be a good idea to write the English translation from the German translation of the original Polish? Kind of a bummer. :(
Kirsten Zirngibl
I really enjoyed this! The portrayal of swarm intelligence and non-biological evolution is definitely ahead of its time. It takes a potentially dry and academic theme and presents it with tension and a dash of horror. This novel pushed all my buttons, and reminded me what I liked about Lem last time I read his work.

There’s little characterization in the book. There are 80 scientists, about 20 of whom are mentioned more than once. (All of them are male, and a reason is never given for this.) The...more
Samuel
Considering reading this one again soon. Have never been disappointed by any of Lem's work. As an industrial electrician I enjoyed the concepts presented here. Lem is a master of creating plausible alien ecosystems which are and feel *alien*. This ecosystem is electromagnetic...
Mahyar
An impressive science fiction thriller. The theme to the book is similar to that of other Lem novels, like SOLARIS and THE INVESTIGATION, where the heroes find themselves up against increasingly complex and frustrating phenomena.
Richie
Early Lem,one of my favorites. Too bad it's no longer in print. Touches on themes similar to Solaris....
Bbrown
In Solaris Lem used the alien encounter scenario common to science fiction literature as a way to explore the human condition. As such, it's one of my favorites. The Invincible doesn't reach such dizzying heights, but it isn't really trying to. Instead it's Lem shooting for enjoyable pulp science fiction and hitting the mark.

This book is also the story of man interacting with an alien presence on a foreign world. Unlike in Solaris, the other entity isn't presented as truly alien in the sense of...more
Alex Railean
Very impressive! Fans of Chrichton's `Prey` will be delighted! (-:
Shaun
I'm not sure at what point in Lem's career this book first appeared, but it had the feel of an early novel. I also found it to be a forerunner for works such as SOLARIS--both involve investigations on mysterious planets and the secrets they find. Both of the aliens in the books are truly that--alien.

My edition is a more recent, direct from Polish, translation. Originally, the book was translated to German from Polish and THEN into English. This happened to a lot of Lem's books, and only now are...more
Althea Ann
"I absolutely hated the first half of this book, but it was partially redeemed by the second half. The first part of the book is a Manly Adventure Story about a ship that lands on an alien planet in order to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a previous ship in the region. An inimical situation makes it very clear that it would be better to just leave, but stubbornness, bravado and machismo mean that they stay. However, the second part of the book makes it very clear that much of the id...more
Ntav
Erster Satz
Der „Unbesiegbare“, ein Raumkreuzer der schweren Klasse, das grösste Schiff, über das die Flottenbasis im Sternbild der Leier verfügte, durchflog mit Photonenantrieb den äußersten Quadranten der Sterngruppe.

Inhalt

Ein Raumschiff wird ausgesandt, um nach dem Verbleib seines Schwesterschiffes zu fahnden, der „Kondor“. Man findet es relativ rasch .. allerdings wirft sein Zustand mehr Fragen auf, als er beantwortet. Die „Kondor“ steht völlig unbeschädigt auf dem Planeten herum. Die Besatzu...more
Danijel
Science-fiction u punom smislu riječi, i to čak sa starog kontinenta. Sram me priznati što se prvi put susrećem s ovim poljskim velikanom, SF-a Stanislawom Lemom; no zadovoljstvo i čast upoznavanja je bilo moje. Tema je prvi susret, krstarica Nepobjedivi dolazi na naizgled pusti planet Regis III, u potrazi za nestalom krstaricom Kondor. Polagano počinju upoznavati ovaj neobičan svijet, sudbinu nasukanih i neobičan smjer evolucije životnih oblika na ovome planetu. Lem koristi niz zanimljivih tema...more
Miguel Ruz Baños
Este libro ha caído en mis manos (metafóricamente hablando ya que en realidad lo he leído en el Kindle ;-)) después de oír hablar de él en el podcast Verdhugos donde lo recomendaban como una lectura interesante para empezar a leer algo de este autor, cuya obra mas conocida, Solaris, es quizás más árida.
He de decir que desde hace años la lectura de esta obra, Solaris, esta en mi “pila” de pendientes y normalmente suelo descartarla cada vez que empiezo una nueva novela porque tengo un mal recuerdo...more
Diego Castañeda
Una expedición de la Tierra en búsqueda de una nave perdida aterriza en un planeta extraño en el encuentran una fuerza de la naturaleza diferente un sistema que evoluciono para sobrevivir a todo para vencer a los seres vivos, a los seres inteligentes y a cualquiera cosa orgánica u inorgánica que se presente.

Lem imagina una lucha entre la razón y una fuerza que no necesita de esta para vencer.

Una gran historia muy recomendable para los que disfrutan del genero de la ciencia ficción
Giulio Prisco
In The Invincible, the crew of a starship landed on an apparently desert planet must confront highly efficient self-organizing swarms of insect-like, self-reproducing, self-repairing micro-robots, apparently evolved over the ages from war robots left by a civilization that visited the planet long ago. The micro-robotic swarms are the survivors of the evolutionary struggle for the survival of the fittest, and the masters of the planet. Though probably not sentient in any sense that we can relate...more
Ela
Mimo ze nie jestem fanem science fiction a tym bardziej umyslem scislym uwazam ze Niezwyciezony to ksiazka swietna-od pierwszej sceny ladowania zalogi statku kosmicznego na planecie Regis az po wspaniale opisy batalistyczne z udzialem automatow. Fabula znakomita, trzymajaca w napieciu, opisy zniewalajace(nadmieniajac ze ksiazke te Lem napisal w 1964). Dla wszystkich fanów podrozy kosmicznych i kontaktow z pozaziemskimi formami zycia szczerze polecam
Katya
With this book Lem is at his best. This is not only a SciFi book about a stellar cruiser crew investigating a mysterious disaster that befell the other starship on Regis 3. It is a contemplation on human nature as well as envisioning of other, non-human types of consciousness. In Invincible Lem continues the theme he had started in Solaris - he contemplates on the limits of human cognition and principal unknowability of the world. I was fascinated by Lem's unrestrained imagination in describing...more
Dylan
The Invincible probably couldn't have been written by an anglophone author, despite its superficial resemblance to a lot of contemporaneous English science fiction. Actually, it reads rather like a thoughtful author trying to imitate the pulp masters, but failing to suppress his more esoteric talent. It's heady schlock, atmospheric in a way most longer books fail to be, ambiguous in a way most can't pull off. The characters meditate on the nature and hierarchical forms of existence; robots fight...more
Jacek
Do czego tak naprawdę odnosi się tytuł tej książki? Czy do statku kosmicznego którym bohater wylądował na zapomnianej przez bogów i los planecie, czy do hartu ducha załogi zmuszonej walczyć z najstraszliwszym przeciwnikiem jakiego stworzyć mogła natura i technika. "Niezwyciężony" to książka specyficzna. Nie ma tu antagonisty, a głównym przeciwnikiem załogi statku są istoty, które pragną żyć, ale jednocześnie nie mogą być nazwane żywymi. Brzmi to skomplikowanie? Bo i tak jest w istocie. To właśni...more
Tomasz
Przeczytałem a raczej przesłuchałem superprodukcji audioteki. Polecam tą wersję, naprawdę warto, niezła muza jak konwój jedzie, świetny klimat.
Tracey
Jul 03, 2014 Tracey marked it as to-read
Shelves: amazonprimeloan
Saw in Amazon Countdown Deals - interest in author
David A Johnson
Brilliant, altho I admit slow at times and I didn't care so much about the fate of most of the characters.

Not entirely sure how the understanding of where the ultimately titular micromachines is arrived at by the evidence and reason available, but it's not ridiculous as explained.

They are a truly formidable alien 'lifeform' and presented in a way that requires no suspension of disbelief.

It's not hard reading but the concept is much more enjoyable than the narrative itself.
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Stanisław Lem (staˈɲiswaf lɛm) was a Polish science fiction, philosophical and satirical writer of Jewish descent. His books have been translated into 41 languages and have sold over 27 million copies. He is perhaps best known as the author of Solaris, which has twice been made into a feature film. In 1976, Theodore Sturgeon claimed that Lem was the most widely read science-fiction writer in the w...more
More about Stanisław Lem...
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