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The Invincible

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  1,829 ratings  ·  81 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 through evolution of autonomous, self-replicating machines. The evolution was controlled by robot wars. The survivors are swarms of minuscule, insectoid machines. Indivi ...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
17th out of 183 books — 126 voters
Ender's Game by Orson Scott CardDune by Frank HerbertThe Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams1984 by George OrwellFahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Best Science Fiction
454th out of 1,778 books — 2,533 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
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
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
One of my favourite Lem novels, it possible worries me that it is one of those with the least amount of quirky strangeness and the most predictable plot arc. Two of my favourite quotes:

Man -- he saw in a flash of insight -- had not yet reached the true pinnacle; he had not yet appropriated that galactocentric idea, praised since antiquity, whose real meaning could not consist in searching only for similar beings and learning to understand them, but rather in refraining from interfering with alie
Para la tercera edición del Club de Lectura Otto eligió uno de sus libros favoritos de ciencia ficción. Como sabía lo importante que es este autor para ella tenía muchas ganas de que me gustara, pero no pude entrar en sintonía. Es la primera vez que leo un libro de este tipo y me di cuenta que la charla tecnológica no es lo mío. Me costaba concentrarme y mi mente se encontraba vagando por los aires mientras iba avanzando con la lectura. Por eso avancé muy lento y en varios momentos se me hizo pe ...more
J.j. Metsavana
Üks ulme põnevamaid teemasid ja esitada võivaid küsimusi on minu arvates seotud kohtumisega tundmatuga. Võõraste arusaamatute rasside ja olendikooslustega ja selles osas on Lem suurepärane autor. Ka antud teoses on ta loonud pööraselt veidra ja üsnagi negatiivse pildi ühest inimkonna kohtumisest millegagi mida nad ei suuda mõista. Lemi tegelastele (ja üleüldiselt ka inimkonnale) omaselt püütakse kummalist nähtust suruda teadlaste poolt teooriatesse ning alistada seda pommide ning antimateeriaga, ...more
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
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.
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.
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.
**Leído para el Club de Lectura**
En la tercera entrega del Club de Lectura fue mi turno elegir el libro, y me decidí por El Invencible, de Stanisław Lem.

(Review in english to come soon! don't read the Goodreads synopsis, it spoils the whole plot o__o)

Considero a Lem mi autor favorito de Ciencia Ficción y quería elegir alguna de sus obras para compartir con el Club. A pesar de que ya había leído dos veces este libro, tenía buenos recuerdos de él y me pareció que contenía todo lo que me gusta de
Checked out The Invincible by Stanislaw Lem as my November Amazon Prime Lending Library book... Lem is an author I feel I should have read as a SF fan, so am finally getting around to his works.

Is it just me, or is naming your starship Invincible kinda asking for it? Especially when you're heading toward an apparently lifeless planet on which another ship has already disappeared?

While the characters are pretty much one-dimensional standins, that's not what this novel is about. Rather, it's an
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
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
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
Łukasz Wikierski
Skusiłem się na audiobooka, mimo tego, że łatwiej koncentruję się na tekście pisanym jak czytanym, ze względu na formę słuchowiska. Nie zawiodłem się! Wspaniała tematyka - kontakt ludzi z nieziemski bytami, pełna dylematów, grozy, niewiadomych. Do tego oprawa dźwiękowa, aktorzy, a nie sam suchy lektor.
Innymi słowy: Lem w najlepszej formie i wykonaniu.
Pierre Menard
Nov 27, 2014 Pierre Menard rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Who loves SF with philosophical implications.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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. :(
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...
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.
Richard Hogg
This book is interesting in that it deals with a grey-goo theme. Well kind of. Proto-grey-goo. It was written long before the term was coined. For the most part it is a solid, steady-eddy bit of top quality 60s SF. It plods along in a satisfying way, as straightforwards and procedural in it's storytelling as the crew of the Invincible are being in their thorough investigation of Regis III. Perhaps it is a little dry, but the ideas are interesting enough to keep you going. But then it all really ...more
At first I was getting into the old-school feel of a science-minded story where competent people come across a mysterious problem and then use Science! to solve it. No women, but eh. I had trouble connecting with any of the characters beside the first mate, but that's also typical for an idea-based story. But then somewhere around the 60% mark, I just totally lost the thread. I kind of skimmed through, trying to at least find out what happened, but I'm not even sure what happened, except that it ...more
Very reminiscent of other Lem novels I have read, although lacking the wittiness and dour view of humanity that makes his work so singular. The plot's pretty simple, spaceship of square jawed heroes and scientists land on an uninhabited planet to solve a mystery and end up encountering a deadly non sentient species of mechanical life. The arc of the story is pretty predictable too, first half of the book a bunch of weird stuff goes on, second half a series of escalating stakes and a final solo j ...more
Early Lem,one of my favorites. Too bad it's no longer in print. Touches on themes similar to Solaris....
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
David H. Friedman
The rocket ship Invincible investigates the disappearance of a sister ship on a planet seemingly devoid of life. An investigative adventure in a space opera setting becomes a philosophical exploration of evolution. Very little characterization: the protagonists are vehicles for the resolution of the mystery, but two characters are drawn a little more deeply towards the end of the novel. Bears Lem's usual themes of chance, rationality, philosophy of science. Feels in some ways like a practice run ...more
Alex Railean
Very impressive! Fans of Chrichton's `Prey` will be delighted! (-:
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
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
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
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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...
Solaris The Cyberiad The Futurological Congress: From the Memoirs of Ijon Tichy Tales of Pirx the Pilot The Star Diaries: Further Reminiscences of Ijon Tichy

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