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The Cyberiad: Fables for the Cybernetic Age
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The Cyberiad: Fables for the Cybernetic Age

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4.20  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,522 Ratings  ·  339 Reviews
This is the 1st Avon printing.
Cover Artist: Daniel Mroz

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. “The most completely successful of his books... here Lem comes closest to inventing a real universe” (Boston G
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Paperback, #27201, 236 pages
Published 1976 by Avon (first published 1965)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Manny
One of the most brilliant pieces of translation I've ever come across. You can hardly believe that all these wonderful jokes and word-games weren't originally composed in English. I wish I knew some Polish, so that I could compare with the original.

The most impressive sequences, which have been widely quoted, come from the story where one of the inventors builds a machine that can write a poem to any specification, no matter how bizarre. "A poem about love, treachery, indomitable courage, on the
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Seth
Sep 27, 2007 Seth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
If you're only going to read one Lem in your life...
...seek medical help. There are several essential Lem books and stories.

And this is one of them. Both of them. Something like that. It's an essential Lem book of essential Lem stories.

The basic outline is simple: two robot inventors (they are robots and they invent robots... whether they invented themselves is indeed an open question) appear, one or the other or both, in some fashion, in a series of stories set in a universe of robots. The inve
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OD
Aug 03, 2013 OD rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not only did this book make me want to read everything that Lem has ever written, it also makes me want to buy everything Michael Kandel has ever translated.

One of the saddest things about becoming an adult is growing bored with most of the stories you loved as a child - the Jatakas, the Panchatantras, folk stories. Finding the Cyberiad is like rediscovering your childhood love of fables. This is a book I'm going to be coming back to many many times.
Stephen
3.5 stars. My first experience with Stanislaw Lem and it will certainly not be my last. The stories are very good (some are brilliant), but I believe they work better in small doses rather than one after the other. Nonetheless, a gifted writer.
Voss Foster
I first ran across The Cyberiad in desperation. It takes me next to no time to read books, so I quickly drained every last inch of our bookshelves by eighth grade, and the library had nothing.

My dear lord. Before I get into the writing itself, let's not forget the briliant translation, and this book would not be easy to translate, between alliterations, rhyming, and the sheerly brilliant nonsense (I use brilliant so much because one simply can't use that word enough when speaking of this book.),
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Jenny (Reading Envy)
I got to page 112, but honestly this is just not my thing. I loved Memoirs Found in a Bathtub, but somehow the circular storytelling employed in very short stories gets very repetitive. I don't find the humor funny or clever, it just feels like it is trying to hard. It smacks of Phantom Tollbooth or Hitchhiker's Guide, and these are just not my thing. Sorry, guess I'm going to lem* it. I was supposed to be on a podcast about it, but that's not going to happen!

I imagine that engineers really like
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Greg
I first came across Stanislaw Lem by way of an absolutely fantastic book called The Mind's I: Fantasies and Reflections on Self and Soul in which three of his short stories were featured. His stories touched on issues in philosophy, topics having to do with artificial intelligence, consciousness, physics, mathematics programming, and more. Upon reading these my thoughts were something along the lines of, "this is one of the most fabulous authors I've ever come across, how have I never heard of h ...more
Michael R.
Sep 15, 2011 Michael R. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Originally I was just thrilled to find a SF book by an author actually in Poland. But, after I read the book, I was amazed. Still one of the funniest books I have ever read. Two competing robots (Trurl and Klaupacius) who try to out-invent each other, create some of the most wild constructs that anyone could ever imagine.

One being the machine Trurl creates that can make anthing that starts with the letter 'N'. Things really get wild when Klaupacius tests the machine by asking it to create 'nothi
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Nate D
Apr 05, 2011 Nate D rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: gnostotron technicians
Recommended to Nate D by: turboservoserfs
Cybernetic fables, simultaneously very old and very new. At his best, Lem is playful and wise in the manner of certain Calvino. At his worst, he tales off into long strings of silly words and technobabble puns. As such, I had to take a few breaks, but ended up being well rewarded for my time: the later stories-within-stories-within-stories (a nested Arabian Nights, or rather a Sarragossa Manuscript) seem to really be making an attempt to interrogate the universe, and its observations are sad and ...more
Melanti
Oct 22, 2014 Melanti rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If I had to pick just one word to describe Lem's fiction, it would be "experimental." All the books by him that I've read so far have been so incredibly different from one another - and often different from anything else I've read as well!

This particular book is a book of short stories about a pair of robots who run around the universe constructing other robots. In many places, it really reminds me of folklore trickster tales, in other places The Arabian Nights Entertainments, and in still other
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Stephen Banks
Mar 06, 2013 Stephen Banks rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Short form SciFi at it's best. Stanislaw Lem departs from his occasionally dour disposition (see: Solaris) with a series of very funny but also deeply philosophical "journeys" of a pair of Cybernetic engineers (Trurl and Klapacius). Each journey is a short story that stands alone, yet the whole collection is a complete consistent work. Lem uses absurdist plots and situations to poke fun at politics, religion, romance, war and even science.

The translation into English is phenomenal, keeping an i
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Gabriella
Stories: A mix of good, boring, thought-provoking, and bad.
Main characters: Seldom comedic. A bit whiney. Emotionally uninvesting.
Writing: Okay at first, but very annoying by the end. I lost interest after the writing structure started to become more and more ridiculous and hard to read/understand. By trying to be creative, it basically seemed like he used a math or science term and added a couple letters to the end of it to make it sound latin. It felt very forced and unimaginative. A couple of
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Tamahome

Kind of cartoonish fables with robots and kingdoms. All stories feature the same two 'constructors'. There's probably some social or political satire here that I'm not getting. I'm pretty sure I've read one of these stories in high school. I like to imagine it as animated in my head.

I've read all but the 2 long ones at the end.

The author is obviously a genius, but depth of characterization you will not get. If you're especially knowledgeable about math terms, this could be a treat for you. Ther
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Sandy Parsons
Have you ever wanted to hug a book and kiss its cover, reserve a special place on your bookshelf so you can look forward to reading it again? This is a unique book. It's funny and smart philosophical science fiction, which isn't for everyone, but if you fall into that demographic, it's the archetype. I've had it on my 'to read' list for a long time, but bumped it up after listening to a podcast interview with David X. Cohen of Futurama. He didn't say explicitly it was an inspiration, but I notic ...more
Toma
Jan 17, 2011 Toma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi, humor
Read this at least 5 times. Probably the best book (at least in its genre) I've read. Extremely funny and witty. With all the made up words and rhyming poems etc. must have been a nightmare to translators (I read the Finnish translation). I only wish I knew Polish so that I could read this in the original language.
Nick
Jul 04, 2014 Nick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These names kick around while you get on with other bits of life: the names of authors you know you should probably have read by now. It's not a guilty thing, exactly - "Oh, Christ, I'm going to Hell because I haven't read enough Ray Bradbury!" - it's just an awareness that there is something out there that a lot of people think is awesome, and I haven't tried it. Mind you, I could say the same thing about both Ketamine and unicorn erotica, and indeed about unicorn erotica featuring Ketamine, an ...more
Spacewanderer
Oct 22, 2012 Spacewanderer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I want to start off by saying that I rarely enjoy reading short fiction. I find it hard to commit or give a damn and I just want to get it all over with...like most people would feel about a common household chore. So many are nothing more than whispers of plots involving under-developed, overly-melodramatic characters that will be left behind after 20 pages, so why bother. Others seem to serve as nothing more than an author's literary masturbation (trademarked, not to be used without written pe ...more
Ren the Unclean
Oct 30, 2009 Ren the Unclean rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
This book is pretty weird. It is basically a bunch of short stories where a couple of robots who can construct anything solve various problems by constructing things. The first couple were interesting, but I just got sick of them by the end.

This premise is good, which is why I read the book, but Lem doesn't really do much with it or explore very many interesting themes. Every story basically comes down to, literally, Deus Ex Machina. The first couple of times it is interesting, but by the end of
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Morgan
Oct 06, 2010 Morgan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have to give this book an award for Best Chapter Title:

"The Fourth Sally, or How Trurl Built a Femfatalatron to Save Prince Pantagoon from the Pangs of Love, and How Later He Resorted to a Cannonade of Babies."

While the chapter on dragons is by far my favorite sally, mostly for the beginning theoretical explanations of how dragons cannot exist, except by bizarre partial probability equations. Ingenious.

As for Sally 1A, isn't it a bit bizarre that a robot builds the ultimate poetry machine, and
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Charles Dee Mitchell
Trurl and Klapaucius are constructors. In the brilliant opening story, Trurl constructs a machine that can make anything beginning with the letter “n.” Klapaucius, impressed but always eager to put his friend’s machines to the test, asks it to create “nothing.” The crisis that ensues is typical of a Stanslaw Lem short story. The machine can barely be stopped before the entire world disappears.

Trurl and Klapaucius are themselves machines. This is made clear in another story when Klapaucius, to ma
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Jason Plein
Jan 03, 2012 Jason Plein rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There's a blurb on the back of the book comparing Lem to Borges, which is about right: there is a long section towards the end which is stories nested in stories nested in stories, one of which is a story about someone trapped in a labyrinth of dreams nested in dreams nested in dreams, and there's a story that is sort of a sillier, sci-fi version of Borges' story "The Immortals". What a comparison like that misses is just how silly and playful these stories are.
Emre Ergin
Jul 11, 2014 Emre Ergin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bir bilimkurgu dehasına Binbir Gece Masalları okutursanız ne olur? Böyle bir ürün çıkar. Sinbad'ın Yedi Yolculuğu gibi, burada da ilk bölümler birinci, ikinci,...,yedinci yolculuk olarak adlandırılmış. Girişlerdeki genelden özele anlatılar, gerçi her masalda var, ama burada kime özenildiği çok belirgin. Kral Genius'un hikâye anlatan robotları adlı masalda, Binbir Gece Masallarının dünya edebiyatına katkısı olan çerçeve tekniği, en ham haliyle kullanılmış. Benzerlik âşikâr.

Aden ve Solaris'te yaza
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Irene Domínguez
Es la primera obra que toco de este autor y me ha parecido una PUTA MARAVILLA.

Consta de un conjunto de historias tan cargadas de aderezo y floritura que me he sentido como leyendo en otro idioma, en uno del cual no conocía todas las palabras, ni tan siquiera la mayoría, sino solo las suficientes como para poder seguir la historia general pero sin entrar en detalles. Y ha sido una pasada, porque tales detalles son realmente irrelevantes para la historia en sí, pero perdería sin ellos todo rastro
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William Leight
Apr 02, 2015 William Leight rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was not what I had expected at all. I had thought of Lem as a very serious writer, but I don't think I have ever read a book with more nerdy jokes: there are so many I fear that readers lacking a background in mathematics and/or physics will be missing out. For instance, Klapaucius and Trurl's third sally begins with an extended and very funny riff on the idea of probabilistic dragons. Presumably, any reader who is more or less aware that in modern physics many things are not determini ...more
Giacomo Boccardo
Feb 13, 2011 Giacomo Boccardo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
L'unico altro libro di Lem che abbia letto è Solaris e posso dirvi tranquillamente che non sembrano frutto della stessa persona: Solaris è un romanzo profondo, complesso e pieno di interrogativi circa la natura dell'uomo per i quali l'autore non fornisce risposta alcuna. Diversamente, Cyberiade è un'antologia di racconti che narrano, principalmente, le incredibili avventure dei due inventori Trurl e Klapaucius, sottoforma di storie che rasentano, talora, lo stile fiabesco.

Il contenuto fantascien
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George Ramos
Thank goodness this wasn't the first book by Stanislaw Lem I read, I would have dropped him as an author immediately. This is a collection of vaguely humorous sci-fi stories that are heavy on science and math but somehow manage to be studies in absurdity. The author's intellect shines on every page, and the translation is AMAZING, but really, the stories are quite silly and are only loosely connected. You don't read this book looking for intricate plotting or character development, etc. Instead, ...more
Karl Hallbjörnsson
incredible work of art. brain candy.
Mike
The stories in The Cyberiad feature two inventors of machines, Trurl and Klapaucius, who are themselves machines, inhabiting a quasi-feudalistic world of space travel and cyber-knights and galactic rulers. The two inventors are a bit like Frog and Toad: friends, accomplices, fellow-travelers, and mildly jealous and competitive with each other. There is an amazing outpouring of linguistic genius here, with puns and neologisms and clever play of idea and concept, and I applaud the translator who h ...more
Andrew Warren
Sep 27, 2014 Andrew Warren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
pierre menard
For the love of me I just can't understand why this book is so highly regarded. The best you could say about these stories is that they are cute. Sometimes they are funny. Sometimes they try very hard to be funny. There's a cleverness to them at times, but that cleverness is the shallow kind: no great ideas here, little serious thought, just a few amusing puns and plot inversions.
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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
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“...it is easy not to believe in monsters, considerably more difficult to escape their dread and loathsome clutches.” 12 likes
“Come, let us hasten to a higher plane
Where dyads tread the fairy fields of Venn,
Their indices bedecked from one to n
Commingled in an endless Markov chain!

I'll grant thee random access to my heart,
Thou'lt tell me all the constants of thy love;
And so we two shall all love's lemmas prove,
And in our bound partition never part.

Cancel me not — for what then shall remain?
Abscissas some mantissas, modules, modes,
A root or two, a torus and a node:
The inverse of my verse, a null domain.

- Love and Tensor Algebra”
6 likes
More quotes…