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Opowieści o pilocie Pirxie

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4.10  ·  Rating details ·  4,642 ratings  ·  115 reviews
"W kosmosie, czegokolwiek tknąć, wszystko się rozpada, nie pasuje, skomplikowane maszyny trzeba naprawiać niemal młotkiem. Jak u nas".
(Siergiej Łukjanienko)

"W „Opowieściach o pilocie Pirxie” uspokajająco działać mogą na czytelnika nawet opisy zdezelowanych rakiet i ich nieodpowiedzialnej lub niesprawnej załogi. To tylko obraz normalności, z jaką wciąż mam
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Hardcover, Biblioteka Gazety Wyborczej, 384 pages
Published November 2008 by Agora SA (first published 1961)
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M. Cornelis van der Weele IV
Reading Lem makes me happy.
Mike
Sep 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
I remember reading a bunch of Stanislaw Lem quite a while ago. "Tales of Pirx The Pilot" was certainly one of them and it was with some fondness that I picked up another copy while looking for another specific book. I am happy to report that I was not disappointed. This book is a solid "4.0".

These stories of Pirx are an odd amalgamation of interesting science and young/juvenile action-adventure, but done in a very readable and convincing way. Without revealing too much, I found that
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Justyna
Aug 19, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a collection of stories, which are very fun to read. Prix always perseveres, although seemingly incapable of doing so. The story about Terminus stuck with me the most; possibly, because I found it to be the saddest of them all.
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Stanislaw Lem's science fiction tends to be dense and philosophical/political. This book was different, in that the adventures of Pirx, an average sap who stumbles into these situations, are based on hard science and yet retain that philosophic air. I enjoyed this book very much-- must read it again!
Victor Sonkin
This collection is thought-provoking and deep. At the same time it should be clear that this is not the kind of science fiction that predicts the future; it sets philosophical or ethical problems of the present against the rather abstract background of space travel (which is very matter-of-fact and mundane). The sociological reality of the world remains exactly as it was in the later half of the 20th century: USSR and the Western bloc, everyone smokes, virtually no women anywhere (except as pass ...more
Wanda
Jan 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't stop reading this book! Lem's sci-fi is funny and quirky, yet still wicked smart. A highly plausible imagining of future space travel, I was completely enthralled by the descriptions of alien landscapes and rocket ships alike. I must admit that I was far from compelled by Pirx upon his introduction, but grew to enjoy his straightforward nature and the development of his competence. My only complaint is that a couple of the stories tend towards the formulaic: Pirx encounters some stran ...more
John
Nov 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, sci-fi
Holy Spaceballs! Lem is the master.

First off these loosely connected stories, that span over the progression of Pirx's noteworthy career as a space pilot, are meditations on the smallness of the individual's contribution to the overall adventure of human history. Pirx is just a normal, regular guy. Except that within the emptiness of his every person's brain exists a banality of common sense, but unlike the simpleton that usually embodies such a mindset, Pirx is actually a thoughtful problem so
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Timothy
Pirx is not the best I have read by Lem, but, for me, these simple tales are very satisfying. The progression is chronological but with large gaps as Lem captures interesting episodes of Prix career from young cadet to full-fledged navigator. Over time, Pirx loses his air of the preening day-dreamer spinning fantasies of glory. While Prix grows into his profession and into adulthood, Lem never let's us forget that space flight is a serious business and that the cost of getting better at it is of ...more
Jerry
Jul 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tales of Pirx the Pilot has much of the humor of Lem’s other works without the complexity. Pirx is an Everyman, he’s not a hero like many of his literary colleagues though he gets the job done, nor a comedic bumbler like Bill the Galactic Hero, though he has his share of bumbles. He’s a working-class pilot, going to what appears to be pilot trade-school, learning his craft, and taking his suitcase into his first commercial ship more like a factory worker with his lunch pail than a modern jet pilot.
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Mel
I got a collection of three different Lem novels at the Oxfam. This was the first, the back had it listed as mysteries. It really wasn't. It was very technical 50s science fiction written in the late 70s. It was another case of In the Future There Are No Women! Which was a bit disappointing. Even in translation though the stories had a very clear and visual style. My problem was that I found Pirx terribly dull, stereotypical young pilot, and there were no real other characters in the book. I'm g ...more
Mike
Dec 02, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I didn't enjoy these stories as much as the Ijon Tichy series (still two books to read in that series, one of which is sadly still untranslated) they're still worth reading. I think I was a little put off by the dated-ness of the tech - so many people back then thought we'd rush into space on atomic-reactor-powered rockets, building advanced moonbases and such, but not have any way to communicate beyond a newspaper or radio, or have women involved in the stories at all (Heinlein was a nota ...more
Paul
Jan 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loses nothing in translation (is that good or bad?). Come to think of it I don't think Hemingway would lose anything in translation either. The message is definitely in the content and not the form. Worth it even if only for the story about the schizophrenic robot holding 'memories' of dead shipmates.
Janeks
Jun 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Easy readable. More about humans and characters then about technology or philosophy. Moon landscape descriptions were spectacular.
Mike Moore
Stanislaw Lem is a brilliant and innovative author who wrote some of the most thought-provoking science fiction of his time. He also wrote several fairly superficial short stories, some of which featured a bumbling everyman pilot named Pirx. This is a collection of those stories.

The consistent theme here is minor technological problems causing dramatic problems. An unattached panel, multiple computer glitches, bad hydraulics... Pirx is presented as a superior astronaut precisely beca
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William Leight
May 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Tales of Pirx the Pilot” takes a restrained approach to science fiction, one which could almost be described as “realism” except for the nuclear-powered rocket ships, moon bases, and robots. The book consists of five episodes from the life of Pirx, a rather ordinary guy who becomes a rather ordinary rocket pilot, with the first two stories happening while he is in training and the next three from his career. Pirx is not the best rocket pilot ever: he does not defend earth against alien invasion ...more
Nente
Oct 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone who likes their sci-fi thoughtful
I am inordinately fond of Stanislaw Lem, as his books were my introduction into the world of quality sci-fi. What he had for (absurdly weak) competition were stilted Soviet writers like Belyaev and Efremov, or adventure-heavy Jules Verne and his more modern followers. Lem was the first to show me that the main, and frequently the only, thing worth looking at in science fiction is not what alien worlds or new technologies await us - it's how we react to them, how we change in response, and what d ...more
Ian
Apr 14, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I decided I should read more Lem, especially as I’ve been finding the concerns of much male-authored US science fiction of last century somewhat tiresome; and there are these attractively-packaged Harcourt Brace Javonovitch paperbacks of some of his books available on Amazon… But they’ve already fucked up the “collection” as the only two I’ve bought so far – this one and Imaginary Magnitude – are sized slightly differently. Argh. Anyway, Pirx is a space pilot and sort of an Everyman, although he typicall ...more
Dariusz Nawojczyk
Oct 09, 2019 rated it it was ok
This is definitely the worst Lem book I have read so far (and I have read almost everything he wrote). Pirx is boring and shallow as a character and most of the stories are about nothing. This is so bad that for the first time I thought that Dick was right claiming Lem was in fact a group of different writers.
Bob
Aug 07, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Stanislaw Lem is a Polish science fiction writer who died in 2006. His writing is set in a futuristic, space travel setting but really explores the inner world of his characters. With Pirx, he explores in separate chapters that could more or less stand alone, phenomenon of lateral thinking and problem solving, sensory deprivation, the fatal mental errors we can make in stress situations, our urges to avoid anything associated with death and dying (Albatross), and the ways we (projected in this c ...more
Wayne
Jun 03, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an interesting book. It wasn't an adventure-filled SF book with spaceships zooming hither and yon, but was rather more thoughty than I was expecting. Several of the stories ended rather abruptly, without a real resolution.

The writing itself was very interesting. It had a feel to it that wasn't like anything I'm used to. Was it really significantly different than I'm used to from SF writers from the US? Would I have noticed a difference if I didn't know Lem wasn't from the US
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Kate
Jun 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The future that wasn't and won't be, but interesting because imagined out of Poland. Space flight with cathode ray bulbs, impossible, but other things are solid as imagined, such as what it would be like to live with another person, who you don't know, in isolation in a space ship or on the moon in a station. These are good stories, worth reading.

But when reading a book that has been translated from another language, do we enjoy the author's story or the interpretation of the author's words?
rob
Dec 27, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's a bunch of short stories about this character, the eponymous Pirx. They're good science fiction and pretty good for short stories. The only problem I had was that the american version is cut up into two books of five stories each, and the Polish version has them all in one. Whatever, right?

They seem to repeat themes quite often, but they're sometimes funny and usually strange and the last story, terminus, is good even by short story standards. My short story standards are very h
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John Defrog
Dec 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A collection of stories that follow the career of Pirx, a space pilot top-loaded with self-doubt who somehow manages to get through one misadventure after another, often involving faulty technology and bureaucracy. The tales start from his days as a cadet, and end with the flight of a rickety old ship bound for Mars with a mysterious past and a robot that knows the fate of the previous crew. Lem can be a mixed bag, but I rather enjoyed this.
Kurt
Jun 11, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I got this in an ebook sale at Amazon a while back. I've been a fan of Lem for a long time, and I thought I'd read this back in high school, but when I read it this time none of it seemed familiar. The story isn't as humorous as something like The Cyberiad or as inventive as The Futurological Congress. The stories were still interesting, but newcomers would probably want to look to other books by Lem first.
Mathew
May 26, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Compilation of Lem hard SF short stories. Groundbreaking in style for their time; a big contrast from US SF of the 50s and 60s. However, too often the plot fails to go anywhere and you just end up with a short sketch of an imagined future of space travel. Perhaps closest in style to Arthur C Clarke.
Thomas
Apr 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pirx was amazing to stumble upon, as his character was something entirely new to me: from the tarot, the Prince of Wands disguised as half-Star, half-Joker. For all those scientists, please barf here. Lem is somehow able to evoke the texture of curisoity and wonder all the while navigating through the stark, bleak, redundant void akin to peer entanglement and abandoned space stations.
James
Mar 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Running from charming blunders to eerie, Lem presents a collection of stories that sees Pirx from his days as a cadet to CO of his own ship. The beauty of this work is the presentation of situations where fantasy is quick to leap in as an "explanation" but when logic is applied, Lem often boils the situation down to the "simple" interplay of physics and psychology. Fast and fun read.
Philip Challinor
The workaday world of interstellar travel, seen via the progress of an unhandsome, unromantic, accident-prone cadet. The funniest story is "The Test", in which the unfortunate Pirx's maiden flight is complicated by the antics of a couple of flies; the best is "Terminus", in which the ghosts of an old disaster manifest themselves through a ship's robot.
bushn
Apr 17, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Goes a long way with a strange kind of fake technological mysticism, where readers are led to the magic waters three times only to be diverted to a somewhat lame scientific diagram, explaining everything but revealing nothing special.

Until Terminus! Where we finally get to play and imagine a soul through the science. Otherwise, we're in space and on the moon. Been there done that.
Anna
Jul 18, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stanislaw-lem
Stanisław Lem as science-fiction writer became widely known in the world. Tales of pilot Pirx is one of the most popular of his works and one of those without philosophy in it. Great!!!
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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 world.

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