Fiasco

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“A stunningly inventive fantasy about cosmic travel” from the Kafka Prize–winning author of Solaris (The New York Times).

The Hermes explorer ship represents the epitome of Earth’s excellence: a peaceful mission sent forth to make first contact with an alien civilization, and to use the expansive space technology developed by humanity to seek new worlds, friendships, and alliances. But what its crew discovers on the planet Quinta is nothing like they had hoped. Locked in a seemingly endless cold war among themselves, the Quintans are uncommunicative and violent, refusing any discourse—except for the firing of deadly weapons.
 
The crew of the Hermes is determined to accomplish what they had set out to do. But the cost of learning the secrets hidden on the silent surface of Quinta may be grave.
 
Stark, startling, and insightful, Fiasco has been praised by Publishers Weekly as “one of Lem’s best novels.” It is classic, thought-provoking hard science fiction, as prescient today as when it was first written.
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About the author

Stanislaw Lem is the most widely translated and best-known science fiction author outside of the English language. Winner of the Kafka Prize, he is a contributor to many magazines, including the New Yorker, and the author of numerous books, including Solaris.
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Additional Information

Publisher
HMH
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Published on
Jul 18, 2012
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Pages
336
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ISBN
9780544080102
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Science Fiction / Alien Contact
Fiction / Science Fiction / Hard Science Fiction
Fiction / Science Fiction / Space Exploration
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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The Polish writer Stanislaw Lem is best known to English-speaking readers as the author of the 1961 science fiction novel Solaris, adapted into a meditative film by Andrei Tarkovsky in 1972 and remade in 2002 by Steven Soderbergh. Throughout his writings, comprising dozens of science fiction novels and short stories, Lem offered deeply philosophical and bitingly satirical reflections on the limitations of both science and humanity.

In Summa Technologiae—his major work of nonfiction, first published in 1964 and now available in English for the first time—Lem produced an engaging and caustically logical philosophical treatise about human and nonhuman life in its past, present, and future forms. After five decades Summa Technologiae has lost none of its intellectual or critical significance. Indeed, many of Lem’s conjectures about future technologies have now come true: from artificial intelligence, bionics, and nanotechnology to the dangers of information overload, the concept underlying Internet search engines, and the idea of virtual reality. More important for its continued relevance, however, is Lem’s rigorous investigation into the parallel development of biological and technical evolution and his conclusion that technology will outlive humanity.

Preceding Richard Dawkins’s understanding of evolution as a blind watchmaker by more than two decades, Lem posits evolution as opportunistic, shortsighted, extravagant, and illogical. Strikingly original and still timely, Summa Technologiae resonates with a wide range of contemporary debates about information and new media, the life sciences, and the emerging relationship between technology and humanity.

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