The Cyberiad

The Cyberiad

Stanislaw Lem

Language: English

Pages: 312

ISBN: 0156027593

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


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 Globe). Illustrations by Daniel Mr—z. Translated by Michael Kandel.

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tools away, took off his coveralls, wiped his face and hands. As he was leaving, he turned and asked, just so there would be no doubt about it: “And now what’s two and two?” “SEVEN!” replied the machine. Trurl uttered a terrible oath, but there was no help for it—again he had to poke around inside the machine, disconnecting, correcting, checking, resetting, and when he learned for the third time that two and two was seven, he collapsed in despair at the foot of the machine, and sat there until

atmosphere. “They’ve discovered atomic energy....And over there—you see that bit of glass? It’s the remains of the box, they’ve made it into some sort of temple....” “I don’t understand. It was only a model, after all. A process with a large number of parameters, a simulation, a mock-up for a monarch to practice on, with the necessary feedback, variables, multistats...” muttered Trurl, dumbfounded. “Yes. But you made, the unforgivable mistake of over-perfecting your replica. Not wanting to

second, that it’s the result of all the mistakes made by a certain Demiurgon, who set out to create the world without the faintest idea of how to go about it, third, that the world is actually an hallucination of some Superbrain gone berserk in a manner infinite but bounded, four, that it is an asinine thought materialized as a joke, five, that it is matter that thinks, but with an abysmally low IQ—and then I sat back and waited, expecting vehement attacks, heated debates, notoriety, laurels,

established their existence on purely deductive grounds, in a manner that was strictly logical, inevitable and theoretical. For if—so went my argument—the Universe contains civilizations at varying stages of development, the majority must be more or less average, with a few that have either fallen behind or managed to forge ahead. And whenever you have a statistical distribution, say, for example, of height in a group of individuals, most will be medium, but one and only one may be the highest,

badly, it had to hold them in place with its free hand—the other was needed to tighten the screws that kept coming loose. Just as it hobbled past the gate to Trurl’s residence, it blew four fuses at once and straightway began, spewing a foul cloud of burning insulators, to fall apart, right before the constructor’s eyes. Trurl, full of compassion, took a screwdriver and a roll of electric tape and hastened to offer what aid he could to the poor wayfarer, who swooned repeatedly with a great

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