They very much are.
The second set of stories? GOOD.
More Tales might be even better than the first book. Over his career, Pirx's bumbling determination becomes humble competence. And great stories.
The Cyberiad is even better.
Just bought Cyberiad for my nephew, great book.
The Futurological Congress is amazing, and Solaris is, well, Solaris. Lem is the bomb sad I've almost never seen his books in stores, seeing as how we was a major force in science fiction in the 20th Century.
Another very good "double set" of collections from Lem along similar lines is The Star Diaries and Memoirs of a Space Traveler, featuring Ijon Tichy, another intrepid and somewhat hapless astronaut. Very Hitchhiker's Guide in their flavor, very funny.
But ya really gotta check out the "Ijon Tichy: Raumpilot" TV show.
Made by German TV to look like it was shot in East Germany, with lots of puppets and strange costumes. So beautiful. Like old Doctor Who with better green screens and absurd plots. And his spaceship is a french press coffee maker and inside looks like a 1960s East German apartment.
And apparently the german is even eastern/polish inflected.
All very very awesome.
and on youtube!
(the girl is a hologram computer by the way....its a long story)
Great books, all, but I also loved the Invincible! One not to miss, in my humble opinion....wish they left the comments section open so new readers could weigh in! And yes, More Pirx is at least as good!
Holy shit, they're on youtube? They were shown quite late and I missed most of them.
Pirx is anything but clueless. He is a very capable pilot (in fact one of the best in his class, see e.g. "The Test" and the "The Conditioned Reflex") and masters several extremely critical situations ("The Inquest", "Ananke"). He does have a melancholic and later on cynical streak, though. Totally agreed on Lem´s genius in any case!
I haven't read those in so long that I'd almost forgotten them. Might be time for a re-read. I remember Memoirs found in a Bathtub as quite good as well.
Nice adaptation from the Star Diaries. Thanks for pointing it out.
What I've always been boggled by is how much wordplay there is in some of Lem's translated works. I have no idea how they manage to maintain that despite crossing between languages.
I've always wondered that too. How much of it is literal translation and how much is translating the spirit of it. Either way, great stuff.
Pirx is possibly the only person in this chunk of the Lem universe who isn't clueless.
I have read The Cyberiad in Polish (this is the only Lem's book I have read and it is my shame actually...); I found it really fun, but hard, to read due to word formation being used a lot by Lem. I need to read it in English to find out how the translator managed to deal with word formation and all - might be fun, when you are able to compare it to original.
About the cover arts: I like consistency in layout among US and British editions (though covers differ for the same books.) There does not seem to be any consistency in Polish (original) versions. I hope someday someone will gather all the cover arts for Lem's books in one album.
My library only has "More Tales of Pirx the Pilot"... how important is it to read the first book first?
Tales is fairly chronological....