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Publisher's Summary

Invincible is a classic science fiction thriller by the author of Solaris - for the first time translated directly from the original.

A starship from Earth is challenged by a mysterious hostile intelligence.

©2017 Tomasz Lem (P)2018 Tantor

What listeners say about The Invincible

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Aliens, Search & Rescue, and Much More!

“The Invincible” is a contemporary yet classic science fiction story written by the renown Polish author Stanislaw Lem. The book is very well translated into English from the original by Bill Johnston who is also credited with translating a few of Lem’s other works. The audiobook is wonderfully and flawlessly performed by Peter Berkrot. This is the first piece of Lem’s work I have listened too and I’m surprised it has taken me this long to find him. As stated on Audible, he is one of the most widely translated and best known non-English science fiction authors. I will say, after listening to this work, I will be looking for more from this author. The book really is a more classic story, written in 1967 but it has many twists which were not only new and interesting at the time of its writing, but also relevant and interesting today. The book is categorized as hard science fiction, yet I would call it more classic or old school science fiction. It is a bit slow to start but sticking with it will reward the listener. I would recommend this audiobook to nearly anyone who enjoys a good science fiction piece as you can listen and get lost in all its sci-fi goodness.

The story revolves around a ship that is dispatched to determine the outcome of another missing vessel called The Condor. The team lands on a fairly inhospitable planet and come face-to-face with a strange, complex, and rather hostile intelligence. This anonymous and hive mind like creature travels around in a cloud-like configuration and often comes in contact with various intelligent and non-intelligent objects along the way. When this creature feels threatened, it quickly envelopes its prey and destroys it with a swarm mentality. It makes me think of a swarm of wasps. The world our characters are dropped in seems unforgiving and yet very familiar at the same time. The book has all the elements one would expect from a solidly written and translated work of science fiction. There are spaceships, advanced technology, otherly creatures, and interesting firepower. Not only is the book centered around a search and rescue mission, it really turns into a book of survival.

I found the authors ability to create a well-defined set of characters and situations welcomed as many books in this genre today lack this detail. The book seemed to start slowly, but all of that builds up to the climax and resolution. I like that a true story arc could be seen in the piece as the book felt right as it unfolded. Sure, there is action, adventure, and aliens, but there is also emotion and the book really show the camaraderie between those in the military and the desire to not leave anyone behind; alive or dead. Not that this is a negative desire, however, we find out that not leaving when given the chance has its own consequences. The book also has an overarching feeling of mystery and suspense like that found in the Alien series. The listener will wonder what is behind that large boulder coming up, etc. The author provides a very descriptive world and characters that felt multi-dimensional and the enemy had depth to it. As these worlds were created, we quickly learn how unforgiving both the environment was and the enemy the team was battling.

Let me turn to the book’s narration. Peter Berkrot is no newcomer to narration or Audible. Today he has over three-hundred book performances currently available on the platform. I have listened to many of his other published narrations and always have enjoyed the quality and sound of his voice. The audio itself was professionally produced and clear of any noticeable artifacts such as page turns, swallows, etc. Mr. Berkrot’s voicing of all the various characters along with their accents was flawless. If you have not listened to any of Mr. Berkrot works, I would recommend you start with this excellent book.

For parents and younger readers. This book does not include any profanity that I recall. There were a few places that I thought it may have been used, but I was incorrect when I went back and listened. There are a few quite vivid and graphic scenes of violence, but apart from that, you get what one can expect in a classic piece of science fiction.

In summary, if you are looking for a classic and solid science fiction story that starts out slow but ramps up quite quickly, I can easily recommend this book. There are all the standard space marine story essentials, but the book also includes some very unique aspects as well. It was ahead of its time around intelligence and autonomy. I will have to listen to a few of the other books by this author to get a better idea of his works and style.

18 people found this helpful

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A masterpiece

Is the universe made for us? A great story about the limitation of our human understanding in face of a seemingly unknowable universe.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Visionary tale of exploration and survival

I have been reading and now listening to the works of Stanislaw Lem. Peter Berkrot does an amazing job bringing alive this tale of why the previous ship the Condor landed and was never heard from again. Stanislaw Lem was quite the visionary in this novel of exploration and non-human intelligence. Or is it?

2 people found this helpful

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Beautiful old school Sci-Fi

Feels like sim kind of atompunk, but I guess that's how he back then imagined the future! And that is one of the things that makes the book amazing:) Also, it's a very interesting idea of a world and it's well written and narrated.

1 person found this helpful

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One of the best books I've ever read

This book is an absolute page turner. Whoever did the translation, it was flawless. The writing is so well done. It is an extremely smart, incredibly imagined story. The ship, and its crew, the captain, the awe inspiring heavy machinery and weaponry, the planet itself, it was all top notch.

Think of all the common SciFi film tropes today: distress beacon, go land on alien planet, have to survive, etc. Yet they make stupid choices or the film is left unsatisfying. This book, which obviously precedes all those, takes that similar premise and does it so smart, and so satisfying, that it blows that cliché out of the water. 10/10.

1 person found this helpful

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Excellent hard SciFi

So glad I found this. As someone who grew up on Heileine, Asamov, Clarke, and Niven, I felt instantly at home with this story. I thought the translation was excellent and Berkrot’s performance was perfect. Looking forward to exploring more Lem works.

1 person found this helpful

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It's kinda boring.

In the beginning it was somewhat obvious and obnoxiously long and drawn out.

In the middle it was definitely boring and drawn out.

In the end it was so weird and boring and drawn out that it was just...wtf.

Took me six months to finish it with 40ish minutes left. Six months, for 40 F-ing minutes.

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  • Edgar Spongolts
  • 05-20-20

Classic Sci-fi at its best

This book is an intriguing mixture of philosophy, existentialism, past politics, sci-fi and human relationships. Loved all of it.