Tales of Pirx the Pilot

Tales of Pirx the Pilot

Stanis?aw Lem, Louis Iribarne

Language: English

Pages: 106

ISBN: 0156881500

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


In Pilot Pirx, Lem has created an irresistibly likable character: an astronaut who gives the impression of still navigating by the seat of his pants-a bumbler but an inspired one. By investing Pirx with a range of human foibles, Lem offers a wonderful vision of the audacity, childlike curiosity, and intuition that can give humans the courage to confront outer space. Translated by Louis Iribarne. A Helen and Kurt Wolff Book

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which revealed the prominence to be one of exceptional magnitude—750,000 kilometers in length. To Pirx it had the look and shape of some antediluvian monster with flaming jaws. But no one besides Pirx was at all interested in zoological comparisons. As soon as the lights came back on, Ganshin, Pnin, Langner, and a third astronomer launched into a heated discussion, with eyes aglitter and ears deaf to anything else. When someone alluded to lunch, the group shifted back into the lounge, there to

rugged as the rest of the terrain—was marked with aluminum stakes, anchored in cement and capped with ruby-red balls; on both sides of this trail cutting up through the talus, one half bathed in light, the other half black as galactic night, loomed a wall surpassing in grandeur the giants of the Alps or the Himalaya. The diminished lunar gravity had allowed the rocky matter to assume nightmarish shapes, able to withstand the test of ages; forms so bizarre that the eye, no matter how accustomed

monitoring device, in the absence of any input, displayed the internal voltage oscillation as a “breathing,” pulsating butterfly, and when the radar screen projected a space-suit-like image, both men, first Savage and then Challiers, had been quick to accept these as reliable visual presentations, each believing the other to be in mortal danger. The same held true for Pirx and Langner. Such responses were only natural for men intimately acquainted with the details of Roget’s death, of that long

except during takeoff and landing; maximum safety conditions; all the modem conveniences; a 40-man crew, plus a staff of 260. Ceramite, steel, gold, palladium, chrome, nickel, iridium, plastic, Carrara marble, oak, mahogany, silver, crystal. Two swimming pools. Four movie theaters. Eighteen direct hookups with Earth—for the passengers alone! A concert hall. Six main decks, four promenade decks, automatic elevators, on-board booking on any ship in the fleet—a year in advance. Bars. Casinos. A

“A-t-t-e-n-t-i-o-n…” And again: “A-t-t-e-n-t-i-o-n…” Then the pipe chimed, “A-m-b-e-h-i-n-d-b-u-l-k-h-e-a-d.” By force of habit, he spliced the letters together, syllable by syllable. “I-c-e-e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e…” Ice? he wondered, caught completely off guard. What in…? Ice? What ice? “R-e-a-c-t-o-r-v-e-s-s-e-l-c-r-a-c-k-e-d,” the pipe resonated. He wrapped his hand around it. Who was signaling? And where was it coming from? He tried to figure out which way the pipe ran—from the bow or back

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