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Tales of Pirx the Pilot
ISBN 0156881500 / 9780156881500 / 0-15-688150-0
Publisher Mariner Books
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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. He is a bumbler, but an inspired one.We follow Pirx through five adventures in a time when space travel has become routine. Yet things go wrong, mysteriously and suspiciously, and Pirx is the one to investigate strange accidents - either because his superiors trust his flair, or because they consider him expendable.Whimsical, spellbinding, infused with Lem's uncannily vivid "familiarity" with the day-to-day realities and regions of space travel, the tales of Pilot Pirx build up to a towering climax. We first meet Pirx in school, embarking on a training mission that is to drive home to him, with devastating impact, the inadequacy of textbook knowledge in an astronaut's arsenal. The final adventure finds Pirx deciphering a spaceship's sinister past with the help of a robot's retentive memory.By investing Pirx with the full range of human foibles, Lem offers here a wonderful vision of the audacity, childlike curiosity, and intuition that may give humans the courage to confront the vastness of outer space. [via]