Tales of Pirx the Pilot
Book of the Month:
“Tales of Pirx the Pilot” by Stanislaw Lem
Hope those of you who stuck with last month’s pick enjoyed “Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits”. Beyond the crude tone and superhero/comic book vibe, I personally thought that Wong wove together an interesting world and a wild adventure. More than anything else what intrigued the group at this weekend’s meeting that Wong’s view of near-future digital culture and internet stardom is sadly within reach. It was a fun, tech-infused jaunt, that might have been edited by a 6th grader. 😋
We’ve decided to stick with this idea of humor in science fiction and we’re due for a throwback. Obviously Douglas Adams and Kurt Vonnegut come to mind (if you haven’t read “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” or “Sirens of Titan”, get on it), but we wanted to see who was out there earlier cracking space jokes. Stanislaw Lem had come up in conversation a few times and when we found his collection of short stories about Pirx published in the early 60s, it all clicked into place.
Lem, Polish author of novels like “Solaris”, is a well-known science fiction writer that incorporated philosophy and satire in his writing. He was also a trained physician so curious to see how he treats human physiology in space. In “Tales of Pirx the Pilate”, Lem introduces us to the every-man Pirx in a series of stories as he struggles through his training as a cadet and his career as a careless ship captain. This one should be fun and by all accounts did not lose anything in its translation to English when it was initially published in 1966.
You can find “Tales of Pirx the Pilot” most places and I’ve even heard a rumor that there’s a free pdf floating around online. Seems like Louis Iribarne is the best translator for it. Enjoy!