The Cyberiad by Stanisław Lem
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
While I was initially tempted to treat this collection of 1965 short SF stories with kid gloves because I was already a huge fan of Solaris, I didn't quite understand that this collection was already a heavyweight of humor, satire, and delight.
Where the hell have I been? I should have read this back when I was a kid! Alongside Hitchhiker's Guide! As I read this, I gave a constant chuckle-rumble, especially with the Seven Sallies of Trurl and Klapaucius. These two master-builder robots get along with their wits and near-infinite capability to make things. Anything. And they are tricksters. Very funny tricksters.
The one time that Trurl made a poetry machine, I was f***ing spoiled by some of the best math poetry I've ever read, and here's the kicker: This was translated from Polish. Hell, it was translated into several dozen languages. But the English translation retained ALL its flavor. :) It was honestly funny.
All of this was light, clever, and always to the point. These are traditional fables, almost like the old Chivalric tradition, but add the element of gods granting everyone's wishes to the downfall of the wisher, and you've got a very good idea about what's going on here. Oh, and almost every character is a robot. The wisecracking kind.
I admit I've read a number of things *like* this, but never to this one's high quality. This is a perfect cure for grimdark malaise. :)
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