The Invincible by Stanisław Lem
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is a very surprising classic SF tale that reads as if it had been informed by years of modern SF including not only a standard planetary expedition, but swarm-intelligence, nanobots -- with an almost Stargate feel -- while being utterly serious and thoughtful about all the kinds of alien life they might encounter.
The big question is pretty simple, however.
When was this written? According to the postscript: 1961-2.
No matter how you look at this, this book is WELL ahead of its time, which isn't all that surprising. Solaris is a classic by any standard and I was knocked off my chair by Cyberiad, not only for the ideas but the cleverness of the writing and the sheer wit in the pages.
This one comes closer to Solaris, with their thoughtful examination of what they were encountering, but it is more like a high-class SF adventure with all the action, the tech, and the huge special effects.
I'll be honest: I don't read many golden or silver age SFs that impress me with not only accurate science (within the bounds set) or with believable characters (not a John Carter lookalike). This one manages to be quite modern, even fifty years after it was written, and I AM impressed.
Well worth the read and fun. :)
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