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By Stanislaw Lem

Trurl and Klaupacius are robots who try and out-invent one another. They go back and forth to the some distance corners of the cosmos to tackle freelance problem-solving jobs, with dire effects for his or her employers. “The so much thoroughly profitable of his books... right here Lem comes closest to inventing a true universe” (Boston Globe). Illustrations by means of Daniel Mr—z. Translated by means of Michael Kandel.

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One-two, one-two! And tighten these nerves—he mustn’t faint too fast, just like the one the previous day! allow him flavor our vengeance to the fullest! One-two, one-two! howdy! Ha! Ho! therefore did the voice thunder and roar, and was once replied by means of the rumble of bellows and the clanging of hammers on anvils, while by surprise a sneeze resounded and an excellent shout of triumph burst forth from 4 throats, then a shuffling and suffering at the back of the wall, and that i heard a door open. Peering via a crack, I observed the strangers sneaking out into the corridor and—incredibly enough—counted 5 of them. all of them went downstairs and locked themselves within the cellar, remained there for a very long time, returning to their room purely that evening—once back four—and silent, as though they'd been to a funeral. I went again to my books, yet this company, it gave me no peace, so I resolved to unravel it. tomorrow even as, midday, the hammers all started up back, the bellows roared, and that terrifying voice cried out in a hoarse bass: —Hey now, sons of vengeance! quicker, my electrical center ies! Shoulders to the wheel! Throw within the protons, the iodine! Step energetic now, let’s have that flap-eared whigma-leeriac, that would-be hoodwinking wizard, misbegotten miscreant and incorrigible crank, enable me seize him by way of his unwashed beak and lead him, kicking, to a definite and lingering dying! paintings these bellows, I say! And back a sneeze rang out, and a stifled scream, and once more they left the room on tiptoe; as sooner than, I counted 5 once they went all the way down to the cellar, 4 after they lower back. Seeing then that i may research the secret in simple terms there, I armed myself with a laser pistol, and on the morning time slipped right down to the cellar, the place i discovered not anything yet charred and mangled bits of steel; overlaying myself with a clump of straw, I sat within the darkest nook and waited, till round midday I heard these now general shouts and hammering sounds, then suddenly the door flew open and in walked 4 Legarians, with a 5th sure hand and foot. This 5th wore a doublet of out of date minimize, vibrant purple and with a frill concerning the neck, and a feathered cap; he himself used to be fats of face and had a major nostril, whereas the mouth used to be twisted in worry and babbled anything the entire whereas. The Legarians barred the door and, at an indication from the eldest, untied their prisoner and commenced to overcome him savagely, yelling one by one: —Take that for the Prophecy of Happiness! And that for the Perfection of Being! and feature that for the mattress of Roses, and that for the Bowl of Cherries! And the Clover of life! And that’s for the Altruistic Communality! And take that for the Soarings of the Spirit! and so they cudgeled and buffeted him so, that he definitely might have given up the ghost had I now not lifted my weapon from the straw, asserting during this method my presence. once they had published their sufferer, I requested them why they have been abusing therefore anyone who was once neither an outlaw nor valueless vagabond, for, judging through the ruff and colour of his doublet, this used to be a few type of student.

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