Stanisław Lem - Forum

English => Forum in English => Wątek zaczęty przez: mrle01 w Kwiecień 25, 2006, 12:35:07 am

Tytuł: Ending of "Fiasco"
Wiadomość wysłana przez: mrle01 w Kwiecień 25, 2006, 12:35:07 am
Could someone please expain the ending of the "Fiasco" novel to me. Maybe because I wasn't reading it in my own language I didn't understand in the end what the aliens were like and what did the ending mean.

Thanks.
Tytuł: Re: Ending of "Fiasco"
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Terminus w Kwiecień 26, 2006, 03:34:18 am
Well, Tempe/Pirx (whoever) saw the Quinians and subsequently died due to a gravitonal blast, which destroyed the planet together with all its inhabitants. ::)

Does this explain anything?
And more seriously: what is it that You don't understand?
Tytuł: Re: Ending of "Fiasco"
Wiadomość wysłana przez: mrle01 w Kwiecień 26, 2006, 11:36:22 am
The thing I didn't understand was what were the Quinians like. They weren't humaniod in shape as I understand it.

It was described that Tempe was trying to open one those things on the ground (sorry for that but my english isn't best) and that then he realised he saw the Quinians. Were that things the Quinians? And what about the net and the antenas that were over that?
Tytuł: Re: Ending of "Fiasco"
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Terminus w Kwiecień 26, 2006, 04:05:25 pm
Well, I think I'll have to look it over. But what I remember is that Tempe saw some bulbs on the ground, which formed some bunch-like structures. I understand that those were the Quinta's inhabitants. Somehow.

As for the antennas, I've no idea where they came from. It's possible that the Quintians were somehow microscopic or something, and built things on a nano-level. Who knows.
Tytuł: Re: Ending of "Fiasco"
Wiadomość wysłana przez: mrle01 w Kwiecień 26, 2006, 10:44:19 pm
Thanks for that. I was thinking the same thing about the Quinians being microscopic, but I tought I was wrong because of their spaceships and that plasma flame on their moon.

Maybe we weren't meant to find out what the Quinians were like and the only man who saw them got killed along with the whole planet.
Tytuł: Re: Ending of "Fiasco"
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Terminus w Kwiecień 27, 2006, 03:01:55 am
That is very likely. Lem tends to sneak out of the necessity to describe things that would come out silly. And, to be hones, nearly every description of the alien race would be this or other way difficult/humoristic. He avoided it perfectly.

Tytuł: Re: Ending of "Fiasco"
Wiadomość wysłana przez: mrle01 w Kwiecień 27, 2006, 11:59:52 pm
Thanks. I would like to ask you about other novels Lem wrote. So far I've read Solaris and Fiasco and I'm about to read a book that is called "Ana from the stars" (thats translation in my country, in polish it's "Oblok Magellana"). That are only Lem's books I've found so far.

So what other books are like Solaris or Fiasco if i ever come across any of them?
Tytuł: Re: Ending of "Fiasco"
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Terminus w Kwiecień 28, 2006, 12:28:02 am
And where are You from? (I mean the country).
Tytuł: Re: Ending of "Fiasco"
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Terminus w Kwiecień 28, 2006, 12:36:32 am
Cytuj
T "Ana from the stars" (thats translation in my country, in polish it's "Oblok Magellana").


You say it's called Anna from the stars? - thas unbelieveable. Originally it is the title of one of the chapters of this book (which, as You said, is indeed titled Oblok Magellana).

Now, about the book. Well, if You've read Solaris and Fiasco, then You may find Oblok... a little different. Moreover, even dissapointing. That's because Oblok is an (very) early book. Lem wrote in in the middle fifties, being under large pressure from the Communist Party (which, as You no doubt know, ruled Poland at the moment). The book, therefore, is packed with communinist motives. But aside from that - it is quite good ! I personally like it very much. We've talked about it recently in the Polish section of this forum.
Oblok gives an interesting description of an interstellar voyage (8 years one way...). It describes psychological aspects of being 'trapped in the black, cold space' for years.  It also contains first Lem's attempts to describe contact with other civilisation.

So, mind all its failures, but definitely give it a try!

And, more importantly - search for other books. I can not believe that, for example, Star Diaries (Dzienniki Gwiazdowe)) weren't published in You country ::) ...
Tytuł: Re: Ending of "Fiasco"
Wiadomość wysłana przez: mrle01 w Kwiecień 28, 2006, 09:39:15 pm
Well I'm from Croatia ( of former Yugoslavia), and the book is called "Ana from the stars" ( or in croatian "Ana sa zvijezda"). It was published in 1965. Don't know why they changed it's name like that.

As for his other books, the thing is that I live in a small town and the library in my town hasn't got too much books. Only those 3 I mentioned earlier, and of these three only Solaris is published recently. I've even tried looking for his books in English language in the biggest bookstore in our main city but had no luck. Maybe I will have more luck looking in shops that sell old books.

Tytuł: Re: Ending of "Fiasco"
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Terminus w Kwiecień 29, 2006, 02:41:01 am
That's sweet ::) Greetings from Poland.

And in the bibliography placed on www.lem.pl, one can read that Return from the stars was also translated to Croatian (titled Povratak sa zvijezda).

So, hopefully You can find it too.

Best Regards.
Tytuł: Re: Ending of "Fiasco"
Wiadomość wysłana przez: peskanov w Maj 03, 2006, 04:17:00 pm
Hello there; in my opinion there are a lot of clues about the Quintians being fungus-like beings.

1st - They like rain; a lot of it. They built the ice ring that causes so much rain. In one of the -few- messages the Quintians send, they boast happily about that point, as a sign of prosperity.

2nd - They don't understand the concept of personal movility. The Quintians refuse to have face-to-face contact. Even at the end, being menaced, they allow the humans to take land and walk a bit in the cosmodrom, but don't speak about a possible face-to-face contact.
They built and left a present to the visitor, a puzzling one because they can not understand the human desire to have a face-to-face contact. Heck, they don't even have a face being fungus!

3rd - A tomographic scan of the whole planet shows massive groups of underground, calcic bulbs. The crew thinks -surely wrongly - that they are seeing the result of huge masacres.

4th - and last. Antennas, cords, and the final finding. What we see is that Quintians are static beings, that live buried.They communicate and feed using tubular extensions. Now you can understand why the reject (or don't understand) physical contact, and most of the happenings of the book can be seen under a different ligth. The space war - a war of communications - has sense for a static race as the Quintians, but it can be seen as a non-bloody war (maybe is even an sport or a religious ritual).

The result of that fantastic and huge misunderstanding is the death of the whole Quintian race at hand of the humans. And that's the real Fiasco!
Tytuł: Re: Ending of "Fiasco"
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Kagan w Maj 03, 2006, 05:52:50 pm
Cytuj
That is very likely. Lem tends to sneak out of the necessity to describe things that would come out silly. And, to be hones, nearly every description of the alien race would be this or other way difficult/humoristic. He avoided it perfectly.

It was not first time Lem avoided describing the aliens. Maybe because in his first SF novel "Czlowiek z Marsa" ("Man of Mars") his portrait of a Martian was very naive (something like Dalek of DR WHO, but using a rather wooden language and too much technical details, which are now obsolete and rather ridiculous). In "Oblok Magellana" ("Magelannic Cloud") and "Astronauci" ("The Astronauts") he avoided descibing the aliens (first novel ends just before the contact, second describes Venus where Venusian killed themselves). In my humble opinion his best portrait of the aliens was in "Eden" (in "Solaris" it was Ocean and its, sometimes human-like "products", so it is a rather separate issue). As to "Fiasco" - ending is rather unsatisfactory,  as it is suggested that the Quintians were immobile, but how could they create material civilisations so closely resembling the human civilisation? Otherwise "Fiasco" is excellent...
Tytuł: Re: Ending of "Fiasco"
Wiadomość wysłana przez: peskanov w Maj 03, 2006, 06:21:28 pm
The answer of that question is also suggested on the book. Microorganism act as the "arms" of the Quintians.
I think the idea is based a bit on our fungus, which rely a lot on some microorganism to live.

I think Lem is suggesting here a possible evolution of fungus/bacteria symbiosys.

Btw, I don't see that close relationship between human and Quintian societies you mention!?  ???
Only technology is shown as similar, and this is not so strange. After all, the physical world is the same for all of us.
Tytuł: Re: Ending of "Fiasco"
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Kagan w Maj 03, 2006, 07:03:15 pm
I think that you try to be kind to Lem and to stretch the truth a little bit too far. Microrganisms are rather unable to create such things like wheel on the axis and even metal structures. Thus civilisation created by microorganisms would be very different to ours. I do think that we will be able to communicate with them by radio as Lem suggested... Physical word may be the same, but as it is seen very differentlynot only by insects, and even dogs and cats than by the humans, so I do not see any possibility of contact with such a strange civilisation, even as limited as in FIASCO. But I can be totally wrong!
Cheers! :)
Kagan

Cytuj
The answer of that question is also suggested on the book. Microorganism act as the "arms" of the Quintians.
I think the idea is based a bit on our fungus, which rely a lot on some microorganism to live.
I think Lem is suggesting here a possible evolution of fungus/bacteria symbiosys.
Btw, I don't see that close relationship between human and Quintian societies you mention!?  ???
Only technology is shown as similar, and this is not so strange. After all, the physical world is the same for all of us.

Tytuł: Re: Ending of "Fiasco"
Wiadomość wysłana przez: peskanov w Maj 03, 2006, 07:38:10 pm
I was not talking about fungus as microorganisms, I was talking about the big, complex ones. I think Lem take these as theorical base for the Quintians.
And microorganism would be produced by the Quintians to act as his tools/agents.
That's my percection about the clues Lem leaves in the book.

Anyway, I think you understimate Lem's knowledge about biology; you will be surprised if you investigate about that question :) And remenber that we are talking about E.T. life; Fiasco is a fantasy wich uses some familiar concepts from our world, but is not trying to derive a branch of the life form we already know.
Tytuł: Re: Ending of "Fiasco"
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Kagan w Maj 03, 2006, 08:04:12 pm
1. How can you imagine intelligent fungi? How could they change their physical environment? How can they made wheel and axle, extract metals etc.? I'm afraid, its does not fit together and does nor make any sense... Sorry!
2. I would not overestimate Lem's scientific knowledge. Even in biology. Remeber that he has never even worked as a doctor (medical practitioner, physician) as he did not want to return the benefits of free medical education to Polish people, not to mention as a scientist. The closest post was a junior library assistant of an obscure Polish philosopher, one dr Choynowski, that's all. Lem was a very brilliant person, but in science he was an amateur. He was not even like A.C. Clarke (academic degree in science), not to mention I. Asimov (PhD in biochemistry, if my memory tells me the truth) or Sir Fred Hoyle (professor of astrophysics). So please do not stretch the truth. Lem was a great SF writer, but definitely not a scientist...
3. Fiasco is, in my understanding, NOT a fantasy, but HARD SF...
Kind Regards :)
Kagan

Cytuj
I was not talking about fungus as microorganisms, I was talking about the big, complex ones. I think Lem take these as theorical base for the Quintians.
And microorganism would be produced by the Quintians to act as his tools/agents.
That's my percection about the clues Lem leaves in the book.

Anyway, I think you understimate Lem's knowledge about biology; you will be surprised if you investigate about that question :) And remenber that we are talking about E.T. life; Fiasco is a fantasy wich uses some familiar concepts from our world, but is not trying to derive a branch of the life form we already know.

Tytuł: Re: Ending of "Fiasco"
Wiadomość wysłana przez: tomsak w Maj 04, 2006, 05:35:46 pm
Hi there - I am also from Croatia:-) I finished Fiasco two weeks ago, and as far I understood, Quintanians were those round things on ground, those hills, bulbs.

In used book shops I collected all Croatian and Serbian (Serbo-Croatian) translations of Lem, for very cheap prices. Except Fiasco, in Serbian you can find easily Eden, The Invincible (Nepobedivi), His Master's Voice (Glas gospodara), and Summa technologiae.

In Croatian, we have Solaris, and those ancient translations of Magellan's Cloud ("Ana from the stars") and Return from the stars.

Of most rarest items, I just found two cyrillic editions of Invasion from Aldebaran, and "Stories of Iyon Tyche", published in Belgrade in 1960s.

Full list of translation available in Croatia was posted here (including all Lem's stories in magazine "Sirius"):
http://nosf.net/phpbb2/viewtopic.php?p=18635#18635
Tytuł: Re: Ending of "Fiasco"
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Kagan w Maj 04, 2006, 08:44:25 pm
tomsak: Hi there - I am also from Croatia:-) I finished Fiasco two weeks ago, and as far I understood, Quintanians were those round things on ground, those hills, bulbs.
K: I'm from Poland.

T: In used book shops I collected all Croatian and Serbian (Serbo-Croatian) translations of Lem, for very cheap prices. Except Fiasco, in Serbian you can find easily Eden, The Invincible (Nepobedivi), His Master's Voice (Glas gospodara), and Summa technologiae.

K: Does "Darko Suvin" means something for you?

T: In Croatian, we have Solaris, and those ancient translations of Magellan's Cloud ("Ana from the stars") and Return from the stars.
K: It is rather easy to translate to Croatian from Polish. Almost as easy as to translate from Serbian or Bosnian to Croatian... ;)

T: Of most rarest items, I just found two cyrillic editions of Invasion from Aldebaran, and "Stories of Iyon Tyche", published in Belgrade in 1960s.
Full list of translation available in Croatia was posted here (including all Lem's stories in magazine "Sirius"):
http://nosf.net/phpbb2/viewtopic.php?p=18635#18635

K: Thanks! :)
Tytuł: Re: Ending of "Fiasco"
Wiadomość wysłana przez: mrle01 w Maj 04, 2006, 11:35:14 pm
I've finished reading "Magellan's Clouds" and I liked it.

To tomsak:
Where did you find those old books, in which book stores? I don't live in Zagreb, so some directions would be nice. And thanks for that link.

I would ask you in croatian but this way everybody can understand.
Tytuł: Re: Ending of "Fiasco"
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Terminus w Maj 05, 2006, 02:28:33 am
Well man, go on and use croatian! This language hasn't been used here yet !
Tytuł: Re: Ending of "Fiasco"
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Ronald_Zajac w Lipiec 07, 2006, 05:32:25 pm
Greetings,

I have posted this message on another "Fiasco" line here that has not been active for more than a year. I repeat it here hoping to find a reply.

I have three questions about the book.

1) Given how Lem, both in Fiasco and especially in Solaris, expounds repeatedly on the difficulty, if not the impossibility, of contact between two biologically different intelligent species, I was more than a little surprised to discover that suddenly, in the late chapters of Fiasco, the Quintans are able to send messages to the Hermes that can translate into lines of computerized text.
 
I thought at first this was Deus translating the Quintans' equivalent of the Hermes' "Cartoon," but this seems implausible. How do you explain this sudden unexplained breakthrough in communication?
 
2) Tempe's death at the end clearly mirrors his misadventure in Birnam Wood: he was excessively adventurous and wandered a little too far. However:
 
a) Could not his spacesuit have been equipped with some sort of device allowing for emergency communication outside the vehicle?
 
b) Would not the Quintans have fired back a message at the Hermes warning them that their emissary had literally "crossed the line" and they are no longer responsible for his fate?
 
Minor quibbles, perhaps, in an otherwise superb novel.
 
As for the Hermes wiping out all of Qunita, I may have misread the book, but I thought Steergard had rejected that idea and threatened instead only to take out the spaceport if Tempe did not respond.


Cheers,
Ronald Zajac,
Canada

P.S.: (to the above query re Croatia) Darko Suvin was my professor, more than a dozen years ago.
Tytuł: Re: Ending of "Fiasco"
Wiadomość wysłana przez: maziek w Lipiec 07, 2006, 05:48:19 pm
hi, last time i've read fiasko a year ago or so, maybe my memory is not correct enough, but:

I think, that quintans were competly different and contact was not able for them. I think that contact was driven by some kind computers, machines, tools made by quintans to protect their beings. So I think Hermes was talking not to quinta but to artificial "control tower" which was flex enough to debug alien message. maybe there was no quintans at all...
Tytuł: Re: Ending of "Fiasco"
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Ronald_Zajac w Lipiec 07, 2006, 07:37:56 pm
Dear Maziek,

Very interesting. A counterpart to Deus, perhaps. But somewhere in the book Lem dismisses the idea of intelligent machines continuing to do their masters' bidding long after they were gone (that was what I was expecting about halfway into the book), so if it is a computer talking back to Hermes, there would still have to be Quintans somewhere giving it orders.

By the way, I am not convinced the ending implies the complete destruction of Quinta. That is one clear possibility, of course, but judging by the remorse felt by the most hawkish of the hawks, Harrach, aftter the breaking of the ice ring, perhaps it is more likely that the Hermes simply vapourized the spaceport.

After that, two possibilities exist: yet another futile attempt at contact, or the crew turns to Arago's view of things as retreats in exasperation.

Cheers,
Ron Zajac
Tytuł: Re: Ending of "Fiasco"
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Ronald_Zajac w Lipiec 07, 2006, 08:01:14 pm
An addendum on the subject of the Quintans as static beings:

I am intrigued by this possibility, although, if Peskanov is correct that they do not understand the concept of personal mobility, how does that explain the very mobile satellites orbiting the planet, as well as the journey to the moon to build that enigmatic plasma flame.

The concept of this orbital war as a ritual or sport is intriguing to say the least. However, the hostility these machines display toward the Hermes and the fact the Quintans sabotage the cavitation of the moon to make it rain fragments on the planet (in Steergard's opinion, it's for some perverse strategic reason) argue for the war hypothesis.

If the latter is the case, why war? We mobile bipeds have fought wars, essentially, for one fundamental purpose, real or imagined: to steal someone else's resources or to prevent someone else from stealing ours. How could this idea make sense to a race of beings rooted to the ground? One could imagine battles between fungi on the same landmass, fighting for limited water, nutrients, etc. But how could this extend over two continents if these beings are not mobile?

Pardon my verbosity, but with Lem the fascinating questions never end!

Cheers,
Ron Zajac
Tytuł: Re: Ending of "Fiasco"
Wiadomość wysłana przez: maziek w Lipiec 07, 2006, 10:30:34 pm
Well, many questions, many possibilities. To be true I don't like fiasko. I can' stand Pirx is dead. I can' believe, that Hermes (she's crue) was able to make disaster just to "contact". It's crazy - like I come to Your place, ask for a talk, and refused draw a .45 Magnum and kill Your wife - just to make You talk with me.

I think Lem tells us, that there could be an intelligent being, which is - at our point of view - completly unable to contact. Ican't understand this - but maybe that's it - you can't understand.

Coming back to our discussion: what if we people make a starwars system, feed by sun and completly independent. What if we people go out (a virus, a bomb, anything). What if starwars system (intelligent someway) is still on orbit, but here on earth there is no people - just spiders...

There was a story of Lem, where a mad scientist "trained" bacteria to send a message - maybe intelligent starwars system, attempting to do everything to save somebody (nobody) tried to talk to Hermes... If this was the only way to avoid cataclysm.
Tytuł: Re: Ending of "Fiasco"
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Zlatan w Lipiec 08, 2006, 12:43:18 pm
Cytuj
How can you imagine intelligent fungi? How could they change their physical environment? How can they made wheel and axle, extract metals etc.?
Cytuj


The first organisms on this planet were single cells. By comparison fungi are much more complicated.However fish finns, bird wings and our own arms and legs are built up by cells which do not differ so much from the ones that lived four billions years ago. And the cells our organisms are built of, do know as little as their ancestors about movement, wheels, axles or space rockets and computers. And nevertheless they do it all!

Lem's "Summa Technologiae" deals with this topic, but he takes it up in many other of his books like Golem XIV or the short story about "talking" bacterias for just to name two. (By the way, Maziek, do you rimember the title of the last one? I would like to read it again, but cannot find it).

I agree with you Kagan, that Lem was not a scientist. I would rather call him a philosopher of science.
By the way, I am very happy that he repaid his educational debt to the society rather by writing "Summa Technologiae" than serving as a military physician.
Tytuł: Re: Ending of "Fiasco"
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Terminus w Lipiec 11, 2006, 03:13:52 pm
 Having that in mind, I must see things like "Mortal Engines" as by-products, nevertheless they provide one of the best entertainments I've ever experienced... ::)
Tytuł: Re: Ending of "Fiasco"
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Zlatan w Lipiec 11, 2006, 08:35:50 pm
Sorry Terminus, I am not that erudite as you believe, what are mortal engines? (Sounds like a name of heavy metal band...)  ;)
Tytuł: Re: Ending of "Fiasco"
Wiadomość wysłana przez: NIKA w Lipiec 12, 2006, 10:45:04 am
 "Mortal Engines"("Bajki robotow") -  cycle of  grotesque hymorous tales about robots.
Tytuł: Re: Ending of "Fiasco"
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Zlatan w Lipiec 12, 2006, 07:25:31 pm
Thanks NIKA, the only book of Lem I have read in English was "The Cyberiad" genially (in my opinion) translated by Michael Kandel.

Cytuj
Having that in mind, I must see things like "Mortal Engines" as by-products, nevertheless they provide one of the best entertainments I've ever experienced...

LOL. I do not see them as by-products. I know you do neither.
Tytuł: Re: Ending of "Fiasco"
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Zlatan w Lipiec 12, 2006, 07:38:53 pm
Just to be specific - not byproducts of Lem's litterary production. I think "Mortal Engines" are as much mainstream as "Summa Technologiae".

Byproduct of the evolution of life on our planet? I do not know... may be?
Tytuł: Re: Ending of "Fiasco"
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Terminus w Lipiec 12, 2006, 10:48:57 pm
 Well, as you no doubt know, life itself is considered by many to be a by-product of some more general processes ::)

Of course I love Mortal Engines, I was just toying ::)
Tytuł: Re: Ending of "Fiasco"
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Zlatan w Lipiec 17, 2006, 09:01:58 pm
The closing words of "Fiasko" are (in the polish language edition and in my awkward translation): "...he realized that he was seeing Quintans".
This states clearly that there were some Quintans. And we know from previous descriptions that they were not machines (unless they were some kind of biological machines designed and construed by the real Quintans but undistinguishable from "natural" living beings).
But while Quintans could well be - and most probably were those spider-like webs there is after mine opinion no good reason to call them "spiders" or "fungi". Remember what Tempe (vel Pirx vel Parvis vel Parsifal) just before starting on his lonely quest is told by Nakamura?
Igen in my translation: "I do recomend humility. Not caution, not even trusting. I recomend humility which means readiness to accept that everything, literally everything that the pilot will see is quite different from what it will look like."
So neither spiders nor fungi - something we simply do not know.

Now something else:
Quote:
I can't believe, that Hermes (she's cruel) was able to make disaster just to "contact". It's crazy - like I come to Your place, ask for a talk, and refused draw a .45 Magnum and kill Your wife - just to make You talk with me.  


Well I can. Just think of still young, strong, virile men who has not been with a woman in many, many years.
Isn't it thinkable they could become agressive and start to behave just like in your example? (Especially toward somebody's wife).

More seriously - I think this cruel and irrational behaviour of the "Earthians" is exactly the main point of "Fiasko".
Think just of all those historical conflicts on our planet where both antagonists were full of good will (or believed so) and nevertheless ended in bloodbathes.
By the way, even on individual level - how do we react or what kind of feeling does it arouse in us when we meet with total contact refusal by others?
Tytuł: Re: Ending of "Fiasco"
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Terminus w Lipiec 18, 2006, 12:20:17 am
 Nevertheless, it still seems a little short-sighted to blow up entire planet just because somebody didn't want to talk to us. I daresay even more: it's madly irresponsible, not to mention cruel. I don't recall Quintians killing people or destroying their homeworld (correct me if I'm wrong).

So, even if Earth ship's crew had consulted our home planet's authorities, even if they had the best intentions, it was unacceptable to end humanity's first foreign encounter in such a killing spree.
Tytuł: Re: Ending of "Fiasco"
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Zlatan w Lipiec 18, 2006, 11:00:25 am
Unacceptable? Yes, of course! But was it really unthinkable?
At least it looks like Lem didn't believe humans are too good to behave like that.


Tytuł: Re: Ending of "Fiasco"
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Terminus w Lipiec 18, 2006, 06:14:05 pm
 Sure, obviously that's what the book's title is all about... Sadly.
Tytuł: Re: Ending of "Fiasco"
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Ronald_Zajac w Lipiec 20, 2006, 05:42:37 pm
In the English translation, the implication is that those "naked, defenseless warts" Tempe sees on the hillside are the Quintans. After all, if the warts were not living beings, why would Lem describe them as "defenseless"?

The fascinating question arising from this, picked up earlier in this discussion, is whether those "warts" are mobile or stationary beings, and how beings seemingly without limbs could develop such elaborate technology.

As for the destruction of Qunita, I do not take that to be a given. Earlier on in the book, Steergard is hesitant to exercise that option. And just before Tempe's expedition, Steergard tells the Quintans he reserves the right to take out the spaceport area, as well as other unspecified action. That could therefore mean just a local strike.

This seems to me more logical and in keeping with the story. Could you imagine the Hermes returning to the Eurydice with Steergard informing Ter Horab: "Communication was impossible, so we destroyed the planet."

Incidentally, Zlatan, does the Polish edition offer any insight as to how the Quintans are suddenly able to communicate with the Hermes in a way that is translatable into lines of text?
Tytuł: Re: Ending of "Fiasco"
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Zlatan w Lipiec 23, 2006, 12:49:12 pm
***********************************************
does the Polish edition offer any insight as to how the Quintans are suddenly able to communicate with the Hermes in a way that is translatable into lines of text?
***********************************************

No, it doesn't! It's exactly what has stunned me too.
Tytuł: Re: Ending of "Fiasco"
Wiadomość wysłana przez: tomsak w Sierpień 02, 2007, 04:20:14 pm
As it seems that I cannot start new topic, and Darko Suvin was mentioned here, here's the link to Suvin's major IN MEMORIAM to Lem, published in Studi slavistici (Italy, November 2006), and also in Croatian.

http://www3.unifi.it/fupriv/upload/sub/ss2006/22_Cronache.pdf

Suvin's essay (it's in English) starts on page 21.
Tytuł: Re: Ending of "Fiasco"
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Terminus w Sierpień 03, 2007, 01:04:10 pm
Why shouldn't you be able to fire a new topic?
Strange, I say.

The machinery of this forum is such a strange contraption...
Tytuł: Re: Ending of "Fiasco"
Wiadomość wysłana przez: wetal w Sierpień 17, 2007, 01:39:45 pm
After Doznanie I didn`t start reading Fiasco.Is it worth reading?
Tytuł: Re: Ending of "Fiasco"
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Q w Sierpień 21, 2007, 09:32:46 am
Cytuj
After Doznanie I didn`t start reading Fiasco.Is it worth reading?

Yes. It is one of the best Lem's novels.
Tytuł: Re: Ending of "Fiasco"
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Silverado w Wrzesień 18, 2007, 08:32:42 am
from wikipedia:

"Understanding the outcome

It is not possible to understand the conclusion of Lem's Fiasco without prior knowledge of Fred Hoyle's work. The dscovery scenario described at the very end of the novel is exact realization of the same solution/decision which concludes Hoyle-Elliot's "Andromeda Breakthrough", another acclaimed sci-fi novel. (Info from Lem's circle.)

The original, intelligent, mobile biological inhabitants of Quinta consciously transformed themselves in a project, AFTER they developed a technical civilization with a high level of automation and their global politics degraded into an unsolvable, violent global conflict. They became a battery of statically existing, more or less vegetative systems, which are highly resistant to destruction and change - as well as immune to the instincts, which cause all biological civilizations to develop conflicts. The automated industry they had created keeps running and thus, the robotized conflict continues above their heads, while they are vegetating under."

[/b]
.............

If you remember, in the video message sent to the Hermes, there's a scene in which a crowd of *mobile* Quintans enter some kind of vehicle or machine, which then drops beneath a mercury-like field, into the earth, presumably. This is probably the project referred to here..

Seems pretty satisfactory.

so, maybe their civilization is heavily automated with the Quintans themselves involved in a collective meditative huddle with few external stimuli... hence the early attacks are from the automated war-sphere and the Hermes' efforts at communication fall on deaf ears... (if this isn't the case, then the Quintans are either paranoid or insane or otherwise incomprehensible, attacking a more advanced race which looks peaceful is pretty irrational behaviour)

but allow me to speculate -

at what point do the Quintans themselves become aware of the Hermes and the fact that their warsphere has been trying to destroy it? Is there reason to believe that the Quintans EVER become aware of the Hermes? Perhaps the Quintans are truly and completely closed off from external stimuli (but connected amongst themselves), and the Hermes only ever communicates with the automated Quintan technosphere (a notion rejected by DEUS, yes, but DEUS is shown to be fallible)

The auto-technosphere would want to avoid contact at all costs (having no interest in alien races, and its prime directive the protection of the defenseless Quintans), and would try to destroy or at least discourage the Hermes from pursuing contact.

This could explain why the "Quintans" are hostile even after they begin negotiations with the Hermes. The auto-technosphere could reason that by resisting proper contact and suffering minor damage from Herme's reprisals, the Hermes would become fed up and leave... and secret of the Quintans would remain a secret..

The warsphere could even be a defensive system against ETs, rather than the result of a space arms race (in which case the Quintans transformed themselves for some other purpose)..

extremely speculative..  but there are so many variables. Why the hell didn't DEUS figure this out?
Tytuł: Re: Ending of "Fiasco"
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Silverado w Wrzesień 18, 2007, 09:01:18 am
The story of the termite mounds in chapter 3 seems to match the idea of a closed system of meditating Quintans cared for by an automated technosphere:

The character in the story fights his way through a defensive barrier of soldier termites.. in the central mound he finds a group of special termites which are gathered around a sphere made of some unknown material. They are motionless, extremely old and make no attempt to defend themselves... they all die when the sphere is removed.

Could this symbolize the activity of the Quintans? Could the sphere symbolize the object of the Quintans' meditation? Some kind of thought experiment? Prayer? Astral projection?!@? They seem to have abandoned their physical bodies to pursue more fully something profoundly non-physical..

Lem must have some purpose in relating this story to the reader..
Tytuł: Re: Ending of "Fiasco"
Wiadomość wysłana przez: dom w Marzec 13, 2008, 11:38:26 pm
Hello,

[justify]I have just finishing reading Fiasco, I find this novel very interesting (although a bit too technical by moments) in which we find some of Lem's favourite subjects : the difficulty, and even the impossibility to communicate with foreign intelligences. The particularly aggressive behaviour of the earthmen effectively surprised me. Maziek, I agree with your analysis.[/justify]

Cytuj
I can' believe, that Hermes (she's crue) was able to make disaster just to "contact". It's crazy - like I come to Your place, ask for a talk, and refused draw a .45 Magnum and kill Your wife - just to make You talk with me.

[justify]It is really exaggerated, the fact that the Quintans are in war for years and refuse contact do not give to the earthmen the right to act as they do. Also, that the crew of Hermes destroys the cosmodrome (or the entire planet) without trying to know what really happened to Tempe is not very realistic. The story is situated in several centuries, in a time when the humans developed a very advanced technology, we can reasonably think that their mentality evolved too. I think that to organize such an expedition, the humans necessarily have to abandon their primary and aggressive instincts, to have rise them self to a more rational level of thought. Consequently, the fact that the crew of Hermes acts with such a violence does not seem to me coherent with that.[/justify]

[justify]As regards Quintans, I was believing that the warts which sees Temple could be sorts of hives, what would let think that they are insects or some things like that. The net which under the cosmodrome could have been weaved by them. However, the idea of creatures having abandoned their mobility to lock itself into a quasi-vegetative state assisted by a complex structure of high technology is very interesting and effectively very logical.[/justify]

Cytuj
The story of the termite mounds in chapter 3 seems to match the idea of a closed system of meditating Quintans cared for by an automated technosphere:
 
The character in the story fights his way through a defensive barrier of soldier termites... in the central mound he finds a group of special termites which are gathered around a sphere made of some unknown material. They are motionless, extremely old and make no attempt to defend themselves... they all die when the sphere is removed.
 
Could this symbolize the activity of the Quintans? Could the sphere symbolize the object of the Quintans' meditation? Some kind of thought experiment? Prayer? Astral projection?! They seem to have abandoned their physical bodies to pursue more fully something profoundly non-physical..
 
Lem must have some purpose in relating this story to the reader...

Good analysis, Silverado.

[justify]Quintans would not be then more than brains, connected altogether and living in a sort of "virtual reality", without worrying about what takes place outside, leaving their machines to take care of relations with possible visitors. Under these conditions, it's not surprising that the mission of Hermes ends in a fiasco.[/justify]
Tytuł: Re: Ending of "Fiasco"
Wiadomość wysłana przez: verrissa w Wrzesień 07, 2010, 02:48:53 pm
Surely that when our hero realises he has seen 'The Quintans' all it means is that they are termites and he recognizes them from  Earth. Hence the need for the pre-story.