The Invincible (originally Niezwyciężony in Polish) is a science fiction novel written by Stanisław Lem and published in 1964. The translation into German was published in 1967. The English translation of the German translation was published in 1973.
A powerful military space ship
, a "second-class cruiser" called Invincible
, lands on the planet Regis III
to investigate the loss of sister ship
. During the investigation, the crew finds evidence of a new form of life, born through evolution
of autonomous, self-replicating machines
. The evolution was controlled by "robot wars", and the only form that survived were swarms of minuscule, insect-like machines. Individually, or in small groups, they are quite harmless to humans and capable of only very simple behavior. However, when bothered, they can assemble into huge swarms displaying complex behavior arising from self-organization
, and are able to defeat an intruder by a powerful surge of EMI
. Some members of the spacecraft crew suffered a complete memory wipe-out as consequence. The angered crew attempts to fight the enemy, but eventually recognizes the meaninglessness of their efforts in the most direct sense of the word.
The novel turns into an analysis of the relationship between different life domains, and their place in the universe. In particular, it is an imaginary experiment to demonstrate that evolution may not necessarily lead to dominance by intellectually superior life forms.
- MON,Warszawa 1964, 1965
- Iskry, Warszawa 1982
- Interart, Warszawa 1995
- Nowa, Warszawa 1995
- Świat Książki, Warszawa 1997