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By Stanislaw Lem

Trurl and Klaupacius are robots who attempt to 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 outcomes for his or her employers. “The such a lot thoroughly profitable of his books... the following Lem comes closest to inventing a true universe” (Boston Globe). Illustrations by way of Daniel Mr—z. Translated via Michael Kandel.

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Country secrets,” answered the kid, lifting the sting of its smock to offer him a glimpse of a few mobilization plans. This shocked Klapaucius much more, and he acknowledged: “No, thanks, my youngster. yet are you able to inform me the place i'd locate the mayor? ” “What’cha wish the mayor for? ” requested the kid. “I desire to converse with him. ” “In mystery? ” “It makes no distinction. ” “Need a undercover agent? My dad’s a undercover agent. liable and inexpensive. ” “Very good then, take me in your dad,” acknowledged Klapaucius, seeing he could get nowhere with the kid. the kid led him to 1 of the homes. within, even though it was once in the midst of the day, a kinfolk sat round a lighted lamp—a grey grandfather in a rocking chair, a grandmother knitting socks, and their totally grown and diverse progeny, each one busy at his personal loved ones job. once Klapaucius entered, they jumped up and seized him; the knitting needles grew to become out to be handcuffs, the lamp a microphone, and the grandmother the neighborhood leader of police. “They should have made a mistake,” proposal Klapaucius, while he used to be crushed and thrown in penitentiary. Patiently he waited in the course of the night—there was once not anything else he may possibly do. The sunrise got here and published the cobwebs at the stone partitions of his phone, additionally the rusted continues to be of prior prisoners. After a size of time he was once taken and interrogated. It grew to become out that the little baby in addition to the houses—the entire village, in fact—all of it used to be a plant to trick international spies. yet Klapaucius didn't have to stand the trials of a protracted trial; the complaints have been speedy over. For trying to identify touch with the informer-dad the punishment was once a third-class guillotining, as the neighborhood management had already disbursed cash to shop for out enemy brokers for that monetary yr, and Klapaucius, on his half, many times refused to buy any nation secrets and techniques from the police. Nor did he have adequate prepared money to mitigate the offense. nonetheless, the prisoner persisted to protest his innocence—not that the pass judgement on believed a note of it; no matter if he had, to unfastened him lay outdoor his jurisdiction. So the case used to be despatched to a better courtroom, and meanwhile Klapaucius used to be subjected to torture, even though extra as an issue of shape than out of any actual necessity. In a couple of week his case took a flip for the higher; ultimately acquitted, he proceeded to the Capitol the place, after receiving directions within the principles and laws of courtroom etiquette, he bought the consideration of a personal viewers with the King. in addition they gave him a bugle, for each citizen used to be obliged to announce his comings and goings in reputable areas with applicable prospers, and such used to be the iron self-discipline of that land, that the solar used to be no longer thought of risen with out the blowing of reveille. Ferocitus did in reality call for new guns. Klapaucius promised to satisfy this royal want; his plan, he guaranteed the King, represented a thorough departure from the permitted rules of army motion. what sort of army—he requested first—always emerged successful? the person who had the best leaders and the easiest disciplined infantrymen.

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