„Tales of Pirx the Pilot,”one of the most favored books by Lem, is a series of adventures of a lovable Pilot-Astronaut. Pirx grows with problems he faces – the Pilot has to prove the worth of an imperfect man confronted with the world of machines and machine thinking.
In the highly unlikely event that a science-fiction writer is deemed worthy of a Nobel Prize in the near future, the most likely candidate would be (...) Stanislaw Lem.
By any standard Mr. Lem is a major writer; he is also a writer with many voices. A restless intellect who puts different pieces of himself into different books, he has created no single work that can be said to encapsulate his vision. Tales of Pirx the Pilot (first collected in Polish in 1968) shows Mr. Lem at his most accessible. With a minimum of philosophical speculation, social satire and absurdist humor, he offers a series of what appear to be technological detective stories, set in a common future that is at least as plausible as the world depicted nightly on the 7 o'clock news.
Gerald Jonas, The New York Times Book Review
With the exception of two or three short stories I am not too happy about this book. The first reason for its weakness is the similarity to a typical Bildungsroman. However a Bildungsroman has to be a novel with an "epic breath" and a broad social and historical background, while in the tales of the brave Pirx the Pilot the general perspective is rather narrow - the hero is isolated, has no friends or relatives. My initial intention was to write or two short stories only. Other stories appeared quite unexpectedly and there was no way to retroactively equip Pirx with a decent family. So the elements that are quite natural in a short story in series show some artificiality. But today I still like Ananke and Terminus.
The string of night-lights burned with a serene calm, inundating the decks with a watery blue shimmer. He swam up to a rope dangling from the ceiling; the moment he let go of the end, it coiled itself up lazily, snakelike, as if suddenly animated by his touch. His head snapped back. A clunking noise, similar to a hammering on metal, sounded nearby. He swam in the direction of the echoes, their volume now rising, now falling; along the way spotted a set of rusty tracks embedded in the deck-once used for wheeling dollies to and from the holds, he guessed - and soon was sailing along so fast he could feel the air buffeting his face.