Stanislaw Lem Eden chapter break down.
Stanislaw’s Lem’s novel – Eden was ordered and read through taking a lot longer than anticipated. That said a huge array of understanding was needed to digests its content. Whilst reading I have noted some of the basic key elements within each chapter, all together there were 14 chapters as details within them varied.
The highly intelligent six man crew consist of a (Captain, Doctor, Physicist, Cyberneticist, Engineer and Chemist) they embark on a new world this being Eden. The characters of the novel show the up most detail of the soundings and try to make sense of what the processes on Eden consists of, the inhabitants of Eden are equally as intelligent and an organised civilisation, the text is fielded with philosophy theories reasoning justification discussions and analyses in relation to what is discovered on their travels and the expeditions around the planet.
I feel that Stanislaw Lem has done a great job of making each individual character unique not only to the story line and plot but the overall experience of the novel, the significance of one characters rationalizes another which is seen a lot in the novel as the findings are discussed between the personalities. Although there was no explanation to why these specific set of individuals had been chosen or selected to forego this voyage my only guess is exploration reasons. Curiosity of Eden’s presence brought them onto the planet.
It’s noticeable that from Stanislaw’s history and past the fictional knowledge brought into the novel relates to his present day life. This was really interesting to see whilst reading an example would be a scene which Stanislaw Lem describes as a ‘concentration camp’, referring to the world war at the time.
I’ve tried to keep things simple and clean in terms of analysing the text for specific content, the ideas I have detailed below for instance may relate to more than one chapter as the content is spread throughout the book. This has allowed me to refer back to certain parts for information/reference.
In the first chapter we get a glimpse of the six man crew and an introduction of the team, starting off with the ship crash landing onto Eden the initial test for the group is to escape from the ship which is buried beneath the terrain of Eden. A sense of team work is displayed along with forms of logic already being showcased. The setting is centred in the ship around the escape hatch as an attempt to examine the outside world is made, an exit is dug out.
Successfully and safely exiting the ship the atmosphere isn’t far from earths, the differences are disguised mainly on the look of the sky having a greenish tinge at the horizon, the decision has been made to start an expedition away from the current location, despite the state of the ship and its condition, some kind of city was recognized before the crash landing. Plant life is discovered some showing signs of life/movement. The explorer’s discover a factory like setting deep in a forest, unsure of its purpose or the content being manufactured within. It seems as though a special substance is in production as depicted in the novel .the factory descends for miles there is no indication of any life forms things seems to be abandoned, nature has taken its course over time is the assumption made.
As the crew make their return to the ship an unexpected guest has inhabited the interior, a slimy worm like creature the first mark of life on Eden, the creature dies being affected by the ships electrical current. A post mortem examination is carried out revealing some interesting facts about the worm.
Concerns over the rations the crew obtain, leads to another expedition however this time in a different direction from the first, on their travels they come across a whole new landscape filled with breathing colour changing trees (lung trees) deep within a canyon. Something else new on the agenda a vehicle (‘some kind of agricultural machine’, page 74 ‘looks like a gondola’ ‘flying disk’) captures the attention of group this time a real life form is introduced. An array of life is given in more detail. The city seen earlier now seems more viable to the crew as the path they have taken demonstrates more traces of life.
Returning back to the ship after an eventful voyage yet again another trek is introduced, the creature/living ‘thinking’ being noticed prior in the forest has been identified as a ‘doubler’ an interesting development about the extra-terrestrial reveal its strange nature of splitting into two forms, assumptions that’s the doubler civilisation is intelligent, clues lead to this fact the alien spacecraft ‘gondola disk’ the mode of transport used to get around. At this stage in the story the group have no real means of transport a discussion to split the crew into two is considered, one working on the ship the others to continue on exploring, Greater their understanding.
This chapter we see one team of three men working steadily on the ship. One of two vehicles (the jeep) has emerged from ship with little repair work needed. Once again whilst returning in the ship a creature has found its way into the hull, before... the inhabitants shape and form would take on a more ground based composition the one found is now animal like seen flying there is an occurrence of morphing being displayed as well. The focal point changes to the second team as they come across a disturbing area of landscape, the sights describe corpses/death wells, bodies in graves as it seems all the bodies differ from one another some with noses some without various features missing “some have fingers, some don’t. Some have noses but no eyes, while some have an eye but no nose. Some are larger and darker, and some paler, with a shorter trunk.” Page 114
I thought it would be important to notify that when constructing the environment, it is described in relation to the common interpretation we have on earth i.e. an argument over what they have found is debated. ‘Was this a mass slaughter?’ one suggestion.
“For everything that happens you import a concept, ready – made, from Earth.”
The peculiar landscape fails to disappoint as an encounter of a more lustrous environment is discovered, tunnels labyrinth of glass inspected away from jeep on foot, the more and more the team venture into this surrounding a further concern of the unknown is being shown, the next significant discovery is a kind of a ‘medieval’ ancient ruin settlement, a deeper search of the settlement causes more risk however a key factor here, is to make some kind of contact with the Eden’s species/civilisation. Drama unfolds as lifeless bodies come flooding towards them one of the crew members becomes trapped within the raging stampede of doubler bodies, intense noise and atmosphere is showcased, questions are raised to why they were not attacked? as such nor could they find a reason for why the dramatic scene had occurred. The departure of the settlement an oddly figure awaits them by their jeep, one of the doubler’s has navigated its way to them from its herd reluctant to move so therefore ‘it’ was taken back to the ship. The journey back exposes the flying disks and the crew back at the ship also witnessed this sight, the focus changes to discussion between both groups a lot of uncertainty is displayed.
“It’s curious that everything we find here is reminiscent of things on Earth.” he concluded, “but only partly. There are always pieces that’s don’t fit. These vehicles of theirs, for example, showed up like war machines. Was it reconnaissance, was it blockade? But ultimately nothing happened, and we are left in the dark. Those wells in the clay – they were terrible, of course, bit what in fact were they? Graves? We don’t know. Then that settlement or whatever it was. An incredible place, like a nightmare, And the skeletons inside the ‘clubs’? Were they museums? Slaughterhouses? Chapels? Factories turning out biological specimens? Prisons? Anything is possible, even a concentration camp!
“And no one stopped us or tried to establish contact with us. Without question the most incomprehensible thing of all. Without question, the planet civilisation is highly developed. The architecture, the construction of domes like the ones we’ve seen – and yet, nearby, stone settlement, like a medieval stronghold – an astonishing mixture of levels of civilisation! Their signalling system must be sophisticated, since they extinguished the lights of the stronghold less than a minute after out arrival. Page 145
Within chapter eight the crew reflect back on the following events and take some time out around the ship. It has been a few days now and the ship had been on the mend along with some inner content such as the robots and another vehicle(defender), discussions theories and more reasoning about the realisation of why the way things on Eden are put forward. An Idea that’s took my attention was a ‘biological factory’ hypothesis which seemed the more realistic assumption than the other suggestions made.
The work remains the main focus, In the midst of the on-going labour questions about the doubler arises. The two groups switch over now one working on the ship whilst the others go and stock up on the water supplies. A significant encounter was made whilst gathering water which the team decided to deceive the ones working on the ship, unaware that the doublers by the brook (water collection region) are plotting some kind of ambush/plan it seems, a universal robot emerges from the ships interior in working order it is sent to continue work on the outer structure. From no warning an air attack on the whole group takes place. ‘Like raining mechanical objects’, yet with no clue about the earlier encounter the mechanical rain would yielded seeds which grew from where the missiles hit. ‘Inorganic spores sown by artillery’, a mirror like wall appears before them. “It’s unlikely that we landed in the center of a small barren area. To the north there’s a factory, to the east a city. To the south a ‘settlement.’ Chances are, we’re sitting on the edge of a desert that’s to our west.” Page 186
Travelling in all directions from the ship the last expedition proves to be the most important in terms of reasoning about Eden’s the civilisation, as the ship shows increasing signs of recovery the last of the vehicles (defender) is drafted out to assist as there latest mode of transport and major protection. They begin their travels things are similar however the forest thicket contains another dimension of ruins they solider on through and come to an overhang and there before them lye’s the City of Eden discovered 120 miles from crash land site. Observation was taken mainly footage.
‘They were in a wonderful mood.in the crystal – clear sky the serpentine Milky Way sparkled like a mass of diamonds. A gentle breeze combed the thicket with a sign. Defender, rolling along, hummed softly.’ Page 194 another cause for concern for the group returning from their journey, the route back to the ship slightly differs, therefore leading to another area of strangeness this time they come across a cemetery like landscape doubler statues are displayed everywhere, a trap is triggered a mist descends from the ground up which begins to affect the breathing of one of the crew members. Alarming silvery forms noticed at scene (well established doublers) set out to harm them, fire begins to rage around ‘hellish’ landscape the group in the defender escape unharmed.
‘A cemetery. Escaped prisoners. A police round up. Genocide, using gas. But we know nothing. Yes, some of the planet’s inhabitants killed other before our eyes.’ Page 208 back at the ship the recent events where discussed amongst the remainder of the group. More theories and discussion is shared the footage of the city had been developed and now all attention was put onto the doubler they adopted.
In this chapter it had been concluded that the footage wasn’t clear enough to really get an overall idea of what the doublers in the city were doing. Concerns turned to the adopted doubler radioactivity was a treat to its health the team noticed, as the ship is up and running ready for excavation from the sandy terrain, a communication computer was set up in order to establish contact and find out details/ ask question.
“There are many of you on the planet, the speaker squawked twice, went silent. For some time the doubler made no reply. Then he coughed hoarsely. “Our organizational system. Binary. Our relations. Binary,” said the speaker. “Society. Central control. The whole planet.”
“How many of you make the decisions at central control? One? Several? A large number? The speaker squawked, “One. Several. Large number. Control. Do not know. Do not know.
“you do not know, or no one on the planet knows?” The doubler coughed, and the computer translated: “Binary relations. One thing. Known. Other thing. Unknown.” Page 238
“How long do they live?”
“about sixty revolutions of the planet, slightly less than sixty of our years. Eden’s year is shorter.”
“what do they eat?”
‘They can assimilate certain in organic substances directly... Now they have modernized, using those plants, the calyxes on the plain, as food accumulator. The calyxes extract from the soil and store compounds that serve the doublers as nourishment.’
Details about doubler. Page 249
With the little time left the crew prepare for take-off it was time to put aside the curiosity of Eden for the time being and focus their energies on returning home.
In the last chapter the crew are on the last phase of the excavation arguing they are not ready to leave as of yet although latest events haven’t been so pleasant. A change in the environment and the atmosphere takes place rain/lightning, the doubler was left behind as the ship takes off successfully. “All those colors. None of the other planets are like that. The Earth is merely a blue marble.” Page 261
Potential has arisen in chapter a lot of these chapters but these are the the possible ideas to take on:
1. Ship crash land site on Eden
2. Interior of ship
3. Eden foreign space craft (doubler disk)
4. Environment 1 automated factory in forest (expedition 1)
5. Environment 2 (expedition 2)
6. Vehicle - Defender
7. Environment 3 settlement- medieval stronghold (expedition 3)
8. Environment 4 crematory grave yard (expedition 4)
The descriptive content in the novel is well thought of giving a clear picture if the environment I’ll look to upload the content (text) as soon as possible
The challenge I’d like to pursue is (1, 2 the addition of 6 if there’s time), the task of producing the interior and exteriors of the ship after its collision into Eden is a nice concept, full of technical challenges, the whole novel is based in and around the ship therefore seem like a reasonable bases for my Major Project.
Some of the technical challenges I’m looking at are: