Trurl's Machine
Trurl's Machine
Trurl's Machine


Trurl's Machine, written by Stanislaw Lem, is a short story about a futuristic inventor named Trurl, who has created a "stupid" machine. Every time the machine is given a question, it bellows out the wrong answer. Even after a little tinkering, some persuasion, and the help of a friend, Klapaucius, the machine still refuses to give the correct answer. Trurl, in a fit of frustration starts to kick his machine in hopes of it's submission, but he only aggravates the machine to the point at which it picks itself up and chases after the two inventors. Trurl and Klapaucius are forced to begin running toward the mountains with the machine right behind. This satiric story both entertains and leaves one with a question on totalitarian rule.




About the Author
A young Polish boy with a passion for tinkering with broken items, Stanislaw Lem had high hopes for his future. He wanted to put his tinkering skills to work for him until the Germans invaded Poland in the beginning of World War II. His dreams of being a scientist or doctor were shattered, but he was still able to dismantle German tanks while pretending to repair them. This risky business led Lem to realize that life was short, and one little mistake could mean the end. After the war, Lem decided to pursue his dream of being a scientist, but he could not accept the rules that were enforced as law. So he dropped out of school and started to write science fiction. He wrote many science fiction novels, including Solaris and The Invincible. He used satire to show how futile human attempts were at trying to control the universe, like the Communists' attempt to control thought. Lem's books were received well in Poland and once translated into English, he became a very popular science fiction writer.




This story is a fun and humorous read. The plot and characters are witty and imaginative, which leaves a lot of room for interpretation. It also sheds a little light on the practices of totalitarian rule. I would deeply recommend reading this story to find out for yourself how amazing and horrifying life would be like if "truth" was really fiction. You can also read my literary analysis of this story.