The Invincible

Arriving on a distant planet in search of a sister ship that has disappeared, the crew of The Invincible discover a new form of life: tiny, autonomous robots that seem to have evolved into expert killing machines. A rescue mission becomes a dangerous attempt at escape as they struggle to find a means of attack against a collective, hive-like enemy. Lem was writing decades before AI would become vernacular, but his suggestions of its capabilities—and perils—were prescient. In other ways, the book is a product of its time: there are no women characters, presumably because women would not have been considered appropriate for space travel. But as the protagonist scrambles for a means of escaping the horde, I was left wondering if a different crew might have fared better.