The plot: explorers find a planet, it has lots of metallic structures that exhibit regularity and pattern, but apparently nothing living. The explorers feel very secure - they have lots of force-fields etc. to keep them safe. However they start disappearing, and it becomes clear a swarm of metallic creatures inhabit the planet that are somehow wiping peoples' minds. The story ends with most/all of the explorers dead - a hubris tale.

Would love to find the story again, can't Google for clashes with plots of grey-goo stories/nano technology research!

  • 1
    About when did you read ?
    – Stan
    Nov 30, 2013 at 14:56

1 Answer 1


This is almost certainly The Invincible by Stanislaw Lem. It's a short novel, not a short story. He didn't really use "Nanotech" (the bots were insect sized) in the way we think of it now, but the machines were self organizing, and quite scary.

  • Thanks so much! Such a great feeling to find the story - you scratched a very annoying itch for me :) That it's Lem explains why I couldn't find it at home - read it years ago in my uni library.
    – timruffs
    Dec 1, 2013 at 14:09
  • you are very welcome! i enjoy Lem a lot, and that's one of my favorites
    – SteveED
    Dec 2, 2013 at 1:19

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