Tag Archives: Stanislaw Lem

Stanislaw Lem is dead

BBC News has a short notice that Polish novelist Stanislaw Lem has died. Link

If you don’t know his work, Lem is probably best known for his novel Solaris, a story of a planet-wide intelligence trying to communicate with human beings by dredging up painful memories from their individual subconscious minds, a book which became well-known after it was made into an English-language movie. But I remember Lem best for three other books: The Star Diaries, the adventures of eccentric genius Ijon Tichy; The Cyberiad, tales of two robots who are inventors; and Memoirs Found in a Bathtub, a dystopian novel of a society living in an underground complex after a nuclear holocaust. It would be too easy for American intellectuals to dismiss him as some half-famous Polish science fiction writer. But he was much more than that. Lem combined sly humor with mythic story lines and an unblinking appraisal of humankind; and he managed to slip in some barbed critiques of 20th C. life and politics; and his writing was informed by his deep humanity. I will miss him.

Update: Good balanced obituary at the (London) Times online: Link