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Stanislaw Lem Dies

Stanislaw Lem died Monday in his native Poland, his secretary said. He was 84.

Lem was one of the most popular science fiction authors of recent decades to write in a language other than English, and his works were translated from Polish into more than 40 other languages. His books have sold 27 million copies.

His best-known work, Solaris, was adapted into films by Andrei Tarkovsky in 1972 and by Steven Soderbergh in 2002. The latter starred George Clooney and Natascha McElhone.

His first important novel, Hospital of the Transfiguration, was censored by communist authorities for eight years before its release in 1956 amid a thaw following the death of Josef Stalin.

Totally tangential, but I was reminded of it:

in 1974, Philip K Dick began to inform on his sf colleagues, accusing them of being part of a Communist conspiracy — led by Stanislaw Lem, his great admirer — to kidnap him. Typically, although he mailed some of these letters to the FBI (they were ignored), he put others in a trashcan behind his house, assuming that whomever was watching him would deliver them… (one letter is preserved here)

(Also: “The honorary voting of Stanislaw Lem to membership is the sheep voting the wolf a place at the communal hearth,” Dick warned Science Fiction Writers of America members in ’75. “They certainly must be licking their chops back in Krakow right now.”)

Published in researchmaterial


  1. Ralph Ralph

    Sad, really. Lem might not have been everbody’s cup of tea, but he was a terrific writer.
    The rest just shows once more what a mad bastard poor, brilliant Phil Dick was.

  2. Przemysław Barwik Przemysław Barwik

    Yeah. Knew him, talked to him once in the 90’s cool old guy. Bit a phliosopher in the end. Said that sf was done for him. Damn i know he was old, but still he was a brilliant man, and now i am in sorrow

  3. Ed Macfarlane Ed Macfarlane

    Didn’t realise I would be this upset by that news. Just reading Microworlds at the moment, will be strange finishing it knowing he is gone.

  4. Dick’s paranoia was truly weird. He and Lem were geniuses in their own, different ways, and just by reading their books one cannot imagine the many possible differences between the men.
    (Maybe that’s why one should stick to reading and leave the persons behind the books alone.)
    (I’m really sad also.)

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