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Encyclopedia > Stanislaw Lem
The title given to this article is incorrect due to technical limitations. The correct title is Stanisław Lem.
Stanisław Lem in 1966

Stanisław Lem (born September 12, 1921) is a Polish satirical, philosophical and science fiction writer. His books have been translated into 40 languages and sold over 27 million copies.

Stanisław Lem was born in Lwów, Poland in 1921 (now Lviv, Ukraine), the son of a physician. He studied medicine at Lwów University, but World War II interrupted his studies. During the war and Nazi occupation Lem worked as a car mechanic and welder, and was a member of the resistance fighting against the Germans. In 1946 Lem "repatriated" from the territory annexed by the Soviet Union to Kraków and started medical studies at the Jagiellonian University. After finishing his studies Stanislaw Lem opted not to take final exams to avoid a career as a military doctor, and received only a certificate of completion of studies. He worked as a research assistant in a scientific institution and started to write stories in his spare time. In 1981 he received an honorary degree from the Wroclaw Polytechnic, later from Opole University, University of Lwów, and finally from the Jagiellonian University. See also [1] (http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/slem.htm).

Lem principally wrote about impossibility of communication between humans and profoundly alien civilizations and about the technological future of humanity. The latter topic included, by implication, ideal and utopian societies and the problem of human existence in a world where there is little to do because of technological development. His alien societies included swarms of mechanical flies (in The Invincible) and the Ocean (in Solaris). Issues of technological utopias appeared in Peace on Earth, in Observation on the Spot, and, to a lesser extent, in The Cyberiad.

Lem was awarded an honorary membership in the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) in 1973, which was then rescinded in 1976 after he made comments about American pulp science fiction literature. He described it as kitsch, ill thought-out, poorly written, and interested more in making money than ideas or new literary forms. The SFWA then offered him a regular membership, which he refused.

Lem's writing is full of very intelligent humor, full of puns, wordplay, and other tricks, and has been translated brilliantly into English by Michael Kandel.

In 1977 he was recognized as an honorary citizen of Kraków.

Texts by Lem were set to music by Esa-Pekka Salonen in his 1982 piece, Floof.


  • Człowiek z Marsa (1946)
  • Szpital przemienienia (1948) / Hospital of the Transfiguration - NY 1988
  • Astronauci (1951)
  • Obłok Magellana (The Cloud of Magellan) (1955)
  • Sezam (1955)
  • Czas nieutracony (1955)
  • Dialogi (1957)
  • Inwazja z Aldebarana (1959)
  • Śledztwo (1959) / The Investigation - NY 1974
  • Eden (1959) - San Diego 1989
  • Powrót z gwiazd (1961) / Return from the Stars - London 1980
  • Solaris (1961) - London 1970
  • Pamiętnik znaleziony w wannie (1961) / Memoir Found in a Bathtub - NY 1973
  • Summa Technologiae (1964)
  • Niezwyciężony (1964) / The Invincible - London 1973
  • Cyberiada (1967) / The Cyberiad - NY 1974
  • Głos pana (1968) / His Master's Voice - London 1983
  • Fantastyka i futurologia (1970) / Fantasy and Futurology I and II
  • Dzienniki gwiazdowe (1971) / The Star Diaries - NY 1976, The Memories of a Space Traveller - London 1982
  • Ze wspomnień Ijona Tichego; Kongres futurologiczny (1971) / The Futurological Congress - Avon Books 1976
  • Opowieści o pilocie Pirxie (1973) / Tales of Pirx the Pilot - NY 1979, More Tales of Pirx the Pilot - NY 1982
  • Wielkość urojona (1973) / Imaginary Magnitude - NY 1984
  • Rozprawy i szkice (1974)
  • Wysoki zamek (1975) / Highcastle: A Remembrance - NY 1995
  • Katar (1975) / The Chain of Chance - London 1978
  • Mortal Engines - NY 1977
  • Wizja Lokalna Observation on the Spot(1982)
  • Doskonała Próżnia (1983) / A Perfect Vacuum - London 1979
  • Fiasko (1986) / Fiasco - NY 1987
  • Pokoj na Ziemi (1987) / Peace on Earth - NY 1992

Film and TV adaptations

External Links

Wikimedia Commons has multimedia related to:
Stanisław Lem
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Stanislaw Lem
  • Official Lem site (http://www.lem.pl/)
  • "Wired" magazine on Lem and Solaris (http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/10.12/solaris.html)
  • Lem at "The Modern Word"  (http://www.themodernword.com/scriptorium/lem.html)

  Results from FactBites:
StanisĹ‚aw Lem - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (905 words)
Lem's writing is full of intelligent humor, puns, and neologisms, and Michael Kandel's translations into English have been praised by many for capturing Lem's style.
Lem was awarded an honorary membership in the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) in 1973, which was then rescinded in 1976 after he made comments about American pulp science fiction literature.
Lem is also well-known for criticizing the films based on his work, including two famous creations of Solaris by Andrei Tarkovsky (1972) and Steven Soderbergh (2002).
Scriptorium - Stanislaw Lem (3402 words)
Lem is arguably the greatest living science fiction writer, and even one of the most important European authors of his generation; yet he commands little critical attention, and has failed to reach discerning American science fiction readers who ought, one would think, to be most interested in him.
Stanislaw Lem was born in 1921 in Lvov, Poland, to a family of the professional class; both his father and uncle were doctors.
Lem's experimental tendencies were fully realized in a series of works that gestured outside of themselves to a whole corpus of imaginary literature.
  More results at FactBites »



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