How Many Stanisław Lems Were There?

“Solaris” and beyond – Stanisław Lem’s antidotes to the bores of American sci-fi.

The Polish writer Stanisław Lem (1921-2006) is perhaps best known for his novel Solaris (1961) – a visionary work of ‘first contact’ science fiction later adapted for film by Andrei Tarkovsky in 1972, and again by Steven Soderbergh in 2002. However, as this video essay explores, Solaris represents just one small piece of Lem’s sprawling and prolific career as a writer of both peculiar and imaginative works of science fiction, and of speculative works of philosophy that anticipated many of the technologies and anxieties of the modern world. Adapted from an essay for the London Review of Books by the US writer Jonathan Lethem, Five Lems distills a long career into five distinct categories. In doing so, it explores Lem’s insights into the human condition, as well as how his imaginative ‘fairy tales and folk tales for the future’ offered an antidote to the ‘technocratic triumphalism, manifest destiny, libertarian survivalist bullshit’ of American-dominated mid-20th-century science fiction.

Read More at Aeon

Read the rest at Aeon