Lem, Stanislaw

Lem, Stanisław

(stän`ĭswäf' lĕm), 1921–2006, Polish science-fiction writer. A doctor by training, Lem began his writing career as a poet before turning to the novel. In his many science-fiction works, including Return from the Stars (1961; tr. 1973), Solaris (1961; tr. 1982; films, 1972, 2002), His Master's Voice (1968, tr. 1983), and The Futurological Congress (1971, tr. 1974), he combines irony and grotesque humor with profound social, psychological, and philosophical analyses that show a concern for the moral implications of modern science and technology. Lem was also the author of notable essays concerning science fiction, including the collection Microworlds (1984).
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Lem, Stanisław


Born Sept. 12, 1921, in L’vov. Polish writer. Son of a physician. Studied at the L’vov Medical Institute from 1939 to 1941; graduated from the medical faculty of the Jagellonian University in Kraków in 1948.

Since his first appearance in print in 1946, Lem has written many science fiction works examining the social consequences of the development of science and technology and attacking militarism, war hysteria, and the consumer outlook on life. Among his best works are The Astronauts (1951; Russian translation, 1957), The Magellanic Cloud (1955; Russian translation, 1960), Eden (1959; Russian translation, 1966), Invasion From Aldebaran (1959; Russian translation, 1960), Return From the Stars (1961; Russian translation, 1965, with a preface by cosmonaut G. S. Titov), Diary Found in a Bathtub (1961), Solaris (1961; Russian translation, 1963; Soviet film by the same name, 1972), and The Invincible (1964; Russian translation, 1964). His works contain much philosophical grotesquerie, satire, and parody, particularly Stellar Diaries (1957), Robots’ Tales (1964), The Cyberiad (1965), and The Hunt (1965).

Apart from science fiction Lem has written a psychological novel (Time Not Lost, 1955), a detective novel (The Investigation, 1959), and an autobiographical novel (Lofty Castle, 1966; Russian translation, 1969). Also important are his books of essays on philosophical problems relating to cybernetics (Dialogues, 1957), to space travel (Going Into Orbit, 1962), to heuristics and futurology (The Sum of Technology, 1964; Russian translation, 1968), to the study of literature (The Philosophy of Chance, 1968), and to science fiction (Absolute Vacuum, 1971).


Fantastyka i futurologia, vols. 1–2. Kraków, 1970.
Bezsenno śá. Kraków, 1971.
Opowie śc i o pilocie Pirxie. Warsaw, 1973.
In Russian translation:
Formula Limfatera. Moscow, 1964.
Okhota na setavra. Moscow, 1965.
Navigator Pirks. Golos Neba. Moscow, 1971.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Lem, Stanislaw. "Culture and Futurology." Polish Perspectives 1 (January 1973): 30-38.