His passing makes the world a lesser place

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Stanislaw Lem is dead

The author of SOLARIS, PIRX THE PILOT,and THE CYBERIAD has passed away. Stanislaw Lem, a Polish writer whose brand of science fiction was what I would describe as “humanist”, has died. Apparently of natural causses.

WARSAW, Poland Mar 27, 2006 (AP)— Stanislaw Lem, a popular science fiction writer whose novel “Solaris” was filmed twice, died Monday in his native Poland, his secretary said. He was 84.

Lem died in Krakow, Wojciech Zemek told The Associated Press. Zemek did not give other details or the cause of death, citing only Lem’s advanced age.

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.

Lem’s other works include “The Invincible,” “The Cyberiad,” “His Master’s Voice,” “The Star Diaries,” “The Futurological Congress” and “Tales of Prix the Pilot.”

Copyright, 2006 ABC News

Even though Lem’s fiction had died down to a trickle in the 90s and nothing in the early years of the millenium, I will still miss him. His contribution to fiction (and not just science fiction) added a unique and quirky voice to the tumult.

I’m getting to be of the age when a lot of the early influences in my life, literary and otherwise, are joining the choir celestial. It’s a sad phase, but I don’t want this blog to be a neverending series of obits with me making sad faces. Lem lived a life worthy of celebration.

Salut, Stanislaus

One comment

  1. I am very saddened. He is my favourite SF writer. I recommended ‘His Master’s Voice’ and ‘Solaris’ to a friend on MSN Messenger just yesterday.

    I spent fifteen years tracking down a copy of ‘The Invincible’ (though I did have a photocopy). Oh well.

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