Nobody can give more than he, who has lost everything.
Stanislaw Lem is a visionary polish writer of science fiction, philosopher known for his sarcasm and humour. In 1996 he was named a Knight of the Order of the White Eagle. His books have been translated into 41 languages and have sold over 27 million copies. He is perhaps best known as the author of the 1961 novel Solaris, which has been made into a feature film three times. In 1976 Theodore Sturgeon said that Lem was the most widely read science-fiction writer in the world. (Wikipedia)
He was born in 12 September 1921 in Poland. He was the son of Sabina Woller and Samuel Lem, a wealthy laryngologist and former physician in the Austro-Hungarian Army. Though raised a Roman Catholic, he later became an atheist. During World War II, as a Polish citizen with Jewish ancestry, Lem survived with fake papers, working as a car mechanic and welder. After relocating to Krakow after the war, he studied medicine but purposely failed so as not to be obliged to become a military doctor.
Today is the 60th anniversary of Stanislaw Lem’s first book publication. He produced a range of poems, essays and short stories during the late 1940s and 1950s but his first major work, Hospital of the Transfiguration, was only published in 1955 as the weight of ideological censorship began to lift following the death of the Joseph Stalin.
His first novel, ‘The Astronauts’ was forced to include many references to the “glorious future of communism” as Lem was writing during the Stalinism era, where all published work had to be approved by the communist regime.
In 1946, Lem literary work, at that time poetry, was first published as well as a series of US popular fiction ‘dime novels’. In the same year, Lem’s first science fiction work, The Man from Mars, was serialised in the magazine ‘New World of Adventures’.
The Cyberiad, published in 1965, was a key work, although Solaris remains Lem’s best known work first published in 1961, it was made into a film by the Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky in 1972 and by the US director Steven Soderbergh in 2002.
In 1973, Lem was made an honorary member of the Science Fiction Writers of America, despite being technically ineligible and his open criticism of American science fiction.
You can say that he was a man of action, world faced a great loss on 27 March 2006 when Lem died (at the age of 84) due to heart disease.