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Favorite science fiction authors: Stanislaw Lem
Someone once said that there are three principal schools of SF
writing: the American school, the Russian school, and Stanislaw
Lem is a Pole and much more popular in Europe than he is in the USA.
He has written dozens of books, and some remain untranslated into
English. No two of his books are really alike. Some are grim and
heavy, some are light and funny---but almost all have some deep
philosophical underpinnings, if you care to look for them. Here
are some of my favorites.
- The Cyberiad. The rollicking adventures of
Trurl and Klapaucius, android engineers. Truly inventive
in ideas and language. Beats me how the translator did it---do
all these puns work in Polish too?
Hilarious stuff, but it might make you stop and think from
time to time too.
- The star diaries. The travels of Ijon
Tichy, star pilot and practitioner of serendipity. My
favorite is the Eleventh Voyage, where Tichy tries to find out
why none of the two thousand secret agents sent to the
planet of the robots have ever been heard from again.
The story about how humans evolved from illegal dumping
is also a scream.
- Solaris and His master's voice.
Does it bother you that we always seem to be able to communicate
with aliens? Does it seem to you that they should be more
alien? Read one of these.
- The futurological congress. As disorienting
as a Philip K. Dick novel, yet great fun too.
Marc Branchu's page on Stanislaw Lem (in French).
Next: Favorite science fiction authors: C. J. Cherryh
See also: Shipman's reading list: ``hard'' science fiction
John W. Shipman,
Last updated: 2001/08/11 20:54:42