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Stanislaw Lem, born 12 September 1921 and died 27 March 2006 (aged 84), he was a polish citizen, and one of my all time favorite writers. His life under Socialism, and its rapidly changing landscape of freedoms and persecution made for an extremely varied and ersatz kind of life, he worked as an auto-mechanic, a physician, and of course a sci-fi writer. The wide range of his life experience and learning gives his work an extraordinary quality of intellect and humor.

240px-Stanisław_Lem

 

Lem’s work was truly a pleasure to read, because of his extensive education and background, his work is very educational, serving not only as great Sci-Fi, but often as very educational essays and commentary on Society, Science, Mathematics, Philosophy and Logic. His work has been translated into 41 languages, and he has sold 27 million copies of his books.

solaris-book

His most widely recognized work is his novel “Solaris” which has been made into a motion picture three times, if you are going to see the movie, avoid the Clooney one and go for the Russian version of the movie. Solaris is an excellent work, worthy of reading for any reason, but the fact that it is intelligent and entertaining is good enough. It is about a world covered in a sentient living Ocean, its attempts to communicate with the visitors to its world, and brings to mind serious questions about what it means to be real, human, and alive.

cyberiad

 

I think may favorite work of his is “The Cyberiad” which is a hilarious, clever and brilliantly written collection of short stories about a robotic universe and the adventures and exploits of two Constructors (a sort of robotic engineer/inventor/problem-solver) named Klaupacius and Trurl. They struggle to out-invent, out-smart and out-think each other with great hi-jinx and woe for their employers and the un-suspecting worlds they visit.

If you have never read Lem, do yourself a huge favor and go out and get a copy of Cyberiad, not only will it make you laugh, it will make you smarter.

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