In the January 17, 2022 issue of The New Yorker appears another fascinating article, Stanislaw Lem’s grim past and epic futurism, “Close Encounters” by Caleb Crain.
Lem published a number of highly-regarded science fiction novels in the 1960s, including the enigmatic “Solaris”, a brilliant novel about astronauts circling above a planet and the planet profoundly affects their minds. I read the novel some while ago (it was published in 1961), and Tom and I saw the early Russian movie of it—the film was way too long, confusing, and tedious—and the Steven Soderberg movie later—this film got straight to the point and was very moving and convincing.
I’m also re-reading “Eden” and both I, and my law school roommate some years ago, read “Memoirs Found in a Bathtub.”
Lem was born in 1922. He was a Polish Jew and born in a famous Jewish ghetto, now a part of Ukraine. He witnessed the Nazis executing many Jews and witnessed many pogroms, often fearing his life as a teenager. He saw most of his family killed by the Nazis. Is it any wonder why he wrote tensely about aliens whom you never are quite sure are aliens? Not the usual rocket ship captain material. Lem’s science fiction is original.
I’ll leave you to look up the article (I don’t want to reprise his life here.)
Highly recommended for readers interested in a creative person’s life, literature and classic science fiction.
So you there have it, my friends.
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