Stanislav Lem

Stanislav Lem is a world-famous writer, who became famous primarily in the genre of science fiction, but is also a satirist, philosopher and futurologist. Stanislav Lem was born on September 12, 1921 in Lviv, which was then part of Poland. His father, Samuel Lem, was a well-known otolaryngologist who had private practice, and his mother, Sabina Waller, was engaged in household work. The future science fiction writer learned to read and write as early as four years old, examining his father’s medical books. Resting with his mother in the Carpathian city of Skole, little Stanislav wrote his first letter to dad. In it, he described his own adventure in a rustic wooden toilet. From 1932 to 1939 Stanislav Lem studied at the Second Higher City Gymnasium named after Karol Shaynokhi (now Ne 8 school) in Lviv. Once gymnasiums tested students for IQ and Stanislav scored more than 180 points. This showed him one of the most intelligent gymnasium students in southern Poland, but he learned about this from a former official in the educational system only many years later. About his childhood, Stanislav wrote an autobiographical novel, The High Castle. Lviv High Castle is the remains of a medieval fortification fortress, as well as the name of the mountain where it is located and the name of the park surrounding it. The book was first published in 1966, along with a detailed description of his childhood, games and inventions. Lem touched on philosophical issues such as the formation and development of personality, understanding the mechanism of memory, the meaning of the historical process and the study of the phenomenon of the creative process. Lem wanted to study at the Lviv Polytechnic, where he successfully passed the exams, but was not accepted because of his “wrong social class” (the ENT father was quite wealthy). Then Samuel Lem, with the help of his connections and the famous biochemist Professor Yakub Parnassus, placed his son at the Medical Institute, where Stanislav, in his own words, studied “without the least enthusiasm” from 1939 to 1941, before the capture of Lvov by the Germans. During the German occupation, through forged documents, the Lem family was fortunate enough to avoid deportation to the ghetto and they remained in Lviv. Stanislav worked as a welder and assistant car mechanic in the garage, and secretly was in the resistance group to the Nazis.

In 1944, when Soviet troops liberated the city, Stanislav Lem again resumed his studies at the Medical Institute. After 2 years, when it became clear that Lviv no longer belongs to Poland, the future writer left the hometown forever as part of the repatriation program. He moved to Krakow, where he again continued his study of medicine at the Jagiellonian University, one of the oldest higher educational institutions in Europe. In the same year, 1946, Lem’s literary debut took place: the Polish magazine “New World of Adventures” first published his story “A Man from Mars”. After that, his poems and stories were published in periodicals such as Universal Weekly, The Polish Soldier, The Forge, etc. In 1948, Stanislav Lem did not receive a diploma, but a certificate of completion of medical education, as he refused to take graduation exams to evade a military doctor’s career. Although there is another version of what happened: Lem did not want to answer exam questions in the spirit of the Lysenko doctrine that dominated biology at that time. In the years 1947-1950. Stanislav Lem worked as a junior assistant in the university medical laboratory of Dr. Micheaslav Choynovsky and at the same time worked closely with the journal Life of Science. In 1950, Stanislav Lem became acquainted with Barbara Lesnyak, who in 1953 became his wife. Barbara Lesnyak also had a medical education: she worked as a radiologist. In 1968 son Tomas was born in the family, now he is a translator and memoirist. In 1951 Lem’s science fiction novel Astronauts was published, bringing the author literary success and fame. Since that time, Stanislav Lem has been actively engaged in writing.

His books can be divided into two categories:

  1. Serious novels and short stories written in the traditional genre of science fiction:. “Eden” (1959); . “Solaris” (1961): “Return from the Stars” (1961); . “Invincible” (1964); . “Tales of the Pirks Pilot” (1968); . The Voice of the Lord (1968) and many others.

  2. Grotesque works filled with sparkling lively humor: Star Diaries (1957); . “The manuscript found in the bath” (1961); “Tales of Robots” (1964); . The Cyberiad (1965); “On-site inspection” (1982); . “Peace on Earth” (1987).

In 1964, the first collection of philosophical-futurological essays, “Sum of Technology”, was first published. In this fundamental work, Stanislav Lem anticipated the emergence of virtual reality, nanotechnology and Artificial Intelligence. In the book, the writer developed the ideas of creating artificial worlds, auto-evolution of humanity and many other philosophical topics related to the functioning of civilization. In 1973, Stanislav Lem became an honorary member of the Association of Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA), where he was expelled after 3 years for criticizing the relatively low level of American science fiction literature. Some SFWA members protested against this exclusion, after which the Association offered Lem a regular membership, but he rejected it. Stanislav Lem traveled a lot: he traveled to the Soviet Union, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, and from 1983 to 1988. lived in Vienna. In the 90s, the writer collaborated with the Polish version of RS Magazine, the monthly Odra and other periodicals. Otanislav Lem made futurological forecasts in the field of technology and culture, many of which turned out to be absolutely accurate. The books of Stanislav Lem were translated into 41 foreign languages, some novels were made into films, and more than 30 million copies of his works were sold in the world. The writer himself received several international and Polish awards, orders and academic degrees. Also in honor of the science fiction asteroid (3836) Lem was discovered, discovered in 1979. astronomer Nikolai Chernykh. At the 85th year of his life, after a prolonged heart disease, Stanislav Lem died on March 27, 2006. He was buried in the Salvator Cemetery in Krakow.