A season of Stanisław Lem

On September 9, the British Library will host an evening devoted to the great Polish science-fiction writer Stanisław Lem. Discussions of Lem’s work and film screenings will take place in conjunction with the publication launch of Lemistry: A Celebration of Stanisław Lem, an anthology featuring three previously untranslated stories as well as commissioned works by writers such as Brian Aldiss and Jacek Dukaj on Lem’s far-reaching influence as well as essays by scientists on his prescient view of the future.

Guests for the British Library evening include filmmaker Ari Folman, who is following up his “Waltz with Bashir” by adapting Lem’s The Futurological Congress. Animators The Brothers Quay will also be present, having made a short film of Lem’s story “Maska.” The stunning trailer for the film can be seen here. Other guests include anthology contributors John Gray, Toby Litt, Wojciech Orliński and Adam Roberts. The evening will be chaired by journalist and critic Rosie Goldsmith.

Remarkably, the novel that Lem is best known for in the English-speaking world, Solaris, only received its first direct translation from Polish to English this year. The previous version was patched together from a French translation, a fact which the English-speaking Lem was not terribly pleased about (particularly since he thought the French translation was already badly done). Due to copyright issues only the audiobook is currently available (And be careful if ordering from Amazon –  they show the new translation in audio as well as a link to paperback showing it in stock. On closer inspection it is for the old translation). The book is expected to be published by the end of 2011.

There has also been a theatrical tour of the play “Planet Lem” over the past couple months, done in conjunction with Poland’s EU Presidency. Performances just took place in Kiev and the production will be in Moscow on September 21.

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Categories: Books, Literary Events, Writers

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2 Comments on “A season of Stanisław Lem”

  1. 05/09/2011 at 4:56 pm #

    Interesting. Despite working very nearby most days, I rarely make it to British Library events. Perhaps I should make an effort with this one…

    • 05/09/2011 at 5:05 pm #

      I’m envious. I wish I could go. I’m not sure exactly what films they’re screening, but between the discussion and the guests it should be worthwhile.

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