A Stanislaw Lem Reader

Peter Swirski + Stanislaw Lem

Northwestern University Press 1997
A book review by Danny Yee © 1998 http://dannyreviews.com/
Peter Swirski's Stanislaw Lem Reader contains four pieces: an introduction by Swirski to Lem; an interview from 1992, in which Lem reflects on philosophy, literature, and science; Lem's essay "Thirty Years Later", looking back at his predictions about virtual reality in his 1964 book Summa technologiae; and a written interview from 1994, in which Lem answers, with what are almost mini-essays, questions about science, the future of science, and its relationship with the humanities and philosophy. A English language bibliography of Lem's books and articles and of critical studies thereon completes the volume.

The focus throughout is on Lem as a philosopher and futurologist: there is little discussion of his works of fiction, as Lem prefers to leave that to the critics. For those who only know him as a novelist, A Stanislaw Lem Reader is an excellent introduction to Lem's philosophy, scientific speculation, literary criticism, and social theory. It should, however, be perfectly accessible to those unfamiliar with any of his works. The only disappointing thing about the volume is that it is too short: a biographical sketch would have made a good addition, and it would be good to see more of Lem's articles and essays translated into English.

February 1998

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%T A Stanislaw Lem Reader
%A Swirski, Peter
%A Lem, Stanislaw
%I Northwestern University Press
%D 1997
%O paperback
%G ISBN 081011495X
%P 129pp