A Celebration of the Work of Stanislaw Lem
Edited by Ra Page and Magda Raczynska
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Publication date: 9 September 2011.
STANISLAW LEM, BRIAN ALDISS, FRANK COTTRELL BOYCE, ANNIE CLARKSON, DR. SARAH DAVIES, JACEK DUKAJ, PROF. STEVE FURBER, TREVOR HOYLE, PROF. HOD LIPSON, TOBY LITT, ANTONIA LLOYD-JONES, ADAM MAREK, MIKE NELSON, SEAN O'BRIEN, WOJCIECH ORLINSKI, ADAM ROBERTS, ANDY SAWYER, SARAH SCHOFIELD, DANUSIA STOK, PIOTR SZULKIN, and IAN WATSON.
**Wojciech Orlinski's story 'Stanlemian', translated from the Polish by Danusia Stok, short-listed for the 2012 Science Fiction and Fantasy Translation Awards.**
We ‘know’ Stanislaw Lem, whether or not we consciously know that we do.
He may only be recognised in the West as the author of the twice-filmed novel, Solaris, but the influence of his other work is legion. From computer games (The Sims was inspired by one of his short stories), to films (the red and blue pills of The Matrix owe much to his Futurological Congress); from the space comedies of Red Dwarf to the metaphysical satires of Douglas Adams… the presence of this masterly Polish writer can be traced far and wide. Nor was his genius confined to fiction. Lem’s essays and pseudo-essays – borne out of the military industrial tensions of the Cold War – have outlived their original context and speak to the most current developments in virtual reality, nanotechnology, and artificial intelligence.
To celebrate his name, as well as his vision, this anthology brings together writers, critics and scientists who continue to grapple with his concerns. British and Polish novelists join screenwriters, poets, computer engineers, and artists, to celebrate and explore Lem’s legacy through short stories and essays - two literary forms that, as Lem knew well, can blend together to create something altogether new.
As one of the barriers to Lem’s fame was language, this book also features specially commissioned translations: three stories never to have appeared in English before.
Lem was always ahead of us. It’s time we caught up.
'An unashamedly intelligent, relentlessly experimental and challenging anthology. Its combination of provocation, entertainment and migraine-inducing paradoxes would be perfectly at home with Lem's finest writing. Highly recommended.'
- Interzone Magazine.
'Lemistry is an intriguing treat for those of us who enjoy - perhaps a little guiltily - a little fiction in our science, along with science in our fiction.'
'An engaging celebration of Stanislaw Lem. Those who love his work will find much to admire.'
- Publishers Weekly.
Co-commissioned by the Polish Cultural Institute in London.
With support from the Polish Book Institute.
About the Contributors
is one of the most important SF writers working in Britain today. He has published over 75 books, including the novels Hothouse, The Interpreter, The Primal Urge, The Dark Light Years, The Billion Year Spree, The Helliconia Trilogy, Harm and most recently Walcot (2009). His awards include the Hugo (twice), the Nebula, the Prix Jules Verne (Sweden), the Kurd Lasswitz Award (Germany), the John W. Campbell Memorial Award and three BSFA awards. Several of his books, including Frankenstein Unbound, have been adapted for the cinema, and his short story, ‘Supertoys Last All Summer Long’, was adapted by Stanley Kubrick and Steven Spielberg and released as the film AI in 2001. He is also a playwright, poet, editor and prolific short story writer.
is a poet and short fiction writer living in Manchester. Her first poetry collection Winter Hands was published by Shadow Train. Her short fiction has been published by Comma (in Brace and Litmus), Flax Books and in various literary magazines. She is currently working on her debut short story collection for Comma.
Frank Cottrell Boyce
is an award-winning screenwriter and children’s novelist. His film credits include Welcome to Sarajevo, Hilary and Jackie, Code 46, 24 Hour Party People and A Cock and Bull Story. In 2004, his debut novel, Millions, won the Carnegie Medal and was shortlisted for The Guardian Children’s Fiction Award. His second novel, Framed, was published by Macmillan in 2005, and later adapted into a film by the BBC. His third, The Unforgotten Coat, was published this year. Frank also writes for the theatre and was the author of the highly acclaimed BBC film God on Trial. He has previously contributed stories to Comma’s anthologies Phobic, The Book of Liverpool, The New Uncanny, When It Changed, and Litmus and is currently working on a full collection. He is also writing the script for the Olympic 2012 opening ceremony.
Dr Sarah Davies
is a social scientist at Arizona State University’s Center for Nanotechnology in Society, where her research focuses on public engagement with emerging technologies. She has previously worked in exhibition development at the Science Museum, London, and as a lecturer in science communication at Imperial College.
is one of Poland’s most important writers of science fiction and fantasy. In 2009 he was winner of the inaugural European Literary Prize, and has also received the Koscielski Award and the Janusz A. Zajdel Award for his writing. His books include In the Land of the Infidels, The Black Seas and the bestselling Ice. In 2003 filmmaker Tomasz Baginski adapted his short story ‘The Cathedral’ into a short animation that was nominated for an Oscar.
Professor Stephen Furber
is the ICL Professor of Computer Engineering at the School of Computer Science at the University of Manchester but is probably best known for his work at Acorn where he was one of the designers of the BBC Micro and the ARM 32-bit RISC microprocessor. To date, more than 18 billion ARM-based chips have been manufactured and are used in ubiquitous computing applications, such as mobile phones, digital photography and video, music players, etc. His latest project is Spinnaker, also nicknamed the ‘brain box’, to be constructed at the University of Manchester. This is an attempt to build a new kind of computer that directly mimics the workings of the human brain. Spinnaker is essentially an artificial neural network realised in hardware, a massively parallel processing system eventually designed to incorporate a million ARM processors. The finished Spinnaker will model 1% of the human brain’s capability, or around 1 billion neurons.
has published fiction with John Calder, such as Vail, Blind Needle and The Man Who Travelled on Motorways. In the late 1970s he gained recognition for his ‘Q’ science fiction trilogy and his novel Earth Cult. His environmental novel The Last Gasp is currently under option in Hollywood, and his latest work, the ‘fictional memoir’ Down the Figure 7, is set in Lancashire just after the war. He also writes radio drama, winning the Radio Times Drama Award with his play GIGO. His Blake’s 7 episode ‘Ultraworld’ inspired the album The Orb’s Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld.
is an American robotics engineer. He is the director of Cornell University’s Computational Synthesis Laboratory. His work focuses on evolutionary robotics, design automation, rapid prototyping, artificial life, and creating machines that can demonstrate some aspects of human creativity. Lipson has been involved with machine learning and presented his ‘self-aware’ robot at the 2007 TED conference. With his Cornell University graduate student Michael Schmidt, he developed an intelligent machine to ‘uncover the fundamental laws of nature.’ The machine was able to derive the laws of physics such as gravitation by processing the raw information. As Lipson puts it, ‘The system successfully found such physical laws within experimental data taken from complex, chaotic systems like a double pendulum – a pendulum with a pivot joint in the middle.’
is the author of eight novels – Beatniks: An English Road Movie, Corpsing, Deadkidsongs, Finding Myself, Ghost Story, Hospital, Journey into Space and King Death – as well as three collections of short stories: Adventures in Capitalism, Exhibitionism and I Play the Drums in a Band Called Okay. In 2003 Toby Litt was nominated by Granta magazine as one of the 20 ‘Best of Young British Novelists’. He lives in London and is a member of English PEN.
is a full-time translator of Polish literature. Her published translations include fiction by Pawel Huelle (including The Last Supper, for which she won the Found in Translation Award 2008), Olga Tokarczuk and Jacek Dehnel. Her latest translations of non-fiction include reportage by Wojciech Jagielski and Jacek Hugo-Bader. She also translates poetry and books for children, most recently Kaytek the Wizard by Janusz Korczak.
’s debut collection of short stories, Instruction Manual for Swallowing (Comma) was long-listed for the 2008 Frank O’Connor prize. Since then his stories have appeared in numerous anthologies – New Writing 15, Prospect, The New Uncanny, When It Changed and Litmus (the latter three with Comma). In 2010 Adam was shortlisted for the inaugural Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Prize, and in 2011 he was awarded the Arts Foundation Fellowship in Short Story Writing. He lives in Bedford and is currently working on a second collection of stories.
is an installation artist who has twice been nominated for the Turner Prize (2001 and 2007), and in 2011 represented Britain at the Venice Biennale. Nelson’s installations typically exist only for the time period of the exhibition they were made for. They are generally extended labyrinths, which the viewer is free to find their own way through, and where the locations of the exit and entrance are often difficult to determine. His The Deliverance and the Patience in a former brewery on the Giudecca was in the 2001 Venice Biennale. In September 2007, his exhibition A Psychic Vacuum was held in the old Essex Street Market, New York. His major installation The Coral Reef, 2000, on display at Tate Britain until the end of 2011, is said to be influenced by Stanislav Lem’s Perfect Vacuum. It consists of fifteen rooms and a warren of corridors. His text in this book is uncredited. Mike Nelson is represented by Matt's Gallery, London; 303 Gallery, New York; and Galleria Franco Noero, Turin.
's latest collection of poems is November (Picador, 2011), a Poetry Book Society Choice. Its predecessor, The Drowned Book (Picador, 2007) won the T.S. Eliot and Forward Prizes. His collection of short stories, The Silence Room, was published by Comma in 2008 and his novel Afterlife by Picador in 2009. He is Professor of Creative Writing at Newcastle University.
(born 1969 in Warsaw) trained as a chemist but has devoted most of his professional life to writing about science fiction, as a journalist, writer, and blogger. Since 1997, he has been a regular columnist for Gazeta Wyborcza. He has published science fiction stories and opinion pieces in Nowa Fantastyka, and his books include What Are Sepulki? All About Lem (2010) and America Does Not Exist (2010).
is the author of many SF novels and stories, the latest of which is New Model Army (Gollancz 2010). He is Professor of Nineteenth-century Literature at Royal Holloway University of London, and he lives with his wife and two children a little way west of London. His three favourite Polish writers are, in order: Stanislaw Lem, Józef Teodor Korzeniowski and Wislawa Szymborska.
is the librarian of the Science Fiction Foundation Collection at the University of Liverpool Library and Course Director of the MA in Science Fiction Studies offered by the School of English. He is also Reviews Editor of Foundation: The International Review of Science Fiction. Long, long ago, he edited Matrix and Paperback Inferno for the British Science Fiction Association. Since then, he has published numerous articles, contributions to reference books, and reviews, including recent essays on Terry Pratchett, Gwyneth Jones, and Ursula le Guin. ‘Ramsey Campbell’s Haunted Liverpool’ was published in Writing Liverpool: Essays and Interviews edited by Michael Murphy and Deryn Rees-Jones (2007). In 2009 he co-edited (with David Ketterer) Plan for Chaos, a previously-unpublished novel by John Wyndham. He is the 2008 recipient of the Clareson Award for services to science fiction.
is a new writer whose recent prizes include the Writers Inc Short Story Competition and the Calderdale Short Story Competition. She was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize in 2010 and was runner up in The Guardian Travel Writing Competition.
is a professional translator who was born and educated in England. After marrying in 1976, she spent five years in Poland and now lives in London. She is the editor of Kieslowski on Kieslowski. Her translated works include The Trilogy by K. Kieslowski and K. Piesiewicz, I Remember Nothing More by Alina Blady-Szwajger, The Journals of a White Sea Wolf, by Mariusz Wilk, The Witcher and The Blood of Elves, by Andrzej Sapkowski, and Death in Breslau, The End of the World in Breslau, Phantoms of Breslau and The Head of the Minotaur, by Marek Krajewski.
is a Polish film director, with over 30 films to his name. He graduated from the School of Fine Arts in Warsaw and the National Film School in Lódz. His films have received numerous awards, including the award for Best Science Fiction Film Director at Eurocon in 1984 for War of the Worlds – Next Century. He is also the author of three books and numerous essays and teaches at the National Film School in Lódz.
wrote the Screen Story for Steven Spielberg’s film A.I. Artificial Intelligence – based on 10 months’ work with Stanley Kubrick – the popular Inquisition War trilogy and Space Marine for Games Workshop, and has produced a further 25 novels and 10 story collections of SF, fantasy, and horror, as well as a book of poetry, The Lexicographer’s Love Song. Most recently he wrote with Italian surrealist Roberto Quaglia The Beloved of My Beloved (NewCon Press), a transgressive volume of tales that may be the only full-length genre fiction from two authors with different mother tongues, and with Ian Whates he co-edited The Mammoth Book of Alternate Histories. In the late 1960s he lived in Tokyo, after completing a research degree in English and French literature at Oxford, and subsequently spent some time in Tanzania, though for the past 30 years he has dwelt in a little village in rural Northamptonshire.