March 30, 2006

Who is (was) Stanislaw Lem?

Had never heard of the guy, considered a giant of mid-20th-century science fiction, 'in a league with Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov and Philip K. Dick', who 'addressed many of the themes they did: the meaning of human life among superintelligent machines, the frustrations of communicating with aliens, the likelihood that mankind could understand a universe in which it was but a speck.', until today when I read that he died on March 27, 2006

Despite (or maybe because of) my deep interest in astronomy and science , I have never really gotten into sci-fi. And so, while I have heard of the Clooney starrer movie, Solaris, once I knew it was a sci-fi movie, I never considered seeing it or even reading reviews of the movie to learn more about what it is about. But the reason I write about it today is this hilarious quote I found today by Stanislaw Lem, author of the sci-fi novel, Solaris, who

"America was exporting Stinger missiles to Afghanistan, where they were used to shoot Soviet helicopters. Now the Stingers spread all over the world and Americans are scared, that they will shoot their civilian airplanes. The law of free market rules everywhere. Beate Uhse, queen of German sex-industry, sells yearly six millions of various sexual gadgets. That is technology, too. They say, that the copulation dolls will be soon equipped in artificial intelligence. I don't believe that, because it takes no intelligence to copulate' - Stanislaw Lem, in an interview. (Another interview here.)

Another quote I found is also interesting..
'Oh, I read good books, too, but only Earthside. Why that is, I don't really know. Never stopped to analyze it. Good books tell the truth, even when they're about things that never have been and never will be. They're truthful in a different way. When they talk about outer space, they make you feel the silence, so unlike the Earthly kind - and the lifelessness. Whatever the adventures, the message is always the same: humans will never feel at home out there.' - from 'Pirx's Tale' in More Tales of Pirx The Pilot, 1983

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