Discussion Topics

(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

How is Stanisaw Lem’s medical background expressed in his fiction?

How does living in former Eastern Bloc countries affect Lem’s writing?

Similarities have been suggested between Lem’s work and that of H. G. Wells, Arthur C. Clarke, and Gregory Benford. Do you agree or disagree, and why?

Does Lem’s work differ significantly from other Eastern Bloc science-fiction writers, such as Boris and Arkady Strugatsky or Yevgeny Zamyatin?

How is religion portrayed in Lem’s fiction, if at all?


(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Baranczak, Stanisaw. “Highcastle: A Remembrance.” The New Republic, May 20, 1996, 39-41. Baranczak uses Lem’s memoir as an excuse to explore the diversity of Lem’s canon, the subtlety and humor of his political satire, and the underlying implications of his decision to focus on his lost youth in Lvov.

Barnouw, Dagman. “Science Fiction as a Model for Probablistic Worlds: Stanisaw Lem’s Fantastic Empiricism.” Science-Fiction Studies 6 (1979): 153-163. Examines Lem’s concept of science fiction as a cognitive aesthetic model whereby he focuses on contemporary social and psychological behavior.

Davis, J. Madison. Stanisaw Lem. Mercer Island, Wash.: Starmont House, 1990. Though Davis does not discuss all Lem’s works in detail, he does provide thorough discussions of his major novels and many of his short stories, showing the development of Lem’s thought as reflected in his fiction. Includes a chronology, a biographical sketch, and extensive annotated primary and secondary bibliographies.

Freedman, Carl. Critical Theory and Science Fiction. Hanover, N.H.: Wesleyan University Press, 2000. Discusses Lem’s novel Solaris, along with works by Samuel R. Delaney. Ursula K. Le Guin, Philip K. Dick, and Joanna Russ.

Macdonald, Gina. “Lem, Stanisaw.” In Twentieth-Century Science-Fiction Writers, edited by Curtis C. Smith. 2d ed. Chicago: St. James Press, 1986. Macdonald offers a brief biographical sketch and overview discussion of Lem’s work.

Malmgren, Carl D. “Self and Other in SF: Alien Encounters.” Science-Fiction Studies 20 (March, 1993): 15-33. Argues that Lem uses alien encounters to probe the limits of human understanding and knowledge; claims that for Lem communication with aliens is problematic, conducted...

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