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Ivan Finotti: One of the levels that "Solaris" can be understood is about a world where all our desires could came true and how this would be bad, instead of being good. Was this idea the motivation behind your book or there are others?
Stanislaw Lem: I do not engage in interpretation of my books - I leave this task to the reader. And I never sat down at my writing desk with a complete plan of the entire book. The last chapter of Solaris was written after a year's break. I had to put away that book, since I did not know what to do with my hero. Today I cannot even recall why I was unable to finish it for such a long time... I recall only that the first part was written in one spurt, fluently and with ease, while the second was finished after a long time on some lucky day.
The thing is that I do not possess a finished picture of the whole piece. When I led Kelvin to the Solaris station and made him see the frightened, drunken Snaut, I did not know myself what made him so anxious. I had no idea why Snaut was so afraid of a totally innocent stranger. At that time I didn't know - but soon I was to find out, because I kept on writing.
In one of the Brazilian's edition of "Solaris" (edited by Círculo do Livro in the eighties), there's a postface by Darko Suvin, where he writes this: "Does Mr. Lem exists? We denied rumors that he was a computer who was using the initial letters for Lunar Excursion Module (L.E.M.)" This is very curious. This rumor really happened or it is only a joke from Mr. Suvin? If it happened, tell something about it.
On September 2, 1974 Philip K. Dick sent the following letter to the FBI:
What is involved here is not that these persons are Marxists per se or even that Fitting, Rottensteiner and Suvin are foreign-based but that all of them without exception represent dedicated outlets in a chain of command from Stanislaw Lem in Krakow, Poland, himself a total Party functionary (I know this from his published writing and personal letters to me and to other people). For an Iron Curtain Party group - Lem is probably a composite committee rather than an individual, since he writes in several styles and sometimes reads foreign, to him, languages and sometimes does not - to gain monopoly positions of power from which they can control opinion through criticism and pedagogic essays is a threat to our whole field of science fiction and its free exchange of views and ideas.
Their main successes would appear to be in the fields of academic articles, book reviews and possibly through our organization the control in the future of the awarding of honors and titles. I think, though, at this time, that their campaign to establish Lem himself as a major novelist and critic is losing ground; it has begun to encounter serious opposition: Lem's creative abilities now appear to have been overrated and Lem's crude, insulting and downright ignorant attacks on American science fiction and American science fiction writers went too far too fast and alienated everyone but the Party faithful (I am one of those highly alienated).
It is a grim development for our field and its hopes to find much of our criticism and academic theses and publications completely controlled by a faceless group in Krakow, Poland. What can be done, though, I do not know.
(Please keep in mind Mr. Dick was most probably suffering from schizophrenia)