The Hospital of Transfiguration

The Hospital of Transfiguration

"The Hospital of Transfiguration" marks the beginning of Lem's writing.  It is a different novel – contemporary, even a „war novel”. Yet the author managed – within the confinement of a psychiatric hospital, separated from the outside world – to stage a drama of one man strangely torn between his mind and body, desperately seeking meaning of life and trying to save his ethical instinct in the face of the new European nihilism  attacking both from the outside and from the inside – in the form of a disease of the soul. Contrary to what might seem in "Hospital of Transfiguration" lie the roots of the most important of Lem's science fiction works.

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Stanislaw LemYet his writing reached far beyond the borders of the genre. In addition to many novels and stories, he composed a huge philosophical treatise on the relation of human beings and machines, a good deal of pungently argued literary criticism, a volume of reviews of nonexistent books, a stochastic theory of narrative fiction, an experimental detective novel, speculative essays dealing with artificial intelligence, cybernetics, cosmology, genetic engineering, game theory, sociology, and evolution, radio plays and screenplays. Such staggering polymathic curiosity over such a vast range of material, all of it explored with lucidity and charm, gives his writing a unique place on a Venn diagram in which the natural sciences, philosophy, and literature shade into one another with mutually intensifying vividness and fascination.

Paul Grimstad, The New Yorker, January 6, 2019