Planet LEM

Below please find the final five (from 44) architectures projects of the “Planet Lem” — a Literature and Language Centre in Krakow dedicated to Stanislaw Lem.

Golem XIV and the talking bacteria

imaginary_magnitude_reviewIt has been said, and with much justice, that Stanislaw Lem has transformed science fiction from a genre to a literature.

lem imaginary magnitude mandarinHis current collection of short stories, essays and obiter dicta bear out this high characterization because it shows that Lem has lost none of his inventive powers, ironical musings, corruscating wit and narrative skills. The concept of Imaginary Magnitude is itself thought provoking: In the next century people will be too busy to read books from cover to cover. Accordingly Lem provides us with the prefaces to important volumes.

In these prefaces Lem parodies the literary shorthand so often found in the preamble of multi-volume histories of science, art and literature. The Lem approach is to caricature bibliographical pretentiousness and the other esoterica of the publishing scene. Lem’s caricatural skills go far beyond style. In his introduction to “Bitic Literature,” be instructs the reader in a new genre which the future will produce: “work of nonhuman origin — one whose real author is not a human being.”

In the fantasy which Lem concocts, all of Bitic studies arc subjected to scientific analysis while a special emphasis is placed on four “peaks,” namely monoetics, mimesis sophocrisis and apostasy.

The high point in Lem’s reconstruction of future umes is his introduction to “Eruntics,” in which the Golem XIV and the talking bacteria reader is treated to a highly sober account of how Reginald Gulliver (the name is not accidental), an amateur bacteriologist, decided to teach bacteria English.
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stanislaw_lem_provocation“Provocation” is probably one of the most important of Lem’s essays, unfortunately never translated into English. It is a review of a non-existent book about the Holocaust. The review was so suggestive that one of the members of the Commission for the Investigation of Nazi Crimes in Poland had publicly claimed to have this non-existent book in his library.

If a crime is not a sporadic transgression of norms, but a rule shaping life and death, it creates its own autonomy, just as culture does. […] With respect to industrialized crime traditional categories of guilt and punishment, repentance and revenge, become helpless.