Lem at Amazon

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“The Man from Mars,” the very first novel by Lem, had been forgotten for years.  It tells a story of „the war of the worlds” - a group of people concealed in a laboratory fights a cyborg from Mars.  On the engineering, technological and literary level this story has a lot in common with the classics of the genre (i.e. H.G. Wells). The book is a great reading.    Inquiring readers will notice topics preset in Lem's later, more mature works.



I wrote Czlowiek z Marsa (The Man from Mars) with the sole intention of earning money. This novel appeared in a dime-magazine published in Katowice. The first Polish edition, a pirate one, appeared in one of the fanzines. Regardless of my own current opinion of this work this novella obviously became a certain literary fact. Regretfully, the author sometimes cannot withdraw what has been written and published. Due to the nature of some Gallery of Coverscontracts with publishers who obtained rights to all my works I was unable to stop certain foreign publications. After Czlowiek z Marsa appeared in Germany I came to the conclusion that although this novella is poor and naive - I should give permission for a Polish edition as well. Nevertheless authors sometimes wish to hide and bury their beginnings at the "Cemetery of General Non-reading".

The street sizzled. The clatter of skytrains, the car horns, the rattle of speeding trolleys, the twitter of traffic lights and the massive hubbub of human voices, all seethed in dark blue air, sliced into smithereens by columns of light of all colors and shades. Like giant serpents, endless throngs poured this way and that, filling sidewalks to capacity, lit up by square shop windows and by house lights sinking into the twilight. Freshly watered asphalt hissed under hundreds of car tires. Slithery black and silver bodies of elongated vehicles flitted by, one after another.

Without aim or thought I kept walking, a small indivisible particle pressed into the crowd, letting it carry me like a cork buoyed by waves.

The street breathed, murmured and rumbled, drenching me with cascades of lights and wafts of women's heavy perfumes, sometimes with the acrid sharp smoke of southern cigarettes, other times with the choking sweetness of opium-laced cigars. Neon letters of dimming and illuminating advertisements scampered frenetically up the fronts of buildings, fountains swooshed upward, wisps of flares and fireworks flickered madly, showering the heads in the crowd with their dying glints.

translation by Peter Swirsky published by "Words without Borders": read more...