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Episode notes

Stanisław Lem was a science-fiction writer whose works, abilities and quirky sense of humor convinced Phillip K. Dick that he was too brilliant to exist and must have actually been a committee of people! Indeed his rare gift for blending philosophy with technology and action made him an instantaneously recognisable voice in the European sci-fi world and elevated him to the heights of popularity and critical acclaim.

But Lem’s life was far from a textbook success story. Throughout his life, he struggled with traumatic wartime memories, distorted identities, and the communist system. But somehow, he was able to turn all the hardships and obstacles into elements of the incredible universes he created in his novels.

In this episode, our hosts Nitzan and Adam will try to unravel some of the most confusing mysteries surrounding Lem: why did he choose to abandon his pre-war identity? How on Earth did he foresee the Internet in the 1960s? Is it true that he learned English from a dictionary in a week?

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Further reading Further watching Thanks

Agnieszka Gajewska // professor of literary studies, author of ‘Holocaust and the Stars: The Past in the Prose of Stanisław Lem’ (available in English from November 2021) and ‘Hasło: Feminizm’.

Wojciech Orliński // a Polish journalist, writer, and blogger, author of the best-selling Lem biography ‘Lem: Życie Nie z tej Ziemi’ (Lem: A Life Out of This World). You can enjoy his incredible sense of humour on his blog (which he writes in Polish).

Wiktor Jaźniewicz // Belarus’s premier ‘lemologist’, and owner of a ‘lemologic cabinet’ that you can see for yourself here.


Written & produced by Wojciech Oleksiak Edited by Adam Zulawski Hosted by Nitzan Reisner & Adam Zulawski Scoring & sound design by Wojciech Oleksiak