Like most people, I knew Stanislaw Lem through his most famous book, Solaris. Or rather, not the book, but the film. And not the Andrei Tarkovsky version I should have seen at film school, but the Stephen Soderbergh version starring George Clooney. So when Comma Press asked me to write a short story for this tribute book, I felt like I didn’t have the right…until I started reading Lem’s stories.
Lem inspired so much of the sci-fi I grew up on – Douglas Adams, Red Dwarf, The Matrix. His influence has been enormous. Even if you don’t know you know Stanislaw Lem, the chances are, you do, via someone who was influenced by him.
In writing for the book, I was inspired by Lem’s sympathy for robots. My story Terracotta Robot, takes place at an old factory for terracotta war machines, which has now become a tourist attraction.
Lemistry brings together British and Polish novelists, screenwriters, poets, computer engineers, and artists, to celebrate Lem through short stories and essays – two literary forms in which Lem kicked-ass.
As one of the barriers to Lem’s fame was language, this book also has specially commissioned translations of three of his short stories that have never before appeared in English.
Here’s a video about the book, and the launch at the British Library, from the Polish Cultural Institute:
…and the full list of contributors: Brian Aldiss, Frank Cottrell Boyce, Annie Clarkson, Dr. Sarah Davies, Jacek Dukaj, Prof. Steve Furber, Trevor Hoyle, Prof. Hod Lipson, Toby Litt, Antonia Lloyd-Jones, Adam Marek, Mike Nelson, Sean O’brien, Wojciech Orlinski, Adam Roberts, Andy Sawyer, Sarah Schofield, Danusia Stok, Piotr Szulkin, And Ian Watson.