Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Book Reviews: From political histories to bad comics, to bad comics of political histories. And the occasional rant about fiction and writing.

Stanislaw Lem dies

Jerry Stratton, March 27, 2006

Author and satirist Stanislaw Lem died today in Poland. He was 84. It’s almost funny that most of the reports are misspelling the title of one of his more famous books: it is Pirx the Pilot, not Prix. Both Reuters and the Associated Press appear to be making this mistake, and so of course is everyone copying them.

Most other outlets are putting “author of Solaris” in the headline, probably because that book was made into a mainstream movie. However, Stanislaw Lem ranks among the best political and sociological satirists. His writings came out of communist Poland and the censorship that everyone had to deal with under the U.S.S.R., but his works speak to the world. His Futurological Congress and Memoirs Found in a Bathtub should be on everyone’s reading list. The Cyberiad is also brilliant; all are hilariously funny, absurd, and grotesque at the same time.

The first book of his that I read was Memoirs Found in a Bathtub. I picked it up at the local supermarket in the seventies because it had a very strange cover. That was possibly the first really good satire to cross my path, and I kept an eye out for Lem’s works ever since. I’ve kept that book, and still have it. It’s a little faded now, but it is still a great read.

  1. <- Bound by Law
  2. Princess of Mars ->