Stanislaw Lem

Stanislaw Lem was born September 21, 1931 in Lwow, Poland. Using his father's connections, Lem studied medicine at Lwow University during the Soviet occupation of Poland. During WWII he used false papers to earn a living and became active in the resistance. In 1945, the Lem family was resettled in Krakow and Stanislaw resumed his medical studies at Jagiellonian University. He purposely failed his final examinations so he could avoid being a military doctor.

In 1946, Lem began his writing career, publishing poetry, several dime novels and his first science fiction novel, The Man from Mars. He continued to work as a research assistant and publishing short stories and essays through 1950. Getting works to publication during Stalinism was much more difficult however. Several of Lem's works were suppressed by authorities and revisions with references to the glorious future of communism were forced upon him.

He wrote 17 books between 1956 and 1968. It was early in this period that Lem began to publish philosophical works. Dialogi and Summa Techologiae are lauded for being a unique analysis of prospective advances in cybernetics and biology. He discussed virtual reality and nanotechnology and their philosophical implications.

In 1973 Lem was invited to join the Science Fiction Writers of America. He was soon expelled from the organization however, due to critical remarks on the low standards of American science fiction. He was a member of the Polish Writers Association and received several Polish and international awards for literature. His books have been translated into at least 35 languages and have sold more than 27 million copies. Lem died on March 27, 2006 due to heart disease. He was 84.

The Invincible

"Ace Science Fiction Specials have brought into paperback such classics as The Left Hand of Darkness, Picnic on Paradise, Rite of Passage, The Jagged Orbit and A Wizard of Earthsea. This tradition of selecting exceptional works by well-established masters, as well as by talented newcomers to the SF world, is being maintained by a numbered series of novels making their paperback debut. These works, chosen for their high quality, are the classics of the future. The European master's internationally renowned novel of the titanic starship that was the symbol of man's dominion over the cosmos, the visible proof of his price and power, challenged by the unknown and hostile powers of an alien planet."

Original Publication: Seabury Press, 1973
This Edition: Avon, 1975
Cover Art: Unknown
Format: Paperback

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The Chain of Chance

"A series of mysterious deaths baffles the Italian police. At a seaside respot in southern Italy, a number of tourists - all of them middle-aged men and foreigners - vanish, go mad, or die. What is the plot behind this pattern? A former astronaut turned private investigator is dispatched from the U.S. to unravel the mystery, which he tries to do by setting himself up as a decoy. Just as he is on the verge of giving up in despair, violent events erupt. But the pattern of cause and effect reveals itself only through a series of extraordinary yet fully credible coincidences. The author charges his plot with dimensions new to the genre. Advanced speculative thought and sophisticated knowledge of cybernetic technology inform The Chain of Chance, giving each startling twist of the story depth and density and truly challenging the reader's mind. "

Original Publication: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, August 1978
This Edition: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, August 1978
Cover Art: Wendell Minor
Format: Paperback

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The Cyberiad

"With over six million of his books in print worldwide, Stanislaw Lem is perhaps the most popular - and most critically acclaimed - science fiction writer of our day. In The Cyberiad he immerses the reader in a future run by and for machines - like those built by Trurl and Klapaucius, the great "cosmic constructors" who are, themselves, robots. The Cyberiad follows their escapades as they attempt to "out-invent" each other at home, or undertake (and often botch completely) gargantuan cybernetic feats in other galaxies: creating laser-eyed beasts, electronic push-button poetry-spouting bards, and machines that can construct anything in the universe...as long as it begins with the letter n. Drawing on fairy tale, folk tale, and mythology - as well as modern philosophical and mathematical thought - Lem has created a brilliant, deeply resonant work of genius."

Original Publication: Seabury Press, 1974
This Edition: Avon, March 1976
Cover Art: Stanislaw Fernandes
Format: Paperback

Notes:

Translated from Polish by Michael Kandel. Interior artwork by Daniel Mroz. Contents: Trurl's Machine, A Good Shellacking, The First Sally or The Trap of Gargantius, The First Sally or Trurl's Electronic Bard, The Second Sally or The Offer of King Krool, The Third Sally or The Dragons of Probability, The Fourth Sally of How Trurl Build a Femfatalatron to Save Prince Pantagoon from the Pangs of Love and Hor Later He Resorted to a Cannonade of Babies, The Fifth Sally or The Mischief of King Balerion, The Fifth Sally or Trurl's Prescription, The Sixth Sally or How Trurl and Klapaucius Created a Demon of the Second Kind to Defeat the Pirate Pugg, The Seventh Sally or How Trurl's Own Perfection Led to No Good, Tale of the Three Storytelling Machines of King Genius, Altruizine or A True Account of How Bonhomius the Hermetic Hermit Tried to Bring About Universal Happiness and What Came of it and Prince Ferrix and the Princess Crystal

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The Investigation

"With over six million of his books in print worldwide, Stanislaw Lem is perhaps the most popular - and most critically acclaimed - science fiction writer of our day. In The Investigation he dazzles the reader with the metaphysical sleuthings of Lt. Gregory of Scotland Yard, and Sciss, the brilliantly unorthodox statistician, as they probe both the underworld and the "other world" hoping to explain the inexplicable. When bodies fantastically shift position and disappear from morgues across England, circumstantial speculation at first suggests a human culprit...a bodysnatcher...a psychopathic deviant. But fact soon rules out any conclusion based on the laws of logic - and it becomes increasingly apparent that the real solution lies beyond the mind, beyond this world. With characteristic virtuosity, Lem challenges our tangible realities, creating an eerie and tantalizing blend of detective story and science fiction that culminates in a mind-jolting climax."

Original Publication: Seabury Press, 1974
This Edition: Avon, July 1976
Cover Art: Stanislaw Fernandes
Format: Paperback

Notes:

Translated from Polish by Adele Milch.

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