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Stanislaw Lem’s Futurism (2014) (nautil.us)
91 points by emptybits 11 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 16 comments

Do watch "Solaris"[0], the 1972 USSR Andrei Tarkovsky[1] science fiction film inspired by the Lem book. Even if you'ree not into science fiction . It's magnificent.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solaris_(1972_film) [1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrei_Tarkovsky

In what way do you find the film to be magnificient? I found it to be extremely boring. I also read the book, thinking that the movie might misrepresent it, but alas, the book was even more boring. Literally nothing happens. The molasses like plot really conveys the feelings of the researchers in the book. You spend ages studying the text with barely any payout.

Many things happen. None of them are stock superhero/villain Hollywood Explodium.

If you want your science fiction to spoon feed you thrills and wisecracks, neither Lem nor Tarkovsky are going to be a good fit for you.

Edit: see also -


> Many things happen. None of them are stock > superhero/villain Hollywood Explodium.

One can find a particular movie or book boring without being a simpleton who needs "stock superhero/villain Hollywood Explodium", so please drop the snobbery.

The Cyberiad cracks fairly wise.

Try The Futurological Congress - that is brilliantly funny (avoid the movie however which is abysmally unfunny).

Lem is the master of books where nothing happens. It's definitely an acquired taste. His Master's Voice and Fiasco are both books with classical science fiction premises which are then completely undermined when the characters proceed to achieve nothing - except perhaps a recognition of the punyness of human intellect.

I've found that (as also with JG Ballard) you need to be in a very "slow" mindset to enjoy them. But the sense of almost...well...boredom is definitely part of the experience.

I think his funny/philosophical books are much better. Like Cyberiad. Not much room for boredom there.

The Soderberg remake is excellent and adapts the pacing to more familiar levels.

Here's a short story of Lem's that was only recently rediscovered and translated:


Thanks for sharing this!

Good article but I'm mighty tired of this clichéd opening to seemingly everything I read.

>on a warm September evening in San Francisco, where I was relaxing

>In math, a “singularity” is a function that takes on an infinite value, usually to the detriment of an equation’s sense and sensibility. In physics, the term usually refers...

The dictionary defines "singularity" as...

>...you will find a challenge, if not a beauty; and that you will proceed in your own way after all, since in casting off man, man will save himself.”

In short, the future is a land of contrasts.

I just finished "Memoirs Found in a Bathtub":

"Why, the Trojan Horse marked the birth of cryptoequestrianism!"

"Hey, the Building, hey! What makes the Building stay? The Antibuilding makes it stay! Hey!"

I reread this periodically and every time am blown away at the paranoiac weirdness of that one. It's a nice balance of the 'zany' Lem (Futurological Congress) and the 'serious' Lem.

Read "The futurology congress". That's both plain crazy and so prescient, a wonder.

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