Via james_nicoll and others: The man who gave us Ijon Tichy, Trurl and Klapaucius, the planet Solaris and GOLEM XIV has died at the age of 84. (Many Americans may have been unaware that he was still alive, since he stopped writing fiction about 20 years ago and his later nonfiction essays and commentary have mostly not been translated into English.)
Though I've only read him in translation, Stanislaw Lem was one of my very favorite writers in any genre or language. His astonishing body of work was mostly a response to the horrors and absurdities of the 20th century, and I am sorry to say that it is still relevant to our age. Though he was a cranky pessimist to the end, he expressed it in his fiction with an exuberance of imagination unmatched since Olaf Stapledon, and often with a wicked, hyperintellectual sense of humor. When I stumbled on The Cyberiad in my youth, I was never the same again.
If you haven't been introduced to Lem's work, my own Lemography is one place to start, as is Lem's official web site.
Matt McIrvin's Steam-Operated World of Yesteryear
- Stanislaw Lem (1921-2006)