By Peter Swirski

A sequence of interviews and important dialogues with the past due Stanislaw Lem whose writings were translated into over forty languages and feature offered over 35 million copies. if you happen to basically recognize him as a novelist, A Stanislaw Lem Reader is a wonderful creation to Lem's philosophy, clinical hypothesis, literary feedback, and social concept, whereas closing completely obtainable to readers surprising with any of his works.

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The conviction that one has learned all there is to learn is one of the most pernicious selfdelusions that can ever befall anybody. Swirski: Your last thoughts on literature and philosophy? Lem: My last thoughts? I am a staunch adherent to the maxim that literature, much as philosophy, should never bore its readers to death. Reading should never be a matter of struggling through a jungle of words and concepts, with difficulty and discomfort, in order to grasp what should come naturally. All things considered, I also respect thinkers of courage.

I have long been a member of Carl Sagan's Conference on Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (CETI), the commission devoted to the study of, and later also the search for, extraterrestrial civilizations. One characteristic point about their analyses has been that, over the years, they continuously had to magnify the putative distances among cosmic civilizations, increasing them first to tens and later to thousands of light years. And still we cannot find anybody out there. The enigma is growing bigger and bigger.

In Poland it was always difficult to find converts to this creed, but many citizens of the Soviet Union believed it for a long time. Indeed, this is the very nature of the psychemical world I described in The Futurological Congress, only the role performed in our real world by ordinary lying propaganda was played in the novel by psychemical technologies. So, in a sense, this particular virtual-reality solution is also a metaphor that should not always be taken literally. I will give you another example: when I wrote my first novel, The Astronauts, one renowned physicist wrote to me that with the parameters of power and thrust which I gave the rocket, it could never fly to Venus.

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