Lem

Literary Criticism and Pearls Before Swine

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Several years ago, I ran a review of "Microworlds" by Stanislaw Lem in which he defended Literary Criticism. This was a new idea to me, and I later ran a few other articles on the subject, generally with me taking the "Literary Criticism is keen" POV, and pretty much everyone else saying that literary criticism is evil, wicked, nasty, and altogether bad for your skin.

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BOOK REVIEW: “The Star Diaries” by Stanislaw Lem (1971)

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You know, I think I might be getting smarter. Well, realistically, that’s not possible - my neurology is pretty much locked-in at this stage in life, and in fact I’m loosing cells, but I’m better educated than I was, say, 15 years ago. I know more. If I’m not actually smarter, at least I’m thinking better - that’s got to count for something, right?

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BOOK REVIEW: “The Invincible” by Stanislaw Lem (1964, English Translation 1973)

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What we’ve got here is your basic “Mysterious Planet” kind of storyline, a basic puzzle-box mystery where weird shenanigans are going on, and we’re given specifically odd facts with which to figure out exactly what’s what. It’s a popular Science Fiction Mystery format, which dates from the Victorian Proto-SF “Mysterious Island” novels which date from even earlier fictional travelogues, which themselves no doubt descended from the whole gaggle of “Crazy lands across the western ocean” stories that have been replete in literature since time immemorial.

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"Is it it really Science Fiction, or just Fantasy? What is that pulp you're chewing on made of?"

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The other day we talked about Stanisalw Lem and the lack of literary criticism in SF, and today I‘d like to revisit that a bit. I've been thinking about SF a lot lately. Obviously, I'm a fan, but also I've kind of been goaded in this direction by some literary criticism I've been reading by other SF writers (Basically Lem and Ellison), and I've hit on something that's an interesting paradox in SF, or at least in pulp SF.

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Legendary Science Fiction Author Stanislaw Lem Rags On Science Fiction As A Genre

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“In the Science Fiction of today, there is not the slightest chance that genuine myths and theologies might arise, because the thing itself is a bastard of myths gone to the dogs. The science fiction of today resembles a ‘Graveyard of Gravity,’ in which the subgenre of literature that promised the cosmos to mankind dreams away its defeat in onanistic delusions and chimeras – onanistic because they are anthropocentric. The task of the science-fiction author of today is as easy as that of the pornographer, and in the same way.

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