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[Comments] (5) Solaris: We were talking to Zed Lopez and he mentioned there was some author one book of whose he's never read, because he doesn't want to live in a world where he's read all of this person's work. I don't think he meant it as dramatically as all that, but it brought to mind my own similar pledge about Stanislaw Lem. I've read all the available English translations of his work, except Solaris. I have Solaris, I just didn't want to live in a world in which I'd read all of Lem.

But that conversation with Zed made me realize that living in a world with no more Lem to read was much better than dying without having read all of Lem. And those are the only two options, barring a tricky race-condition maneuver. So over the past week I read Solaris on the subway. And now there's no more English Lem for me to read.

I don't think I'll ever write anything as good as Solaris but I'm pretty sure I can do better than the English translation of Solaris. Not really recommended; for pure mind-blowing Lem action it's gotta be His Master's Voice or Fiasco.

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Posted by kirkjerk at Wed Apr 06 2011 16:19

How do you rank his-- I dunno, "harder-scifi"? novels against the Cyberiad?

(What a translation job that was. I ended up thinking "wow, so this is what someone reading "Escher Godel Bach in another language must feel". Assuming the translation was amazing.)

Posted by Leonard at Wed Apr 06 2011 20:06

Cyberiad is awesome (the translation is also awesome) but it's not mind-blowing, at least to me when I read it. HMV and Fiasco read like hard SF that rejects the basic premises of hard SF. Very few writers do that. Ted Chiang, sometimes.

I say "read like" because it's not really very hard SF. Lem is just amazingly good at technobabble.

Posted by Tim May at Wed Apr 06 2011 20:36

The English Solaris isn't even a direct translation, it's a translation of the French translation.

Obviously your logical next step is to learn Polish.

Posted by Leonard at Thu Apr 07 2011 05:15

I've considered it, believe me.

Posted by Ben Heaton at Thu Apr 07 2011 23:00

You could also try to get other people to translate the remaining untranslated material, through economic incentives or threats.


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