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Stanislaw Lem

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Stanislav Lem (1921-2006) was a Polish science fiction, philosophical, and satirical writer. There are six million copies of Lem's novels, short stories and plays in print throughout Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. Over two dozen of his works have been translated into English. Among the best known are Solaris (1970) which has been made into two films, The Cyberiad (1974; perhaps his best work), The Futurological Congress (1974), and The Star Diaries (1976). Trained to be a physician, and "brought up with the scientific outlook" by his father who was also a physician, he subsequently "spent many hours over coffee arguing about God" with his friend Karol Wojtyla who taught theology in Cracow and who is now better known as Pope John-Paul II. In an interview, Lem indicated his thinking on religion: "for moral reasons I am an atheist -- for moral reasons. I am of the opinion that you would recognize a creator by his creation, and the world appears to me to be put together in such a painful way that I prefer to believe that it was not created by anyone than to think that somebody created this intentionally" (L. W. Michaelson, "A Conversation with Stanislaw Lem": Amazing (Jan. 1981): 116-19. Peter Engel, "An Interview With Stanislaw Lem": The Missouri Review, 7, 2 (1984): 218-37. Also see Raymond Federman, "An Interview with Stanislaw Lem," Science-Fiction Studies, 10 (1983): 2-14).