March 28th, 2006



According to Slashdot, Stanislaw Lem has just died.

I only tried reading one of his books once, and I forget which one, but I found it utterly tedious. It may even have been the Cyberiad, which I have also flicked through at a library. I've also never seen Solaris in any of its forms.

Mainly, I know Lem from the stylistic book covers on sf shelves - the white background, the chunky coloured LEM that always made me think he didn't have any other name.

That, and the fortune file.

For those of you not familiar with fortune, see the Wikipedia entry, which even notes the Cyberiad as one of the popular sources. Suffice to say, I'm often greeted by an entertaining snatch of text, and sometimes, it'd be LEM:

Cancel me not -- for what then shall remain?
Abscissas, some mantissas, modules, modes,
A root or two, a torus and a node:
The inverse of my verse, a null domain.
-- Stanislaw Lem, "Cyberiad"

There are quite a few like that, love poems in mathematical terms. But my favorite is, I think, the result from challenge to recite famous biblical epics, using only words that begin with the 19th letter of the English alphabet:

Seduced, shaggy Samson snored.
She scissored short. Sorely shorn,
Soon shackled slave, Samson sighed,
Silently scheming,
Sightlessly seeking
Some savage, spectacular suicide.
-- Stanislaw Lem, "Cyberiad"

  • Current Music
    Steal My Sunshine, by LEN (close enough)