Friday, 30 September 2011

Ra Page & Magda Raczyńska (eds), Lemistry. A Celebration of the Work of Stanisław Lem (2011)

I can't review this title (much as I would like to) because I'm in it; but I can plug it, and more importantly urge and exhort you to seek out the extraordinary, brilliant writing of Lem himself. So, go on: buy a copy (I've been paid the fee for my small contribution and get no share of royalties, so accept this as a disinterested recommendation). It's in three parts: the first being three hitherto-unavailable-in-the-UK short stories by Lem himself (all very ably translated into English by Antonia Lloyd-Jones). The second, longest portion of the volume is original fiction by Frank Cottrell Boyce, Toby Litt, Annie Clarkson, the marvellous Ian Watson, Trevor Hoyle, er, me, Piotr Szulkin, the legendary Brian Aldiss, sarah Schofield, Wojciech Orlinkski, the excellent Adam Marek, Sean O'Brien and Jacek Dukaj. Some of these writers aim to reproduce, with expert, living pastiche, the authentic Lemmy tone (which is ace-of-spadestastic, of course); others, including me, work more broadly within a Lemmish or Lemic or Lemony mode. The final section is a fascinating series of non-fictional responses to Lem, including a very good essay by Andy Sawyer that starts to get to the bottom of Lem's uniqueness and enduring appeal.

7 comments:

Mike said...

I was going to buy that immediately but it's not available to order from outside the UK (despite what the page link suggests).

Mike said...

Never mind. I skipped the publisher's site and just ordered through normal channels.

I'm reminded I need to find time to listen to the audio book of the unabridged version of Solaris. Fie on Faber & Faber for blocking a book version for so many years!

Serdar Yegulalp said...

Lem? Sold.

mdlachlan said...

Yeah - review your own work in a language people can understand, why don't you?
Also, read this and weep:
http://www.literature-map.com/mark+barrowcliffe.html
Having said that, Lem is clearly da man and I shall deffo get this.

Adam Roberts said...

Lem floating perilously close to Dan Brown there in that diagram --

Yes: plain English for me. I plan to review your next novel in Sanksrit.

(Seriously, though: Dan Brown? I can't think of a writer with which you've less in common.)

Mike said...

Seeing Alan Dean Foster wedged between Voltaire and Conrad made me tiptoe quietly away from the site.

mdlachlan said...

To be fair, the Lem was something of a mystery too.
I think it's what people who read you read. Brown is so ubiquitous he pops up all over the place, said the esteemed 47 year old as he grasped chokingly for the rationalisation his years of top-flight education had told him was necessary and that his wise-old father had told him so many times he needed, as he stuffed his redolent pipe.