ALIENS Visitors to other worlds in stories of the 17th and 18th centuries met no genuine alien beings; instead they found men and animals, sometimes wearing strange forms but always filling readily recognizable roles. /.../

Impressive attempts to present the alien not merely as unfamiliar but also as unknowable include Damon knight's "Stranger Station" (1956), several novels by Philip K. dick – including The Game-Players of Titan (1963), Galactic Pot-Healer (1969) and Our Friends From Frolix-8 (1970) – Stanisław lem's Solaris (1961; trans. 1970) and Philip mann's The Eye of the Queen (1982). Such contacts as these threaten the sanity of the contactees, as does the initial meeting of minds between human and alien intelligence in Fred hoyle's The Black Cloud (1957), but here – as in most such stories – the assumption is made that common intellectual ground of some sort must and can be found. /.../

This faith is at its most passionate in many stories in which first contact with aliens is achieved via radio telescopes; these frequently endow such an event with quasitranscendental significance. Stories which are sceptical of the benefits of such contact – examples are Fred hoyle's and John elliot's A for Andromeda (1962) and Stanisław Lem's His Master's Voice (1968; trans. 1983) – have been superseded by stories like James R. gunn's The Listener (fixup 1972), Robert Silverberg's Tower of Glass (1970), Ben bova's Voyagers (1981), Jeffrey carver's The Infinity Link (1984), Carl sagan's Contact (1985), and Frederick fichman's SETI (1990), whose optimism is extravagant. /.../ [BS]


ASTRONOMY Astronomers played the key role in developing the cosmic perspective that lies at the heart of sf. /.../

In the real world, various projects connected with SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) have been mounted or mooted, and many stories have proposed that the receipt of such a message would be the crucial event in the history of mankind. A satirical dissent from this view can be found in Stanisław lem's novel His Master's Voice (1968; trans. 1983), and there is also a paranoid school of thought which suggests that aliens whose own SETI discovers us might easily turn out to be very unfriendly; our radio telescopes nearly become the agents of our destruction in Frank crisp's The Ape of London (1959) and the tv serial a for andromeda. /.../ [NS]


AUTOMATION The idea that mechanical production processes might one day free mankind from the burden of labour is a common utopian dream, exemplified by Edward bellamy's Looking Backward, 2000-1887 (1888) and its modern counterpart, Mack reynolds's Looking Backward from the Year 2000 (1973). /.../

More recent developments of the theme include Stanisław lem's The Invincible (1964; trans. 1973) and James P. hogan's Code of the Lifemaker (1983), and such pointed satires as John T. sladek's The Reproductive System (1968 UK; vt Mechasm US) and Olaf johannesson's Sagan om den stora datamaskinin (1966; trans as The Tale of the Big Computer 1968; vt The Great Computer; vt The End of Man?). /.../ [BS]


BARRETT, NEAL Jr (1929- ) US writer who began publishing sf with "To Tell the Truth" for Gal in 1960 and who has contributed with some regularity to the sf magazines. /.../

Stress Pattern (1974), a densely constructed fable set on an alien planet whose profigate alienness is at points reminiscent of the worlds of Stanisław lem, was clearly more ambitious, and NB followed this striking work with the Aldair series – Aldair in Albion (1976), Aldair, Master of Ships (1977), Aldair, Across the Misty Sea (1980) and Aldair: The Legion of Beasts (1982) – whose baroque surface tends to disguise the alarming implications of the tale, for the hero is a genetically engineered humanoid pig, the far-future Earth he travels lacks real solace, and his discovery of humans ao another planet grants him no peace, for they themselves have been enslaved by a race of aliens. In retrospect, then, Through Darkest America (1987) and its sequel, Dawn's Uncertain Light (1989), which have gained NB considerable attention 30 years into his career, are a logical development of his earlier work. /.../ [JC]


CANADA 2. Sf in French. The great majority of Francophone sf autors live in Québec; there are very few in other provinces. /.../

In 1974 Norbert Spehner began publishing the fanzine Requiem, which rapidly grew into a literary magazine centred on sf and fantasy, publishing fiction as well as essays and reviews and becoming the focus for a nascent sf milieu. In 1979 Requiem became Solaris, while another important magazine, imagine..., was created by Jean-Marc Gouanvic, followed as editor by Catherine Saouter, Gouanvic again and, in 1900, Marc Lemaire. Meanwhile, in 1983, Spehner had passed Solaris on to a collective led by Élisabeth vonaburg as editor until Luc pomerleau took over in 1986. /.../ [LP]


CINEMA The basis on which films and film-makers have been selected for inclusion in this volume is discussed in the Introduction. /.../

Further east, both russia and Czechoslovakia made quite a few sf films, including Russia's planeta bur (1962; vt Planet of Storms) and Czechoslovakia's ikarie xb-1 (1963). /.../

One of the most complex and moving sf films to date is solaris (1972), the first sf film of Andrei tarkovsky, with its delicate meshing of images from inner and outer space. /.../ [PN]


COMMUNICATIONS Many aspects of communication in sf are dealt with under separate entries in this volume. /.../

Some of the most interesting sf communication stories are those which stress the ambiguity that may be involved in interspecies communication. Three particularly enigmatic novels on this theme are Rogue Moon (1960) by Algis budrys, Solaris (1961 Poland; trans 1970) by Stanisław lem and Whipping Star (1970) by Frank herbert. /.../ Lem's Solaris tells of the living planet of Solaris; humans in an orbital laboratory hope to communicate with the (hypothetical) planetary intelligence; when communication arrives it takes the form of replicating figures from the scientists' subconscious minds. All efforts at communication are thwarted by the anthropomorphism of the observers, and the novel asks the pessimistic question: will it ever be possible to transcend our human-centred view of the Universe, or is communication with the alien a contradiction in terms? /.../ [PN]


CRITICAL AND HISTORICAL WORKS ABOUT SF This entry restricts itself to works which generalize about sf, and only in passing mentions books or articles about specific authors of themes (for which see relevant entries). /.../

Other notable European critics are Michel butor, Boris Eizykman (1949- ), Vladimir gakov, Jörg Hienger (1927- ), Jean-Henri Holmberg, Julius kagarlitski, Gérard klein, Stanisław lem, Carlo pagetti, Franz rottensteiner, Martin Schwonke (1923- ), Jacques van Herp (1923- ) and Pierre versins. /.../ Some exceptionally controversial criticism by Stanisław lem has been published in English, although his much-discuddes Fantastyka i futurologia (1970 Poland), a full-length study of sf, has yet to be translated in full; a small part appeared, with other work, in Microworlds (coll trans 1985 US). /.../ [PN]


CYBERNETICS In sf terminology this is a word so often misused that its real meaning is in danger of being devalued or forgotten. /.../

Already-developed machine consciousnesses appear in Roger zelazny's story "For a Breath I Tarry" (1966), Cyberiada (coll of linked stories 1967 Poland; trans as The Cyberiad: Fables for the Cyberneric Age 1974 US) by Stanisław lem, all the Berserker stories by Fred saberhagen, The Siren Stars (1971) by Richard and Nancy carrigan and The Cybernetic Samurai (1985) by Victor milan. Of these – and they are only a tiny proportion of the total – Lem's fables are the ones that most directly confront the various philosophical paradoxes that machine intelligence involves. /.../ [PN]


FOSTER, M(ICHAEL) A(NTHONY) (1939- ) US writer, former data-systems analyst and sequentially a Russian linguist and ICBM launch-crew commander to the US Air Force; he is also a semiprofessional photographer. /.../

Waves (1980) rather sluggishly recalls Stanisław lem's Solaris (1961) in a tale of political intrigue on a planet whose ocean is intelligent. /.../ [JC]


HUMOUR There is a false belief that sf and humour do not mix. /.../

Humour notoriously translates badly, and the wit of Stanisław lem in such works as Cyberiada (coll 1965; trans as The Cyberiad 1974) and "Kongres Futurologiczny" (1971; trans as The Futurological Congress 1974), while attested by his Polish readership as being full of subtle ironies and linguistic fireworks, appears rather crude in the English-language versions. /.../ [PN]


IKARIE XB-1 (vt Voyage to the End of the Universe; vt Icarus XB-1) Film (1963). Filmové studio Barrandov. Dir Jindřich Polák, starring Zdeněk Štěpánek, Radovan Lukavský, Dana Medřická. Screenplay Pavel Juráček, Polák. 81 mins, cut to 65 mins. Colour.

This interesting Czech film is set in a giant spaceship (with elaborate interiors designed by Jan Zázvorka) on a long exploratory misson. The shipboard routines, coolly observed, create the impression of a culture alien to ours. The stock situations of comparable US-UK films and tv series (star trek and space 1999, for example) are mostly avoided by the Czech writers, although the build-up of suspense when spaceship encounters a wreck floating in space adds a touch of space opera. The ending – the spaceship reaches a planet that we realize is contemporary Earth – is a US addition to the otherwise savagely cut print used for US and UK release. [JB/PN]


ISLANDS Islands play a crucial role in imaginative fiction, providing geographical microcosms in which the consequences of various types of scientific or political hypotheses may be incarnated and made available for inspection by visitors from the world at large. /.../

Extraterrestrial islands play a significant role in many sf stories about watery worlds, notably the floating islands of Venus in C.S.lewis's Perelandra (1943) and the "islands" thrown up by the sentient ocean in Stanisław lem's Solaris (1961; trans 1970). /.../ [BS/DP]


KANDEL, MICHAEL (1941- ) US writer, translator and book editor, best known until the late 1980s for his brilliant translations from the Polish of works by Stanisław lem, among them a pyrotechnic rendering of the novella "Kongres Futurologiczny" (1971 Poland) as The Futurological Congress (1974 US), many of whose wordplays are of necessity MK's. The Cosmic Carnival of Stanisław Lem (coll 1981), which MK assembled, contains excerpts from previously translated novels plus some stories. /.../ [JC]


LEM, STANISŁAW (1921-) Polish writer, critic and polymath, winner of numerous awards including th 1973 Polish State Literary Award. Born in Lwów, he has described his childhood and adolescence charmingly in the autobiographical Wysoki zamek ["High Castle"] (1966 Poland). SL's study of medicine was interrupted in WWII by the Nazi occupation, when he worked as a car mechanic and welder; these experiences closely inform his first-written novel (not sf), Szpital Przemienienia (1982 Poland; trans William Brand as Hospital of the Transfiguration 1988 US). In 1946 he moved to Cracow (he now lives in Italy), received his MD and wrote lyrical verse and essays on scientific methodology until he ran foul of the Soviet state's adulation of the Lamarckian biological theories of T.D.Lysenko (1898-1976), and was research assistant in a scientific institute. Another "naturalistic" novel, Czas nieutracony ["Time Saved"] (1955), depicts an intellectual finding his way from solitude to sociopolitical meaning; it likewise was written in the 1940s. In the meantime SL had switched to sf; he has published over two dozen books so far, with translations into at least 30 languages and several million copies sold. His early sf novels, Astronauci ["The Astronauts"] (1951 Poland) and Oblok Magellana ['The Magellan Nebula"] (1955 Poland), are works of a beginner and limited by some of the conventions of "socialist realism", but are still interesting and contain a number of SL's constant themes (the threat of global destruction and militarism; human identity); their utopian naïvety is shaped by the committed humanism characteristic of one axis of his work. His other axis, a black grotesque, appears in Dzienniki Gwiazdowe (coll 1957 Poland; gradually exp until by 1971 there were 14 "voyages" and 8 other Ijon Tichy stories; trans in 2 vols, vol 1 trans Michael kandel as The Star Diaries 1976 US, vol 2 trans Joel Stern and Maria Swiecicka-Ziemianek as Memoirs of a Space Traveler: Further Reminiscences of Ijon Tichy 1982 US), which develops into a parable-like expression.

The dozen years after the "Polish October" of 1956 were the golden noon of SL. He published 17 books: 5 sf novels; 10 partly overlapping books of sf short stories including the Pirx the Pilot cycle (see below), the "robotic fairy tales" of Bajki robotów (coll 1964 Poland) and the Trurl-Klapaucius or Cyberiad cycle (see below); Noc ksiezycowa (coll 1963 Poland), 1 sf play and 3 tv plays; nonfiction including the "cybernetic sociology" of Dialogy (1957 Poland); and the crown of SL's speculation and key to his fiction, Summa technologiae (1964 Poland), a breathtakingly brilliant and risky survey of possible social, informational, cybernetic, cosmogonic and biological engineering in Man's game with Nature.

Edem (1959 Poland; trans Marc E. Heine as Eden 1989 US), Solaris (1961 Poland; trans Joanna Kilmartin and Steve Cox [from French trans] 1970 US), Niezwyciezony (1964 Poland; trans Wendayne Ackerman [from German trans] as The Invincible 1973 US) and Opowieści o pilocie Pirxie (coll 1968 Poland; trans in 2 vols as Tales of Pirx the Pilot 1979 US and More Tales of Pirx the Pilot 1982 US) use the mystery of strange beings, events and localities to educate their protagonists into understanding the limitations and strengths of humanity; Solaris was filmed as solaris (1971). These parables for our age are fittingly open-ended: their tenor is that no closed reference system is viable in the age of cybernetics and rival political absolutisms; the protagonists are redeemed by ethical and aesthetic insight rather than by hardware, abstract cognition or power – thence SL's strong, at times oversimplifying but salutary critique of English-language sf in his Fantastyka i futurologia (1970 Poland; excerpts trans with other material as coll Microworlds: Writings on Science Fiction and Fantasy 1985 US) for abusing the potentials of the new in gimmicks and disguised fairytales. His critique of equally anthropomorphic banalities in Soviet sf was effected by means of his immense popularity and liberating influence there. In between the two leviathans, SL used the experience of Central European intellectuals to fuse a bright, humanistic hope with a bitter, historical warning. This double vision subverts both the "comic inferno" approach and a deterministic utopianism by juxtaposing the black flickerings of the former with the bright horizons of the latter. Such a style of wit places SL in the contes philosophiques tradition of Jonathan swift and voltaire. Even his grotesque stories, where no "cruel miracles" redeem the often disgusting limits of Man – such as Cyberiada (coll 1965 Poland; trans Kandel as The Cyberiad 1974 US), collecting many of the Trurl-Klapaucius stories – are informed by such humanizing fun, black satire or allegorical iconoclasm.

Signs of an ideological dead-end, if not exhaustion, showed in about 1968, prompting further formal experimentation and a furious brilliance in SL's writing. In Glos pana (1968 Poland; trans Kandel as His Master's Voice 1983 US), SL's radical doubts about human self-determination and sovereignty, and therefore about possibilities of communication with other people (not to mention other civilizations), began threatening to distort the fictional form of the novel into solipsist musings, lectures and ideational adventure. His Master's Voice may have avoided that by a tour de force of narrative tone, but SL learned some lessons from this near-escape: he turned to a brilliantly innovative series of briefer second-order glosses at the borderland of fiction and treatise. Doskonala prożnia (coll 1971 Poland; trans Kandel as A Perfect Vacuum 1978 US) – mainly composed of reviews of nonexistent books, which simultaneously characterize and persiflage their targets – and Wielkość urojona (coll 1973 Poland; trans Marc E. Heine with 2 pieces from Golem XIV [coll 1973] as Imaginary Magnitude 1984 US) range from thumbnail sketches of grisly futuristic follies to developments of Summa technologiae ideas on "intellectronics" (artificially heightened intelligence) and "phantomatics" (illusory existence). We find the latter in the most grimly hilarious and longest work of this period, a further Ijon Tichy story, "Kongres Futurologiczny" (in coll Bezsenność 1971 Poland; trans Kandel as The Futurological Congress 1974 US), as well as SL's deeply rooted though atheistic theologico-cosmogonic obsessions. Only in the 1980s, with the awkward but ferocious assault upon human cognitive pretensions contained in Fiasko (1986 Poland; trans Kandel as Fiasco 1987 US), did he return to novel-length structures.

SL's overflowing linguistic inventiveness, matching his controversial ideational plenty, is partly lost in translation, though the short stories assembled as Mortal Engines (coll trans 1977 US), The Cosmic Carnival of Stanisław Lem (coll trans Kandel 1981) and One Human Minute (coll trans Catherine S. Leach 1986 US) reveal some of the exuberance of the writing. Nonetheless, SL's peculiar geopolitical vantage-point – enabling him effectively to transcend both cynical pragmatism and abstract utopianism – his stubborn warnings against static "final solutions", his position at the crossroads of major European cultures and ethics, joined to an intense internalization of problems from cybernetics and information theory, his fusion of dilemmas from ultramodern science and the oldest cosmogonic heresies, his dazzling formal virtuosity – all mark him as one of the most significant sf writers of our century, and a distinctive voice in world literature. [DS]

Other works: Czlowiek z Marsa (1946 Poland, apparently only as episodes in a weekly); Sezam ["Sesame"] (coll 1955 Poland); Sledztwo (1959 Poland; trans Adele Milch as The Investigation 1974 US), ontological mystery rather than sf; Inwazja z Aldebarana ["Invasion from Aldebaran"] (coll 1959 Poland); Powrót s gwiazd (1961 Poland; trans as Return from the Stars 1980 US); Pamietnik znaleziony w wannie (1961 Poland; trans Michael Kandel and Christine Rose as Memoirs Found in a Bathtub 1973 US); Ksiega robotów ["The Book of Robots"] (coll 1961 Poland); Wejście na orbite ["Getting into Orbit"] (coll 1962 Poland), essays on technology and fiction; Polowanie ["The Hunt"] (coll 1965 Poland); Ratujmy kosmos (coll 1966 Poland); Opowiadania (coll 1969 Poland); Rozprawy i szkice (coll 1974 Poland), essays on literature, sf and science; Katar (1977 Poland; trans anon as The Chain of Chance 1978 UK); Wisja Lokalna ["The Scene of the Crime"] (1982), an Ijon Tichy novel.

About the author: "To My Readers" by Stanisław Lem, Poland 5, 1973; "Language and Ethics in Solaris" by Edward Balcerzan, Science-Fiction Studies: Selected Essays on Science Fiction 1973-1975 (1976) ed R.D.mullen and Darko suvin; "Stanisław Lem, Rationalist and Sensualist" by Jerzy Jarzębski, science-fiction studies July 1977; "Lem in Review (June 2238)" by Michael kandel, Science-Fiction Studies Mar 1977; "Stanisław Lem on Men and Robots" by Kandel, extrapolation Dec 1972; New Worlds for Old (1974) by David ketterer; "European SF" by Ursula K. le guin, Science-Fiction Studies Spring 1974; "The Open-Ended Parables of Stanisław Lem and Solaris" by Darco Suvin, afterword to Solaris (trans 1970) and rev for 1976 edn; Stanisław Lem (1985) by Richard E. Ziegfeld; special SF issue of Science Fiction Studies (vol 13, part 3, whole # 4, 1986).


LIFE ON OTHER WORLDS Early interplanetary travellers invariably discovered worlds which were markedly akin to Earth. /.../

The representation of alien ecospheres as problematic Gardens of Eden has since become so commonplace as to be almost ritual; notable examples of the careful extension of this metaphor include Mark clifton's Eight Keys to Eden (1960), Richard M. mckenna's "Hunter Come Home" (1963), John boyd's ironic The Pollinators of Eden (1969), Ursula K. le guin's The Word for World is Forest (1972; 1976), Neal barrett's Highwood (1972), Brian stableford's The Paradise Game (1974) and The Gates of Eden (1983), Stanisław lem's Edem (1959; trans as Eden 1989 US) and Michael D. resnick's Paradise (1989). /.../ [BS]


LIVING WORLDS The notion that a planet might be a living creature is a rather startling one; indeed, it was initially used purely for its shock value. /.../

The most impressive presentation of a truly alien world-intelligence is Stanisław lem's Solaris (1961; trans 1970), many features of which are prefigured in his Edem (1959; trans as Eden 1989). /.../ [BS]


MACHINES Sf is sometimes considered, especially by its detractors, to be a genre in which machines are more important than people. /.../

Later works embodying similar images include Fred saberhagen's Berserker series, John T. sladek's satirical The Reproductive System (1968; vt Mechasm) and Stanisław lem's The Invincible (1964; trans 1973). /.../ [BS]


METAPHYSICS One of the qualites of sf that sometimes baffles new readers is the relative infrequency, despite its label, with which it deals with the hard sciences; indeed, sf deals as often with metaphysics as with physics. /.../

Thus, for instance, a central example of metaphysical sf is Stanisław lem's Solaris (1961; trans 1970), which asks to what extent can scientists studying a totally alien and apparently sentient planet comprehend its essence, if to do so requires transcending categories of thought that are limited by their very humanness. This question about the limitation of our perceptions is one of the fundamental problems sf regularly tackles; many further examples are discussed under aliens and conceptual breakthrough. /.../ [PN]


MUSIC. 1. Science fiction in classical music /.../

Electronic music for illustrating "the music of the spheres" – a phrase that has been udes of the work of Terry Riley (1935- ), François Bayle (1932- ) and others – and stories of outer space can be found not only in film soundtracks, especially Louis (1923- ) and Bebe (1928- ) Barron's pioneering score for forbidden planet (1956) and the understated contributions by Eduard Artem'ev (1937- ) to Andrei tarkovsky's solaris (1971) and stalker (1979), but also in short pieces commissioned or adapted by music-hire libraries, like Desmond leslie's Inside the Space Ship and Music of the Voids of Outer Space (both c1957). /.../ [HD/PN/BS]


PERCEPTION The ways in which we become aware of and receive information about the outside world, mainly through the senses, are together called perception. /.../

Stanisław lem has several times written about the difficulties of transcending our perceptions. Solaris (1961; trans 1970) asks the pessimistic philosophical question: “Can we ever regard reality as knowable, given the limitations of the senses with which we apprehend it and the mental programmes which force us to relate our understanding of it always to human experience?” /.../ [PN]


PHYSICS In discussing the scientific content of sf it is customary to regard the sciences as ranging from “hard” to “soft”, with physics lying at the hard end of spectrum. /.../

Ideas from physics have been used in postulating new forms of life. /.../ Stanisław lem's Solaris (1961; trans 1970) postulates life formed from a new type of matter composed entirely of neutrinos. /.../ [TSu/PN]


POLAND Polish sf effectively began with the publication in 1785 of the novel Wojciech Zdarzyński, życie i przypadki swoje opisujący ["Wojciech Zdarzyński, Describing his Life and Adventures"] (1785) by the Reverend Michał Dymitr Krajewski. This describes the civilizations of the Moon. /.../

Polish postwar sf has had its literary achievements, too – not only the celebrated works of Stanisław lem but also the classical sf of Konrad Fiałkowski, Adam Wiśniewski Snerg's cult novel Robot (1973) and, in the 1980s, such novels by the wonderfully inventive Wiktor Żwikiewicz as Delirium w Tharsys ["Delirium in Tharsys"] (1986). /.../

The current running through Polish sf has really been political. Because sf provides a perfect means of diverting attention away from drab reality into a beautiful future, it was encouraged in the decade after WWII by Poland's communist rulers. The best examples of such political sf are Krzysztof Boruń's and Andrzej Trepka's Zagubiona przyszłość ["The Lost Future"] (1953), #1 in a space-opera trilogy, and Stanisław Lem's early novels Astronauci ["The Astronauts"] (1951) and Obłok Magellana ["The Magellan Nebula"] (1955). /.../ [KS]


POMERLEAU, LUC (1955- ) French-speaking Canadian physics graduate, technical translator, editor of the French-language Québec sf magazine Solaris since 1986, and sf and comic critic. He wrote the section on Francophone sf in this encyclopedia's entry on canada. [PN]


QUARBER MERKUR Austrian fanzine; ed Franz rottensteiner since its inception in 1963. /.../ Contributors have included most of the major German sf critics, and writers such as Herbert W. franke and Stanisław lem; many contributors have been from Eastern Europe. A collection of some of the best contents is Quarber Merkur (anth 1979 Germany). [PN]


ROBOTS The word "robot" first appeared in Karel čapek's play R.U.R. (1921; trans 1923), and is derived from the Czech robota (statute labour). /.../

Robot philosophy of a less earnest but cleverer kind is extensively featured in Stanisław lem's robotic fables, collected in The Cyberiad (coll 1965; trans 1974) and Mortal Engines (coll trans 1977). /.../ [BS]


ROTTENSTEINER, FRANZ (1942- ) Austrian sf critic, editor and litarary agent; he has a PhD from the University of Vienna. /.../ He is particularly well known for his spirited promotion of the work of Stanisław lem, for whom he is literary agent, and for the contempt he has often expressed for much genre sf. /.../ In English he is also known for his collection of European sf, View from Another Shore (anth 1973); for his collection of "literary" fantasies by Jorge Luis borges and others, The Slaying of the Dragon: Modern Tales of the Playful Imagination (anth 1984); and for Microworlds: Writing on Science Fiction (coll 1984) by Lem, ed and introduced by FR. /.../

In German he has ed many anthologies of stories and essays about sf, including: Die Ratte im Labyrinth ["Rats in the Maze"] (anth 1971... /.../ [PN]


RUSSIA Russian sf can trace its ancestry back ti the 18th century, most of the earliest examples beings utopias. /.../

The late 1950s saw a dramatic upsurge in Soviet sf publishing. For example, where the popular-science magazine Znanie-sila ["Knowledge is Power"] printed only 1 sf story in 1953, in 1961 it printed 19, including 2 by Ray bradbury and part of Solaris (1961) by Stanisław lem. /.../ Levelheaded critics like Evgeny Brandis and Vladimir Dmitrievsky kept readers informed about developments abroad, and the names of Lem, Bradbury, Isaac asimov, Robert sheckley, Arthur C. clarke and dozens of others soon became familiar to Soviet sf fans. /.../

More recently the outstanding director of Russian sf cinema was Andrei tarkovsky, whose sf films are solaris (1971), stalker (1979) and, marginally, Zhertvoprinoshenie (1986; vt Offret; vt Sacrifice). /.../

A joint Soviet-Polish coproduction was a successful adaptation from Stanisław Lem, Doznanie pilota Pirksa ["The Investigation of Pirx the Pilot"] (1979), dir Marek Pestrak, with rather sopgisticated design and special effects. /.../ [VG/AM/IT/PN]


SATIRE From the earliest days of proto science fiction, satire was its prevaling mode, and this inheritance was evident even after sf proper began in the 19th century. /.../

Some important satirical work issued from the Communist bloc, notably that of Stanisław lem in, especially, Cyberiada (coll 1965; trans as The Cyberiad 1974 US) and "Kongres Futurologiczny" (1971; trans as The Futurological Congress (1974 US), where the savagery of the wit is Swift-like. /.../ [PN]


SAVCHENKO, VLADIMIR (IVANOVICH) (1933- ) Russian writer who began as an author of short stories, publishing Tchironye Zviozdy ["Dark Stars"] (coll 1960) and contributing to anthologies. /.../ Later stories, comparable with the metaphysical parables of Stanisław lem and Philip K. dick, are to be found in Ispytaniie Istinoi ["Truth Test"] (coll [date unconfirmed]) and Algoritm Uspekha ["Success Algorithm"] (coll 1983). /.../ [VG]


SCIENCE FICTION WRITERS OF AMERICA A professional guild created to inform sf writers on matters of professional interest, to promote their professional welfare, and to help them deal effectively with publishers, agents, editors and anthologists; in 1992 (see below) renamed the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFFWA). /.../

The SFWA membership has been given moderately commonplace. One major rift occured in 1976 when Stanisław lem's honorary membership was cancelled. /.../ [PN/JC]


SERNINE, DANIEL Pseudonym of Canadian writer Alain Lortie (1955- ), a central force in Canadian sf. who began publishing in 1975 with the dark fantasies "Jalbert" and "La Boiteille" ["The Bottle"] for Requiem, later serving (from 1983) on the editorial collective of that magazine, now renamed Solaris. /.../ [LP]


SF COMMENTARY Australian fanzine, irregular (Jan 1969-current), ed Bruce gillespie. /.../ Important contributors have included John Foyster, Yvonne Rousseau, George turner and Stanisław lem; most of the earliest English translations of Lem's critical articles appeared in SFC. /.../ [PN]


SOLARIS 1. French-language Canadian magazine. ➭ canada; Luc pomerleau; Daniel sernine.

2. Russian film (1971). Mosfilm. Dir Andrei tarkovsky, starring Donatas Banionis, Natalia Bondarchuk, Youri Jarvet, Anatoli Solonitsin. Screenplay Tarkovsky, Friedrich Gorenstein, based on Solaris (1961; trans 1970) by Stanisław lem. 165 mins; first US version 132 mins. Colour.

This long, ambitious rendering of Lem's metaphysical novel is regarded by some as one of the finest sf films made; a minority sees it as tediously slow-moving. S changes the emphasis of the story from the intellectual to the emotional, partly by restructuring the narrative, which in the film is framed by elegiac and nostalgic sequences at the country house of the young space-scientist hero's parents, focusing on the scientist's relationship with his father; the opening passage is on Earth, the closing passage on Solaris's recreation of Earth. The main action is set on a space-station hovering above the planet Solaris, whose ever-changing ocean ia thought to be organic and sentient. The protagonist finds the station in disrepair and his colleagues demoralized by the materialization of "phantoms" (quite real and solid) of their innermost obsessions; soon he is himself haunted by a reincarnation of his suicided wife. These phantoms may be an attempt by Solaris to communicate. Horrified, he kills the phantom wife, but a replica arrives that night. Ultimately he recognizes that, no matter what her source, she is both living and lovable; but while he sleeps she connives at her own exorcism. Solaris remains an enigma. The philosophical questions about the limits of human understanding are not put so sharply as in the book, but the visual images, despite occasionally mediocre special effects, are potent – haunting leitmotivs of water, sundering screens, technology and snow. [PN]


SPACE HABITATS Stories of space stations or artificial satellites appear early in sf, the first example being Rdward Everett hale's extraordinary "The Brick Moon" (1869) and its sequel "Life in the Brick Moon" (1870), in which the satellite of the title consists of many brick spheres connected by brick arches, and is launched, with people on board, by gigantic flywheels. /.../

The observers in Stanisław lem's Solaris (1961; trans 1970), filmed as solaris (1971), are also played out and receive the come-uppance due to people who try to hold themselves aloof, their space station becoming a shambles, as the living world beneath reconstructs in the flesh their most feared and desired memories and nightmares. /.../ [PN]


SPACESHIPS The suggestion that people might one day travel to the moon inside a flying machine was first put forward seriously by John wilkins in 1638. /.../

Sf stories whose subject matter is the spaceship mythology built up by their predecessors include Stanisław lem's Niezwyciezony (1964; trans as The Invincible 1973) and Mark geston's Lords of the Starship (1967). /.../ [BS]


STRUGATSKY, ARKADY (NATANOVICH) (1925-1991) and BORIS (NATANOVICH) (1931- ) Russian writers. /.../

"Za milliard let do kontsa sveta" (1976-7 Znanie-sila; trans Bouis as Definitely Maybe: A Manuscript Discovered under Unusual Circumstances 1978 US) again combines fable and a bleak depiction of the social world as scientists attempt (in a manner evocative of the work of Stanisław lem) to parse an implacably unknowable "force" which seems to be paralysing human progress. /.../ [DS]


SUPERNATURAL CREATURES Just as it is common in sf to give empirical explanations of ancient myths and stories of the gods and to seek a rationale for magic, so too, when sf deals with supernatural creatures, it commonly invokes quasiscientific rationalizations. /.../

Ghosts are rather a special case, and are discussed in eschatology. They are reconstructed in the flesh from a reading of human minds by the sentient planet Solaris (1961; trans 1970) by Stanisław lem; and along with zombies have a very real existence in Robert sheckley's amusing Immortality Delivered (1958; exp vt Immortality, Inc. 1959). /.../ Stanisław Lem's Sledztwo (1959; trans as The Investigation 1974) is an interesting study of the extent to which the unknown may be susceptible to rational explanation, in a mystery where Scotland Yard is faced with the activities of a ghoul, whose status as either natural or supernatural is difficult to determine. /.../ [PN]


TARKOVSKY, ANDREI (1932-1987) Russian filmmaker. /.../ His sf reputation rests on two long films, solaris (1971), based on Solaris (1961) by Stanisław lem, and stalker (1979), based on "Piknik na abochine" (1972; trans as Roadside Picnic 1977) by the strugatski brothers. Alternating between b/w and color, and featuring many static scenes prolonged to the point of tedium, AT's sf films have been both much lauded and much reviled by critics, but there is no denying the startling power of such crystal-clear images as the country house marooned on an alien lake in Solaris or the gradual telekinetic movement of a glass on a table at the finale of Stalker. /.../ [KN]


TODOROV, TZVETAN (1939- ) Bulgarian literary critic who pursued his postgraduate studies in Paris under the direction of the semiotic philosopher Roland Barthes (1915-1980). /.../ An interesting controversy about TT's book arose in science-fiction studies, the Fall 1974 and July 1975 issues containing an attack on TT's work by Stanisław lem and further debate. /.../ [PN]


TUMANNOST' ANDROMEDY (vt The Andromeda Nebula; vt Andromeda the Mysterious; vt The Cloud of Andromeda) Film (1968). /.../

The film's optimism about the future – manifest in the woodenly cheerful, healthy and uniformly handsome cast and the lack of dramatic tension of any kind (a problem not uncommon in utopian fictions) – is light years from the bleakness of later Russian sf films such as solaris (1972). /.../ [PN]


VISION ON TOMORROW Australian/UK magazine, monthly, bedsheet-format, 12 issues, Aug 1969-Sep 1970, published by Ronald E. Graham, an Australian enthusiast; ed Philip harbottle from the UK. /.../ VOT was the first English-language magazine to publish a story by Stanisław lem: "Are You There, Mr Jones?", in #1. /.../ [BS/PN]


VONARBURG, Élisabeth (1947- ) French-born Canadian writer, teacher and critic, in Québec from 1973. /.../ She was fiction editor 1979-90 and editor 1983-5 of Solaris. [LP]


LEM, STANISLAW (p. 710): SL has never resided in Italy, and currently lives in Cracow, Poland. The title Eden is correct for the Polish original, not Edem.


The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. – New York: St. Martin's Griffin, 1995. – P. 15-18, 66-67, 74-76, 93-94, 189-190, 222-223, 251-252, 277-281, 286-288, 442, 600-602, 610, 628-629, 656-657, 710-712, 720-722, 754-756, 803-804, 841, 920-923, 929-931, 944-945, 949, 982-983, 1018-1020, 1031, 1037-1041, 1052, 1064, 1073-1074, 1132, 1136-1137, 1140-1142, 1173-1175, 1185-1187, 1201, 1231-1232, 1244-1245, 1286, 1288, 1380.