The Embassy of Poland in Doha highlighted the works of one of the most renowned and prominent Polish science-fiction writers, Stanis?aw Lem, at a cultural event held at the Fire Station – Artists in Residence Wednesday to mark his 100th birth anniversary.
“The significance of his legacy was appreciated by Polish parliament which declared 2021 to be the Year of Stanislaw Lem,” Polish ambassador Janusz Janke said in his speech.
The event, attended by Fire Station director Khalifa Ahmad al-Obaidli, members of the Polish community in Doha, and other guests, also screened two short films based on Lem’s works: The Room by Krzysztof Jankowski and The Mask by Hanka Brulinska.
The envoy also announced that Lem’s most popular novel Solaris has been finally translated into Arabic (by Hatif Janabi) and it is expected to be presented to the Qatari audience at the Doha International Book Fair in January 2022.
Janke noted that Solaris – directed by A. Tarkowski (1972) and by S. Soderberg (2000) “deals with the idea of First Contact with an alien being, but also with the fragility of a human mind. The book’s message has fascinated readers around the globe and remains appealing until now”.
According to the envoy, Lem inspired many artists from across the globe despite the fact that his novels and stories were not easy to read, but many found them fascinating.
“The ideas he tried to share with his audience were captured in drawing by Daniel Mroz, whose works are on display in the exhibition that we have arranged for you. In the 60s and 70s, Lem gained the status of an international expert on contemporary civilisation, mainly due to the surprising accuracy of his long-term predictions of concepts such as artificial intelligence (AI), cyberspace, or virtual reality.
“In 1976, Lem was claimed to be the most widely read science-fiction writer in the world. Until now his works have been translated into 42 languages and have sold over 27mn copies,” Janke said.
Lem was born in 1921 in Lviv, which was then part of the Second Polish Republic. After passing his high-school exams in 1939, he pursued his medicine course until 1941 when the Nazi German army took over Lviv.
In 1946, the Lem family left Lviv and settled in Krakow where he continued his medical studies. It was after his graduation when he started working at the scientific conversatory of Jagiellonian University assistants, giving him access to the most recent scientific works from various fields.
Lem’s passion for writing came after the unexpected success of his scientific-fiction novel “Astronauci” (The Astronauts), and some of his books that followed have been adapted onto screen. Among the most prominent include Przektadaniec (Layer of Cake), directed by A. Wajda (1968); and The Congress, directed by A. Folman (2013) – which inspired the next generation of artists. He died in Krakow in 2006.