Intellectually Superior Life Form

The Difference Engine pays its respects to Polish science fiction writer Stanislaw Lem, who passed away today.

Lem is of particular interest to students of the culture of astrobiology.  One of Lem’s major themes was the impossibility of communication between humans and alien civilisations.

In a genre somewhat replete with happy-clappy alien love-ins, Lem’s alien societies were often incomprehensible to the human mind.  Notable and influential examples were the swarms of mechanical flies of The Invincible and the large sentient Plasma Ocean of Solaris.  And many of his books, such as Fiasco and Eden feature first contact failures.

His sceptical and analytical musings will be sorely missed.



    March 28, 2006

    Great post

    Michelle Hall

    March 28, 2006

    “…All I do know is that so long as I??????m asleep I??????m rid of all fears and hopes and toils and glory, and long live the man who invented sleep, the cloak that covers all human thoughts, and food that takes away hunger, the water that chases away thirst, the fire that warms the cold, the cold that cools the heat and, in short, the universal coinage that can buy anything, the scales and weights that make the shepherd the equal of the king and the fool the equal of the wise man. There??????s only one drawback about sleep, so I??????ve heard ??????? it??????s like death, because there??????s very little difference between a man who??????s asleep and one who??????s dead.??????
    Cervantes. Volume 2, Chapter 68, pg. 945

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