Tuesday, March 28, 2006

R.I.P. Stanislaw Lem (1921-2006)

From Stanislaw Lem’s Solaris (1961)
What did [the word home] mean to me? Earth? I thought of the great bustling cities where I would wander and lose myself, and I thought of them as I had thought of the ocean [of Solaris] on the second or third night, when I had wanted to throw myself upon the dark waves. I shall immerse myself among men. I shall be silent and attentive, an appreciative companion. There will be many acquaintances, friends, women—and perhaps even a wife. For a while, I shall have to make a conscious effort to smile, nod, stand, and perform the thousands of little gestures which constitute life on Earth, and then those gestures will become reflexes again. I shall find new interests and occupations; and I shall not give myself completely to them, as I shall never again give myself completely to anything or anybody. Perhaps at night I shall stare up at the dark nebula that cuts off the light of the twin suns, and remember everything, even what I am thinking now. With a condescending, slightly rueful smile I shall remember my follies and my hopes. And this future Kelvin will be no less worthy a man than the Kelvin of the past, who was prepared for anything in the name of an ambitious enterprise called Contact. Nor will any man have the right to judge me.

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