Stanisław Lem and his inspirations

A. Ochman
Estimated reading time: 2 min

He was born a hundred years ago. Before the era of laptops, tablets or smartphones. Today, his visions of technology are almost prophetic. Where did Stanisław Lem get his inspiration from? What is the basis of his prediction?

Dreams of a technical university

Lem inherited his father’s passion for literature. However, he really wanted to study at a technical university and become a scientist. He decided to fight for his dreams. Effect? Not necessarily what he would like. Despite passing the exam at the Lviv Polytechnic, for political reasons, Stanisław Lem could not start his studies at this university. So his education took a different course.

In 1940, thanks to the acquaintance of his father (as a doctor), Stanisław Lem began studies at the Medical Faculty of the University of Lviv. Thus, he avoided conscription to the Soviet army. A year later, he started working as an assistant mechanic.

Poland: where real superheroes come from. Lem – from mechanic to writer

Stanisław Lem decided to publish his works in the press. With time, he completed interrupted medical studies. He also began writing short stories inspired by war and occupation themes, and with elements of science fiction. Ultimately, he did not become a doctor. These studies, however, gave him a solid natural education and knowledge of exact sciences, which he used in his work. At the medical university, he developed his passion for neurology.

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Work and inspiration

Lem worked as an assistant at the Conservatory of Science in Kraków. There, he was inspired by works in the field of logic, methodology of science and psychology. Additionally, the head of the Psychometric Laboratory of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Mieczysław Choynowski, an enthusiast of cybernetics, inspired him with the works of N. Wiener and C.E. Shannon. Years later, Stanisław Lem would call Choynowski his intellectual mentor.

Stanisław Lem and inspiration from literature

Young Lem read the works of Grabiński, Umiński, Verne and Wells. These are representatives of, among others the mainstream of horror, fantasy novels or science fiction. Lem himself became famous as the author of novels, short stories, essays, articles, reviews of non-existent books, interviews, and essays. As a young artist, he also wrote poems.

You can read the entire story of Stanisław Lem in the free e-book “Academy of Superheroes”. You can download it HERE. Get to know Poland: where real superheroes come from.


Agnieszka Ochman

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27.05.2022 1 min of reading