Agnieszka Gajewska, Holocaust and the Stars. The Past in the Prose of Stanisław Lem

Routledge, 2021

Translated by Katarzyna Gucio

This book is a groundbreaking study of one of the greatest science fiction writers, the Polish master Stanisław Lem. It offers a new direction in research on his oeuvre and corrects several errors commonly appearing in his biographies. The author painstakingly recreates the context of Lem’s early life and his traumatic experiences during the Second World War due to his Jewish background, and then traces these through original and brilliant readings of his fiction and non-fiction. She considers language, worldbuilding, themes, motifs and characterization as well as many buried allusions to the Holocaust in Lem’s published and archival work, and uses these fragments to capture a different side of Lem than previously known. The book discusses various issues concerning the writer’s life, such as his upbringing in a Jewish, Zionist-minded family, the extensive relations between the Lem family and the elite of Lviv at that time, details of the Lem family killed during the German occupation and attempts to reconstruct what happened to Lem’s parents and to the writer himself after escaping the ghetto.

Part of the Studies in Global Genre Fiction series, this English translation of the Polish original, which has already been considered a milestone in Lem studies, offers a fresh perspective on the writer and his work. It will be an important intervention for scholars and researchers of Jewish studies, Holocaust literature, science fiction studies, English literature, world war studies, minority studies, popular culture, history and cultural studies.