Stanislaw Lems Summa Technologiae in English for the first time in 50 Years
I know there are some people from english speaking countries reading this thing here and this is a recommendation that really comes from my heart. Stanislaw Lems Summa Technologiae is available in English for the first time since (nearly) 50 Years! I read this monster more than twenty years ago, then again and then again and it totally blew my mind, every single time – actually it is one of the reasons, why this blog is what it is.
Imagine scientific Futurism combined with Electronics, Engineering and that Lemian Weirdness, that only he could achieve. Kevin Kelly on Steroids right from the dawn of the space age. Read this, it’s totally and highly recommended. Yes, it is indeed that good.
With Summa Technologiae, his masterwork of non-fiction which has been translated into English for the first time, Lem has taken Western civilisation for a spin – with spectacular consequences. The book will be a fabulous shock to those who know only his science fiction, such as Solaris or The Cyberiad. Others will have caught tantalising glimpses of Summa, published in 1964, in a few essays. Diehards may even have read it in translation, notably German or Russian. […]
Summa is not for the faint-hearted. Starting with a title that pastiches Thomas Aquinas’s 13th-century Summa Theologiae, Lem sets out to replace god with reason. Zylinska’s introduction lays out the map. Is the phenomenon that is humanity typical or exceptional in the universe? Does plagiarising nature count as fraud? Do we need consciousness for human agency? Should we trust our thoughts or perceptions? Are we controlling technology – or vice versa?
It is amazing how much Lem got right, or even predicted. This ranges across artificial intelligence, the theory of search engines (he called it “ariadnology”), bionics, virtual reality (“phantomatics”), technological singularity and nanotechnology.
American Scientist: A brilliant trip back to the technological future – Stanislaw Lem’s forgotten masterwork Summa Technologiae, now in English half a century after publication, is a heady mix of prescience, philosophy and irony
Amazon.com: Summa Technologiae (Electronic Mediations)