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Franz Rottensteiner and Lem


Franz Rottensteiner is widely know as a promoter of Lem work; so I was a little surprised by reading this in the Lem Wikipedia article:

"Franz Rottensteiner, Lem's former agent, was instrumental in introducing him to the Western audience, but they later separated on bitter terms."

(There is no reference).

Does anybody know more the reason for this "bitter terms"?


Robert Boettcher:
Hi Ritch,

the German Wikipedia Page of Mr. Rottensteiner has this to say:

"Ein intensiver, 1969 einsetzender Briefwechsel mit dem damals noch weithin unbekannten Stanislaw Lem führte zu einer langjährigen Freundschaft; Rottensteiner war in der Folge Lems literarischer Agent (außer für Deutschland) bis zum Jahre 1995, als der polnische Autor seinen Agenten verklagte (und den Prozess verlor)."

Which means they were friends from 1969, having exchanged letters from the time when Lem was widely unknown. However that ended when in 1995 Lem sued him and lost the case in court.

Ritch, Rottensteiner himself says about this:

"Our ways parted in 1995 when he wanted an agent in the U.S., who could do more for him, he believed. He probably was right as far as films are concerned (although his could have been handled differently), but after my time no new Lem book appeared in English, only reprints of the books that I had sold. In fact, Lem wanted me to remain his agent in the rest of the world, but because he made a gift of a 5 paperback-reprint deal -- which I had worked hard to arrange with Harcourt -- to his new agent, I simply was not interested in that. I do not need a client who doesn't keep contracts, let alone his word. After that Lem started an expensive nuisance suit that he lost on all counts. And he demanded that Harcourt make all accountings and payments to him, pocketing my commissions, fully trusting that a law-suit in Poland against him would be prohibitively expensive and uncertain. May he have been happy with those few cents, for Lem's books do not sell in the U.S., and other publishers than Harcourt would have pulped his books long ago."

I don't know Lem's version of events.


--- Cytat: Ritch w Maja 21, 2014, 06:17:59 pm ---
--- Koniec cytatu ---
Dr. Rottensteiner is no longer Lem's literary agent and (according to the correspondence I have received from Dr. Rottensteiner) he no longer wishes even to hear about Lem. The reasons of this total collapse of a long-time friendship and a very fruitful cooperation (for many years Lem and Rottensteiner worked in tandem, if non-fiction is considered), were mostly of a financial nature: Rottensteiner's alleged mishandling of Lem's copyrights - see Science-Fiction Studies vol. 23, p. 310 for an exchange of letters between Dr. Rottensteiner and Lem and Lem versus Rottensteiner Verdict in Science-Fiction Studies of March 2000 p. 190 for details about the litigation between Lem and Rottensteiner. See also Rottensteiner's "To Set the Record Straight" in Science-Fiction Studies vol. 23 of 1996 p. 310 and Lem‟s response in the same edition of Science-Fiction Studies).


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