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Wiadomości - Dragon of Improbability

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Forum in English / LEMIAN criticism of DUNE?
« dnia: Czerwiec 07, 2009, 10:50:25 pm »
Greetings. I am the new member currently under the title of Dragon of Improbability. Since I am new here, there are probably many questions that I have about Lem. I know that Lem wrote literary criticism about Heinlein and Philip K. Dick's science-fiction, but did he ever write any criticism about Frank Herbert's DUNE? I enjoy Lem's literary criticism, of both regular fiction and science fiction, but I am surprised that I haven't seen any criticisms by him of Herbert or the DUNE books. Has he ever written a criticism of DUNE, or ever read DUNE?

Forum in English / Re: EDEN and HALF-LIFE
« dnia: Czerwiec 07, 2009, 07:54:13 pm »
I guess nobody played the game, or they are not to anamored about EDEN, but it's a comparison I've wanted to work on lately. Has any Lemian considered doing illustrations set in the world of EDEN? It would have been great if Lem offered his own illustrations to a give a sense of the appearance of the Doublers, but Lem appeared to only reserve his drawings for THE STAR DIARIES. If there are artists among you, what would be your presentation of a Doubler?

Forum in English / EDEN and HALF-LIFE
« dnia: Czerwiec 06, 2009, 07:47:55 pm »
Hello, Scribes of Lem, I am Dragon of Improbability, and I am excited by the chance I have now to talk to other Lem fans.

First, I want to begin by discussing the book EDEN, and even though Lem and others believe it's not very good (the idea was great, but the writing in my English translation is basic), for some reason the book had an indirect influence on the game HALF-LIFE.
For those of you who have never heard of HALF-LIFE, or who value books over games, let me explain. HALF-LIFE was a computer game from 1998 which was about an accident which took place in a scientific American facility in the state of New Mexico. The main character, a college physicist, Gordon Freeman, an intelligent geek who was responsible for the accident, but not responsible for the consequences of the experiment, tries to survive a facility overun by the most bizarre creatures imaginable: Head-crabs, Hound-eyes, Bull-squids, Maw-men, Vortigaunts, Tentacles, and Air Barnacles (creatures attached to the ceiling whose tongues wait to grab unsuspecting scientists).

The scientists of HALF-LIFE seem Lemian in their tremendous egos, childish imaturity, cowardice, and probably even social stupidity (This is all you fault, Trurl!) Later on, it's discovered these creatures came from another dimension which composes of planets known as The Border Worlds. The world you end up being teleported is Xen, and, like the planet of Eden, it is a strange world, with organic light posts that recoil and turn off if you approach them, large vegetation which could harm you if you are too close, the planet appears to operate with biotechnology, and just like the politics and anthropology of Eden, which puzzle the protagonists excessively, so does the customs and processes of Xen. The Border World creatures, especially Gonarch (the Big Momma) and the Nihilanth, do have the appearances that would make you think they were doublers.

Half-Life 2  tries to explain what the Border Worlds are in a more mysterious fashion, but I wish the game was written by a more Lemian inspired science-fiction writer, but not everyone has heard of Lem in the gaming world.

Also, do you remember when the scientists were horrified by the thought of the Doublers manufacturing members of their species? Well, in HALF-LIFE, a Xenian factory is manufacturing barrels of Alien Grunts, who were overseen by the Xen masters, the cerebral and extremely dangerous watchers of Xen.

I was bothered by how simplisitic the scientific group's approach to the planet was, since there were obviously conflicts on the planet that they didin't understand, and kept thinking they were trying to help. My favorite scene in the book is when they walk into the dark cave to try to contact the doublers, and whole crowd of Doubler people gang upon them, beat them up, and then leave.

 HALF-LIFE owes more to Stephen King's horror fiction, maybe some Michael Crichton, and of course, DOOM, a science-fiction horror game phenomena that I can only imagine Lem rewriting, or even satirizing, to convey his own points about PC gaming, religious matters, the science of the Phobos moon, and most especially, the complicated science of Hell (the imps have to oil the rocket launcher of the cyberdemon daily in order to prevent it from jamming and to protect his image as an unforgivable cyborg demon).

In some ways, the images in Lem's book about skeletons in eggs sound like precursor to H.R. Giger's alien drawings, though Giger was more influenced by his own experience and Lovecraft than Lem.  I would like to see either him or the art designers of HALF-LIFE illustrate EDEN, a much more up-to-date English translation of EDEN, even though is simpler than FIASCO (which I've read is a masterful Lemian piece).

In fact, it would be interesting if a independent non-profit gamer were to create a HALF-LIFE like game based off of EDEN, but it won't be a shooting game, it would be a game that would try to render every part of the book into a scripted sequence, and maybe even enhance the story with additional consequences, if the player further interfered with the hierarchy of the planet. It would be something to be able to convey the Doublers in a gaming world, though I would really want to see them drawn.

 A lot of science-fiction games would be smarter with Lemian imagination and consequences, even in this decade.


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