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Forum in English / Re: One Human Minute into a movie!!??
« dnia: Grudzień 14, 2004, 07:04:26 pm »
Thank you, newborn!

From the site linked above:



hungarian feature film

writer: Stanislav Lem, Zoltán Verebes
director : Zoltán Verebes

co-producers: T.B.A.
producer: Zoltán Kamondi

production company: Honeymood Films


Stanislav Lem's short story, "One Human Minute" is the review of a fictitious book of the same title. The author, posing as a critic, reviews an almanac type of book, which tries to summarize and present all that happens to mankind in one minute by condensing it all into numbers.
Lem picks random chapters from the fictive book to illustrate this, and also adds his associative pictures to them in his commentaries, examining their social consequences and reactions, both on a material and an intellectual level. Thus the short story does not tell a story, but philosophizes, staying within the limits of science fiction.

The story is visually abstracted, but the voice of the personified narrator guides the audience in a special way within its world, mixed with the reality of our times. In the beginning he is incognito, as a storyteller who is outside the story, but as the plot develops we realize that he is the author himself.
With the help of the adapted text and with the story I created, the fictitious book comes to life, appearing as a film, in a visual form, thus the author of the book by turn becomes the director of the film.

The story starts in a bookstore somewhere, in the 21st century. The three-member staff (MANAGER, OWNER, CLEANER) is just about to close, when at the request of a last, mysterious customer (READER) they go back to the storage room for a book, leaving the CLEANER behind. Once in the storage room, they are bumbfound at seeing that the whole stock has been replaced by copies of an insignificant looking book. They cannot find anything else, even in the untouched packages on the pallets.
When they return to the shop they are shocked to see that the books that were there a minute ago, have disapperaed without a trace, and the shelves are packed with the same book. The situation is absurd: a miracle had happened.
Although the CLEANER is the only witness, he is still under the influence of having experienced a miracle; and does not speak. Thus the only starting point in understanding the unusual "criminal offence" is the book with a puritan cover, where neither the author, nor the publisher is indicated, only the title: "One Human Minute".
The almanac-style book introduces us to what happens to the whole of mankind in the time 1 minute goes by.

The book store is secured by the state police and an investigation is started in the middle of the night. While they are still questioning the four people concerned and looking for possible clues, the surprisingly well informed media arrive and demand more information. The source of the book is untraceable, and nobody can trace its origins down.

As a result of this event, the book becomes world-famous in a second, and although it is a piece of evidence, it is reprinted and translated. It becomes a bestseller.
The more extensive the investigation, the more mysteries it faces; the four people also become suspicious. The investigation continuously takes different directions, so the book becomes the subject of extreme controversies in all segments of society.

Politics, science, religion and art gets involved in the "hysteria" around the book, demanding the liable person: the author. But the author only exists outside the story as a narrator, he is present only for the audience. From the centre of this "quadruple polarity", he maps the self-contradictions of the four interests by his book and its story.
The four characters (MANAGER, OWNER, CLEANER and READER) all have different approaches to the situation, while in the spotlights of the media all four turn into mythical figures.
The book and its consequences both insult and legitimise politics, science, religion and art, thus the interested groups try to get the four characters, as they are expecting them to make the public opinion favourable for them in the limelight of pressing publicity. Either accepting or rejecting the book, they are "thrown" from one group to the other, all the time following the aspects of the author's book.

Religion tries to corrupt the READER (mystic hermit), but since his demand for reality is much too superior, he does not give in; so they kidnap him and manipulate his statements towards the public. When he escapes, he is forced to stay hidden.
The CLEANER (a young boy), the eyewitness, becomes a key person for Arts, as other interest groups cannot make use of his mysterious character. The Arts, however, interpret him arbitrarily, making a clown of him.
The only unachievable dream of the OWNER (rich male) is the MANAGER (female), who, although in love, is unable to give herself to him. Each of their steps in the story is about the other, their agony is the endless fight of the two sexes. The OWNER sells himself out to Science, the MANAGER to Power; but because both become defenceless, they collapse.
Their personal tribulations change them one by one: they all understand the miracle. They realise that they are only imaginary characters, the world where their destiny takes place only exists in the imagination of the author.



Forum in English / Re: My Interview With Stanislaw Lem
« dnia: Sierpień 02, 2004, 09:47:57 pm »
The questions are wisely chosen, far from being trivial

I totally agree. Very good interview.

One question, was a written interview? was in english or in polish?


Forum in English / One Human Minute into a movie!!??
« dnia: Lipiec 27, 2004, 12:24:12 am »
Check this out (taken from www.imdb.com):


One Human Minute (2005)

Directed by
Zoltán Verebes

Writing credits
Stanislaw Lem (book)

Production Notes/Status:
Status: Announced
Status Updated: 20 April 2004
Note: Since this project is categorized as being in production, the data is subject to change or could be removed completely.

Country: Hungary
Language: Hungarian
Color: Color


Lem said in a recent interview: Now the Americans are going to make another of my books into a film. But I have not given my consent.

However, note that Lem said Americans; the film cited above is from Hungary.

Forum in English / Re: metaphysics and sci-fi
« dnia: Lipiec 24, 2004, 02:29:54 am »
A great Lem's work dealing with metaphysic is Non serviam in his book A Perfect Vacuum.

(an extract)

(Personetics): A “world” for personoid “inhabitants” can be prepared in a couple of hours... A specific personoid activity serves as a triggering mechanism, setting in motion a production process that will gradually augment and define itself; in other words, the world surrounding these beings takes on an unequivocalness only in accordance with their own behavior... From four to seven personoids are optimal, at least for the development of speech and typical exploratory activity, and also for 'culturization’... It is possible to 'accommodate' up to one thousand personoids... Many different philosophies (ontologies and epistemologies) have arisen among them... I can enlarge their world or reduce it, speed up its time or slow it down, alter the mode and means of their perception; I can liquidate them, divide them, multiply them, transform the very ontological foundation of their existence...

Ahead, in the fictional review, the personoids argue between them about the existence an the believing in a "God", or a "Creator"; in this case, the scientist that programmed them.

I think this is one of the best metaphysical writings of Lem.

Forum in English / Re: Lem´s political views
« dnia: Lipiec 24, 2004, 02:09:11 am »
Almost 40 years ago, your hero, Ijon Tichy, made an appeal to save outer space. Are his concerns still relevant, given some sweeping plans like Bush’s “space program”?

Bush is seeking reelection. His advisers remembered the effect of the first landing on the Moon, and proposed a repeat, but on a grander scale. So Mars came in handy. It will take at least 20 years to prepare a flight to Mars. Bush, however, is only concerned with the next four years. But the attempt to portray him as a forward-looking pragmatist has produced an impression.

But he’s been talking about the countless riches on the Moon and Mars.

There is nothing up there. And what about the money for these space adventures? Do you think U.S. Congress will come up with hundreds of billions on a silver platter? Besides, what is the dollar really worth now? In Communist-era Poland it could buy 100 zlotys: That was some money. But now it is worth a mere 3.5 zlotys. Today I am getting more dollars for new editions of my books from Russia than from the United States. We should deal with earthly problems, not with space chimeras.

Yet space has become an arena of rivalry between the great powers, and a hallmark of prestige.

This is not development but militarization, pure and simple. Moreover, it has nothing to do with the Universe: All that matters is within 300 kilometers from the Earth. Militarily, say, the Moon is not very important: After all, 400,000 km is way too far. As for prestige, it is not worth a brass farthing. What really counts is the speed of information transfer. Should a stock exchange go bust someplace in Hong Kong, the whole world will learn about this within two seconds. I am not an expert on economics, but this is what globalization is all about. As for space, it will be the domain of astronomers, astronauts, astrophysics, and so on.

What about Solaris then?

Excuse me, but this is science fiction.

Continue in Solaris thread...

Forum in English / Re: Lem´s political views
« dnia: Lipiec 24, 2004, 02:08:44 am »
Next is a recent (April 2004) interview to Lem about politics.

Taken from:

(there are a tip about Solaris film, I'll post in the Solaris thread)

Sci-Fi Writer Stanislaw Lem on Down-to-Earth Issues


Valery Masterov

The Moscow News Weekly (Warsaw Bureau)

If there were an instrument to gauge thought concentration, it would show an off-scale reading in a house on the outskirts of Krakow where an 83-year-old writer/philosopher has been closely observing the world. We climb to Lem’s study up a ship’s ladder, and from a pile of periodicals cluttering his desk he fishes out a parcel with Chinese characters:
“See, they are already publishing me in China.”

Didn’t you write yourself that the center of gravity is now shifting to Southeast Asia?

That’s right. They say the Chinese have so many greenbacks that they can regulate the dollar exchange rate. They also have their own space program, and have set their sights on the Moon.

Where do you get your facts?

I watch a couple of foreign TV channels, and I get lots of books, newspapers, and journals — from all over the world. The world is unsettled. There is no balance between West and East, the way things were during the Cold War.

Are you saying that it was easier to live in a bipolar world?

Not really. But back then problems were of a different kind, and they were more predictable. There was a balance of fear. Moscow and Washington understood only too well what the prospect of a nuclear war meant. But now the threat is spreading like a pandemic — Pakistan, India, China, North Korea... The very statistics are frightening. In a sleepy little town traffic is light, and the probability of vehicle collision is far less than in megalopolises, where millions of cars are trapped in monstrous traffic jams. Everyone is saying that trouble could strike at any moment, but no one knows exactly where. We have entered an era of international terrorism.
The Americans thought that in Iraq, they would meet with native residents very much as they did with Soviet Army soldiers on the Elbe River, at the end of World War II: All very nice and pally. Bush triumphantly proclaimed the end of the military operation, but that was only the beginning. Madrid is another conundrum… What happened there [Lem means the new, Socialist government’s decision to withdraw Spanish troops from Iraq. — Ed.] is a big concession to God knows what terrorists.

Your latest book, Dilemmas (in Polish, DyLEMaty), opens with an essay on Putin after election to his first presidential term. Now he has just been elected to a second term. Are there any additions you feel you ought to make?

I would, rather, repeat what I have already said: He is wholeheartedly supported by the Russian people, and you can’t resist the people. Of course, there was an element of randomness in Yeltsin’s choice of his successor. All we knew about Putin then was that he had once been a KGB resident in the GDR. There, one could improve one’s German and learn anything — except democracy. Now the world knows a great deal more about Putin. People want order and stability while Russia has in the past few years been steadily developing, which is also admitted by Western experts.

In that case, your observation that “chaos in Russia would have been more useful to us than attempts to run the country more efficiently” should be seen as ironic?

Above all, with regard to Polish politicians. It is always possible to derive political benefit from a time of trouble. Yet it would be simply ridiculous if I were to become a political prophet for Russia. Russia is a vast country with a host of problems, including demographic ones. There is no way you can shake off intellectual sluggishness after 70 years of Communist rule. I do not anticipate any hostile moves toward Poland in Putin’s foreign policy. He has plenty on his plate already. Today, the West prefers to talk to Moscow directly, not through Warsaw. We cannot match Russia’s potential. And this is something that our overambitious politicians should realize.


Forum in English / Re: Ray Bradbury
« dnia: Lipiec 23, 2004, 09:44:35 pm »
Harcourt & Brace, 1984

In the last pages (158 and ss.) of the essay Time travel... of Microworlds, Lem refer to R. Bradbury and J.G. Ballard. While he recognize the skills and artistry of these authors, he is very critic whith their aproach to the genre of s.f.

Lem says that B. limit himself to pointing out the mistakes and the worst of the science an reason (a hopeless pessimism), but fails to explore the outer limits of the rational; the option to a bad knowledge (according to Lem) is more and better knowledge, but Bradbury cancels or dont see this option.

To sum-up, Lem dont says Bradbury is a bad writer (to the contrary), but says he is a SCI-FI flawed author.

I dont know if I did explain me very well, my english is terrible when --trying-- going complex. If I have time I will trascript extracts of the essay, is worthwhile --as all from Lem  ;).

Forum in English / Re: Ray Bradbury
« dnia: Lipiec 21, 2004, 03:57:29 am »
Lem mention Bradbury by name in an essay from Microworlds. I promise look for the exact page. (Its not very praise about him)

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