Mad scientists of Stanisław Lem

1960s: Days of Rage

Mad scientists and inventors appear in the fiction of Stanisław Lem in the memoirs of Lem’s starfaring vagabond Ijon Tichy, collected in The Star Diaries and Memoirs of a Space Traveller, as well as in The Cyberiad. Most of Lem’s mad scientist stories fit into the format of stories about unusual inventions, known since the 19th century, most of them are devoid of ironic tone characteristic of most of Ijon Tichy’s stories and robots’ fables, and they are literary frames for various Lem’s theories. Lem’s mad scientists include professors Corcoran, who created several artificial universes in isolated lockers; Decantor, who created an immortal soul, Zazul, who cloned himself and was apparently killed by the clone who took his place; Diagoras, who created progressing makes of an ‘independent and self-perfecting device that is capable of spontaneous thought’ and was unwittingly used by two such devices…

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