This essay examines how Stanisław Lem mobilizes the genre of science fiction to portray regional Central European concerns as structural conditions of semiperiphery. The essay centers on Lem’s interest in illegibility, which defines him as a novelist and a critic, showing how his argument against the US monopoly within the genre of science fiction is reflected in his novels. Focusing on Lem’s paralleling of female masochism and epistemological critique, the essay reads Solaris as a novel invested in inspecting the interrelatedness of systems of oppression.

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