Robot by Lem, Klimowski and Schejbal

Published by SelfMadeHero, Robot presents a comic book reworking of two short stories by Polish science fiction author, Stanislaw Lem, by artists Danusia Schejbal and Andrzej Klimowski

Spread from Klimowski’s story

Published by SelfMadeHero, Robot presents a comic book reworking of two short stories by Polish science fiction author, Stanislaw Lem, by artists Danusia Schejbal and Andrzej Klimowski…

Spread from Schejbal’s story

Taken from Mortal Engines, the first volume of an English translation that split Lem’s 1964 short story collection, The Tales of the Robots, into two books, Robot presents two of these stories in graphic novel form.

Schejbal adapts Uranium Earpieces and Klimowski reworks The Sanatorium of Dr. Vliperdius. Previously the pair have adapted both The Master and Margarita and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as graphic novels.

Spread from Schejbal’s story

In both illustration style and narrative they are very different stories. Schejbal’s adaptation deals in part with the world-forming mythology of the robotic Pallatinids and follows the inventor, Pyron, as he struggles to free his people from the tyrant Archithorius.

Spread from Schejbal’s story

Klimowski’s is, initially at least, more rooted in a recognisable world and set in a secretive sanatorium. Here, the protagonist Mr. Tichy encounters the mysterious Dr. Vliperdius and is confronted with various theories of reality – nature versus a mechanised world, a philosophy of ‘nothingness’ – along the way.

Spread from Klimowski’s story

There are some lovely moment throughout this short book (the stories are around 30 page each).

Klimowski’s mastery of wordless sequences is evident in one six panel section (shown top), for example, which conveys a great sense of tension as Tichy enters Vliperdius’s office; while Schejbal’s use of subtle touches of colour – such as the Uranium earpieces of the story’s title, or the planet’s radioactive mountains – add a haunting layer of meaning to the uniform grey of the robots.

Front cover illustration by Danusia Schejbal. Design by Jeff Willis

Robot is published by SelfMadeHero (£14.99) in an edition of 1,000 copies. It is also available in Polish, published by timof comics.

Back cover illustration by Andrzej Klimowski. Design by Jeff Willis

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