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The Star Diaries: Further Reminiscences of Ijon Tichy

(Ijon Tichy #1)

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  7,059 ratings  ·  329 reviews
“Lem muazzam bir hayal gücü zenginliğine ve karakter yaratma hünerine sahip. Çok komik, alaycı, şaşırtıcı ve bilgili bir yazar.”

— Theodore Sturgeon
Zaman atlamalarında sürekli kendine rastlayan bir gezgin, robotların dünyasını gözetlemeye giden bir casus, uzayda birbirinden garip canlılarla ve uygarlıklarla karşılaşan bir kâşif ve bir süpernova ormanında umutsuzca kaybolup
Paperback, 286 pages
Published June 26th 1985 by Mariner Books (first published 1971)
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Ryan Dash It's a collection of short stories, though they all feature the same main character. Each is self-contained.…moreIt's a collection of short stories, though they all feature the same main character. Each is self-contained.(less)

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Bill Kerwin
May 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction

Although Solaris is Stanislaw Lem’s most esteemed work, I believe The Star Diaries—the contemporaneous memoirs of star-pilot Ijon Tichy—to be a better representative of his genius, for it is ambitious in scope, inventive, and often profound.

The Star Diaries, a series of interplanetary adventures ranging in size from mere vignette to long novella, was written over a period of twenty years, and therefore--no surprise!—these pieces vary considerably in seriousness and depth, moving from the playful
Glenn Russell

Bold adventurer Ijon Tichy zooms across the universe in his midget rocket ship as if zipping around Poland (Stanislaw Lem’s home country) in a midget racing car. Are we talking here about another Flash Gordon or Hans Solo? Hardly. Ijon is more like your prototypical college math instructor with his skinny tie, wrinkled shirt, corduroy pants, scuffed up loafers and nerd eyeglasses held together by tape. But, it must be admitted, Ijon Tichy keeps a level head as he deals with a string of challenge
Feb 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I need to reread this to review the book properly, but I know I liked it a lot, and even made a (view spoiler) out of one story, just for fun. Since I read it first in Finnish, the English reading experience will no doubt feel different :) ...more
Susan Budd
Aug 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Stanislaw Lem is an author I should have discovered decades ago. You’d think that somewhere between Wells and Stapledon, Asimov and Clarke, Bradbury and Vonnegut, I’d have come across Lem. But I didn’t. I might have seen some excerpts in The Mind’s I, but that was long after I stopped reading sci-fi and started my studies in philosophy. Then last year I discovered Lem and he single-handedly renewed my interest in sci-fi.

The Star Diaries is the fifth book I’ve read so far. The others are (in orde
Jeannette Nikolova
Also available on the WondrousBooks blog.

What a fantastic book! One of the best ones that I have read this year!!! If you have not read it, and I assume that is the situation, I highly recommend it!

"I sat at my desk today, to write, and the chair said to me: 'What a strange world this is!"

I will put this bluntly: I am highly aware that the English speaking world generally neglects the literature of the rest of the world, which is the idea behind the Reading the World challenge to begin w

L.S. Popovich
I totally got this mixed up with memoirs Found in a Bathtub when I first posted my review. Only happened because I listened to the audiobook. Which form I recommend for this.

Lem's comedic sensibility is occasionally reminiscent of the Strugatsky's. In this well-framed, light-hearted set of tales, the wordplay and quirky charm are ever-present, though some gags and concepts overstay their welcome. I preferred the couple other mind-altering books I've thus far read by the Polish s-f master thus fa
Jan 31, 2021 rated it liked it
Some of these stories I found wonderfully amusing and inventive, many being absurdist satire of government, religion and human ineptitude in general. Yet, while all have amusing and ridiculous premises, the longer stories in particular felt like a fire hose of wit and absurdity coupled with ceaseless speculation on philosophy, science, etc and endless diversions that became fatiguing and difficult to keep straight. These are probably best digested in small bites, rather than consumed all at once ...more
Charles Dee Mitchell
Feb 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mid-century-sf
The morning I started reading this edition of Lem’s Star Diaries, I got about a hundred pages into it. When I put it down, I felt like I had over-indulged at an all-you-can-eat buffet. Each of Ijon Tichy’s intergalactic adventures in the 23rd century comes so packed with jokes, adventure, word play, hairsbreadth escapes, satire, and sophisticated scientific and philosophical speculation, they are best absorbed one at a time. They are going to all run together in the end, leaving the reader as di ...more
Sean Blake
Equally satirical and philosophical, hilarious and serious, playful and threatening, Stanisław Lem's The Star Diaries is a brilliantly imaginative short story collection about astronaut Ijon Tichy and his bizarre adventures across the cosmos. There are a few short story collections that I come back to on a regular basis, namely Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis and other stories, James Kelman's The Burn, Samuel Beckett's Company and Stanislaw Lem's Star Diaries. ...more
Apr 05, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hardcover, library
This was good fun. I read "Solaris", saw the two versions of the movie, one Russian and the other, American starring Mr. Clooney. My impression based on that was that he was serious, very philosophical and very trippy as well. This book was initially unexpected as it was very humorous, but yet, it had all the elements mentioned about Solaris. It is a different type satirical humour than that of Vonnagut Jr. but on par. This book was equally smart, clever, very funny and introspective all at once ...more
Jan 27, 2017 rated it liked it
I didn't enjoy it as much as expected. Maybe I read it too late. Maybe what was original, witty, creative and imaginative at the time of the book's writing is now part of your ordinary modern sci-fi menu. Most of all, The Star Diaries reminded me of Douglas Adams's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the difference being that Lem's Diaries are not a proper novel, but a collection of short stories. Most of them are meant to be comical and satirize prevalent sci-fi tropes like time travel. Despi ...more
Jan 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
The Star Diaries really defy comparison with anything I have read before. Although the dry humor I expect from Eastern European fiction is there, the story lines and philosophical wanderings are idiosyncratic in the extreme.

Lem's diarist Ijon Tichy is a starship pilot, galactic explorer and self-styled diplomat whose adventures around the universe lead him into frequent philosophical and religious discussions and even more frequent menace to his strange-by-comparison-to-aliens earthling body, me
Apr 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Jeanne by: Roger Peet
I had seen "Solaris" waaay back in college I think. Beautiful, but slowly paced, and this was a time that I slept through bits of a lot of movies. So I was thinking that this series of "journeys" of Ijon Tichy written by the author of Solaris (which I haven't read) would be serious and dry.

I was right and wrong. The subject matter of spaceship navigator Tichy's voyages are plenty serious and related with the driest of humor. Many of the convolutions of time and space involve Tichy, full well kno
Chris Fellows
Mar 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Before Arthur Dent, there was Ijon Tichy.

Before our civilisation disappeared into its own navel, there were the Dichoticans. And before we started to prattle about 'Singularities' the robot monks of Dichotica had already looked unflinchingly into that abyss.

Before we ceased to create science fiction, there was this book showing us the sort of thing we could be creating instead.

Sep 25, 2016 marked it as xx-dnf-skim-reference  ·  review of another edition
Struggled through about 2/3 before giving up. I think I'll finally get around to reading Gulliver's Travels instead. ...more
The Star Diaries by Stanislav Lem is a group of short stories that the author wrote over a time period from 1950s and expanded and reissued in 1971. The stories are travel logs of space traveler, Ijon Tichy and translated by Michael Kandel from the polish in 1976. The Introduction and Introduction to the Expanded Edition are really a part of the book as well and not truly Introductions as can be gatthered from "The press tells us that Tichy used a ghost-writer, or that he never even existed, his ...more
Dec 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, humor
A collection of the unexpected adventures of the famous spaceman Ijon Tichy.

Tichy encounters a variety of strange problems in his travels and solves them in ways that are certainly unconventional. The book excels in absurd writing, full of original ideas and various inventions.

The book, is composed of short stories, all related to his solo voyages in space.
Most of the stories are excellent, some a bit tedious.

My favorites were

"The Eighth Voyage", in which Ijon Tichy represents Earth to petiti
Mar 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars.

A brilliant and hilarious (I find) parody, emblematic of the "Speculative Fiction" Genre, but where the word "Speculative" actually denotes what it's meant to. This is one of the best philosophical Sci-Fi works I have ever read (or rather re-read), and certainly the most original.

When I was reading it decades ago I completely missed all the allusions and references to philosophy and history, which were so clear to me - thus hugely entertaining - now.

Ijon Tichy, the protagonist, is noth
This is a unique book for a sci-fi. Each chapter describes one of the voyages of Ijon Tichy's intergalactic adventures in the 23rd century. The stories are a mixture of futuristic crystal-balling, deadpan humour, discussions on religion, satirical insights into the results of man's constant search for perfection, the dangers of technology and more satire on government bureaucracy and their use of fear to control the population. It is a book of genius.
I really like the Eighth Voyage, which Tichy
Nihal Vrana
After Olaf Stapledon, Stanislaw Lem is my favourite Science-fiction writer. This collection of short stories is considerably weaker than his other works. Lem was a genius for sure, but he was not a comedy genius (drawing neither), the Douglas Adams-like nature of these stories does not really suit well with the gist of his ideas.

One other thing is the character of Ijon Tichy. He might be the most non-existent character in the history of literature. I have read hundreds of pages about him and I h
Jul 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I can only be ashamed of myself passing by this genial stories in high school by one of the best writer of my country, bah - the world! However the timing may be perfect as often you'll find things coming from the past to save your future. I recently started to loose hope for sci-fi genre and looking for older books to rediscover the roots. Lem is universal and beyond time...and funny!
Btw - the story with electronic brains in chests? - now I know who did Wachowsky's ripped off to make Matrix ;)
Dec 31, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
I have decided that I can't finish this book, I got about half-way through. Though it is slightly funny, the science is just wrong and it bugs me to much. It is broken up into twelve voyages that have nothing to do with each other and I don't care what happens. ...more
Erik Graff
Jul 14, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lem fans
Recommended to Erik by: James Koehnline
Shelves: sf
The stories in this collection are variable. All are humorous, but some struck me as simply silly.
Erica Clou
I read this because it was my dad's book. It's a Kandal translation. There's so many ideas in this collection that I assume it's inspired a lot of the science fiction we know. Surely the 8th voyage inspired the first episode of Star Trek the next generation? The very character of Ijon Tichy might have inspired Doctor Who. This was wildly creative, often philosophical, and sometimes funny. ...more
Jul 03, 2017 rated it liked it
The Star Diaries is yet another work demonstrating Lem’s impressive range as an author. In this collection’s tales, many of which can be described as “slapstick,” Lem tackles history, philosophy, religion, and of course science, with tongue planted firmly in cheek throughout. We experience these many farces through the protagonist Ijon Tichy, who is a bit genre savvy but not at all actually savvy (try keeping track of how many times he’s imprisoned). The voice that Lem gives Tichy unifies these ...more
Jennifer Abdo
Apr 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
I wouldn't consider myself a sci fi fan, but this author, like Capek's War With the Newts, has very good points in religion, philosophy, politics, human nature to illustrate. There are dizzying time travel loops, odd creatures and machines, fascinating customs like squamp hunting, like in many sci fi novels no doubt. This one didn't really endear itself to me until the 21st voyage, I have to say, where there is a discussion about God and Satan as dizzying as the recursive time travel loops are t ...more
Apr 24, 2011 rated it liked it
It took me well over two years finishing this book. Some of Lem's Tichy stories are hilarious while others kept going on and on and took me days, weeks even to read those 20 something pages. The good thing is that you can read Tichy's memoirs with breaks in between and continue with yet another one whenever you feel like, and that's what I did and what took me so long.
Stanislaw Lem is one of the greatest science fiction writers of all time, and Ijion Tichy 20th century's legitimate heir to Baro
Aug 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-audio-books
I would describe Stanislaw Lem as the depth of Leo Tolstoy, humor of Woody Allen and absurdity and originality of Douglas Adams -- all under the same roof. This is a brilliant book and the English translation by Michael Kandel is very good. I read lots of Lem in my teen years but now I am going to reread all he wrote. I used to just find his writings funny and interesting but there is so much more on all levels. Too bad Stanislaw Lem is not well known outside Eastern Europe, he deserves a world ...more
Jul 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I love this collection of short-stories about the adventures of astronaut-adventurer Ijon Tichy. The stories are often Swiftian and usually very funny. My favorite involves Tichy in a time-loop in which he argues with a series of past and future selves to try to repair his space-ship. It is an early exploration of themes that are played out more fully in The Time Traveler's Wife. Great summer reading: it's funny and playful but still thought-provoking. ...more
May 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobook
I didn't expect to like this book so much but this has everything I want in a sci-fi book. This is a collection of stories following Ijon Tichy's adventures across the galaxy. I loved the one about the mutant potatoes: "Thus far observations show that man has mashed potatoes millions of times, but it is not inconceivable that one time in a billion the situation could reverse itself, that a potato could mash a man." People in Poland must really like this one, too. ...more
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Stanisław Lem (staˈɲiswaf lɛm) was a Polish science fiction, philosophical and satirical writer of Jewish descent. His books have been translated into 41 languages and have sold over 27 million copies. He is perhaps best known as the author of Solaris, which has twice been made into a feature film. In 1976, Theodore Sturgeon claimed that Lem was the most widely read science-fiction writer in the w ...more

Other books in the series

Ijon Tichy (5 books)
  • Memoirs of a Space Traveler: Further Reminiscences of Ijon Tichy
  • The Futurological Congress: From the Memoirs of Ijon Tichy
  • Peace on Earth
  • Wizja Lokalna

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“A world compelled to good alone is as much a shrine to compulsion as a world compelled to evil only.

The Twenty-first Voyage”
“The semanticists maintained that everything depends on how you interpret the words “potato,” “is” and “moving.” Since the key here is the operational copula “is,” one must examine “is” rigorously. Whereupon they set to work on an Encyclopedia of Cosmic Semasiology, devoting the first four volumes to a discussion of the operational referents of “is.” The neopositivists maintained that it is not clusters of potatoes one directly perceives, but clusters of sensory impressions. Then, employing symbolic logic, they created terms for “cluster of impressions” and “cluster of potatoes,” devised a special calculus of propositions all in algebraic signs and after using up several seas of ink reached the mathematically precise and absolutely undeniable conclusion that 0=0.” 6 likes
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