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Memoirs of a Space Traveler: Further Reminiscences of Ijon Tichy Paperback – April 20, 1983

4.4 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"[Lem is] a Jorge Luis Borges for the Space Age, who plays in earnest with every concept of philosophy and physics, from free will to probability theory." --New York Times Book Review
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Polish --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 153 pages
  • Publisher: Harvest / HBJ Books (April 20, 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156586355
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156586351
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,315,330 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Stanislaw Lem is the most widely translated and best known science fiction author writing outside of the English language. Winner of the Kafka Prize, he is a contributor to many magazines, including the New Yorker, and he is the author of numerous works, including Solaris.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
"Memoirs of a Space Traveler: Further Reminiscences of Ijon Tichy," by Stanislaw Lem, has been translated into English by Joel Stern and Maria Swiecicka-Ziemianek. The main text is preceded by a publisher's note, which declares that contents of this book (my review refers to the Harvest edition published by Harcourt, Brace & Co.) appeared in the 1971 Polish edition of the book entitled "The Star Diaries," but not in the British and American editions with the same title. Thus this book could be seen as the second volume of Lem's original Polish "Star Diaries." Despite all this, I believe that this book works fine as a stand-alone literary work, so go ahead and ignore the publisher's note if you like.
The book is divided up into several sections, each of which could stand alone as a short story. Each piece is told in the first person by space traveler Ijon Tichy. He discusses his voyages beyond the Solar System and his encounters with an assortment of eccentric scientists on Earth.
"Memoirs" is a delightful, pungent blend of science fiction, philosophy, satire, and horror. Witty and haunting, funny and frightening, it's spiced by clever wordplay.
Lem deals with such topics as artificial intelligence, time travel, environmental exploitation, the nature of the human soul, and the origins of the universe. He describes many whimsical extraterrestrial species, such as the foul-tailed fetido and bottombiter chair ants. Overall, this wacky, surreal book shows Lem to be a soul brother to Edgar Allan Poe, Dr. Seuss, and Kurt Vonnegut.
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Format: Paperback
For the love of all that is decent, I don't know why "Further Reminiscences" hasn't been combined with "The Star Diaries" to make one handy volume. First of all, thdestinction is essentially artificial - "Further Reminiscences" contains two journeys which were dropped, for one reason or another, from the American edition of the Diaries, a selection of Earthside "reminiscences", a short called "Doctor Diagoras", and the fantastic "Let Us Save the Universe", all of which were present in the original Polish edition. Even the books' sizes favor an omnibus re-issue (250 and 150 pages, respectively).
The two "new" journies found in this book are the eighteenth and the twenty-eighth. The 18th is essentially a shorter, more readable version of the 20th (found in the parent volume), and the classic, oft-reprinted 28th deals with personal freedoms (the Phools and the Master Machine that was created to mediate their conflicts - and thus decides to refabricate them in stone to stop their chaotic quarrels).
The five "further reminiscences" are essentially humorless essays, each dealing with a specific philosophical idea. In each, Tichy comes into contact with some sort of scientific visionary (be it Corcoran, Decantor, Zazul, or Molteris), and, after ascertaining that they aren't insane, listens to their wild stories: Corcoran constructs mechanical brains whose lives and fate are mere recordings in a large steel drum; Decantor wants to immortalize the soul by encasing it in crystal; Zazul tells the gruesome story of his attempt to clone himself; Molteris produces a functional time machine, and, without examining the possible consequences, tests it on himself.
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Format: Paperback
A sequel to The Star Diaries, we visit once again with Ijon Tichy in more amusing (mis?)adventures.Is it as good as the prequel? Unfortunately, no--but it comes mighty close.And where else could you find answers to questions such as: Just who created the universe and why'd they foul it up so miserably? Why haven't they gotten all the bugs out of this time travel business? How come clones are so touchy? What does Doctor Diagoras have in those vats anyway? And, perhaps the Eternal Question we've all asked ouselves at one time or another: How do we know we're all not just brains kept in a box by a mad scientist who's feeding us sensory data of what we believe to be the real world? Hmmm. The words themselves are a sheer pleasure to read.(I'm determined to work "entelechy" sometime into a conversation.) There are puns and other word-plays of the kind only Lem does so easily. Even if you've never read a work by Lem, I'm sure you'll enjoy this one.
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Format: Paperback
If you have never read a Lem story before, then I highly recommend this novel as a starting point. In this book of short stories, Lem is at at his artful best. Startlingly simple and surprisingly shrewd, the stories expound upon many of the ageless questions which humanity as a whole have attempted to deal with since the beginning of consciousness i.e. genesis of man, existence of spirit/soul, man's primal instinct to destruct etc. In short, this collection of stories serve as a delicious sample of the smorgasboard of creative delights that Lem is known for. His acerbic wit, intellectual prowess, and devastatingly entertaining drollness are all apparent within this collection. A great read written in true Lem "virtuoso" form. Indeed, if one were so inclined, this is the place to start looking for answers to the 'meaning of life'. And even if you do not find the 'ultimate' answer within the pages of this novella/collection of works, at least you can be sure of being entertained!
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