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The Star Diaries: Further Reminiscences of Ijon Tichy (From the Memoirs of Ijon Tichy Book 1) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 288 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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From the Back Cover
In a firsthand account, Lem's hapless cosmonaut Ijon Tichy tells warped tales from the civilizations he discovers in a deep space galaxy so unlike our own that concepts of science, the rational mind, human progress, the sanctity of life, and motherhood all no longer apply. In their place, Tichy finds sadomasochistic robots who speak a dialect much like Chaucerian English, killer potatoes with an appetite for spacecraft, and robot theologians who are being relentlessly persecuted by creators who have renounced their original faith. Full of the intellectual satire for which Stanislaw Lem is esteemed, The Star Diaries speaks volumes about contemporary society in its depiction of highly bizarre, faraway, futuristic worlds.
"A Jorge Luis Borges for the Space Age, who plays in earnest with every concept of philosophy and physics..." --New York Times
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.
--This text refers to the hardcover edition.
- File size : 4053 KB
- Publication date : July 18, 2012
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 288 pages
- Publisher : Mariner Books (July 18, 2012)
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Language: : English
- ASIN : B008R2JCT8
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #354,488 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Set aside the multiplicity of definitions of religion and religiosity and settle on this. Religious thought is the logical process of reasoning in light of an incomplete informational data set. Let’s lay aside Godel’s theorem and all the other information theoretic constructs were familiar with. There are just some things we just don’t know. What’s human consciousness? What is the source of our feeling of self-awareness or just plain self? Why is there an apparent order to the universe? Why can’t there be just plain nothing – the most-symmetric state!
So there’s no conflict between religious and scientific thought. They just cover different domains. But technology throws a whole bunch of new stuff into the mix. For example, many church dogma hold that an immortal “soul” (whatever that is) is engendered at conception. Well, suppose you could “reverse generate” a being – take it from its adult form back to a sperm and egg pair and then return those two parts to their original separate states. Where did the “immortal soul” go?
But there are two basic boundary conditions in all this: whatever we come up with, it can’t violate our basic perception of the universe (a rose is a rose is a rose…) and it can’t be contradictory. So either the soul (if there is a soul) is immortal, or it isn’t!
In the voyage in question, Lem’s hero – Ijon Tichy ( I, John Cheeky) – lands on a distant planet and encounters a group called “ the Demolition Friars.” This is a religious sect whose members are robots. Turns out that for a while, many years in the planets past, there were arguments and violent out-breaks over religious belief. And every time one side looked like it was winning, some technological advance would give the advantage to the other. This is just like the issue of the immortal soul in light of “reverse generation.”
So the planet’s inhabitants thought these problems were just so complex and the answers so, ultimately, trivial that they handed them over to machines (such as the Demolition Friars.) The friars realized that the problem, at its base, was not solvable. But also, they realized, that based on the construct of physical beings, chemical (or other physical manipulations) were always possible. You could take a pill that would make you a devout catholic or another pill that would make you an atheist.
And in the end, the Friars came up with the ultimate “faith bomb.” A procedure so powerful (chemical, surgical, verbal, whatever) that its recipient would “believe.” They would see the internal logic of the universe, realize without doubt, the spiritual nature of the universe, the immortality of the soul, the existence of God (whatever that is) and see into the ultimate mystery with perfect clarity. And, what’s more, the process would be irreversible. It couldn’t be undone - once a believer, always a believer. WOW!
But the friars refused to pull the trigger. They would not deploy their “best shot.” They, themselves, would remain to “sit among fossilized rats in this maze of dried up sewers.” But they would not deprive their fellow beings freedom of choice… whatever that is.
What an incredible story! This is clearly the best “theology” to come out of the last 2000 years.
P.S. If you are a fan of synthy-pop music, a perfect companion for this book is the music album "Rings Around The World" by Super Furry Animals.
For those familiar with Vonnegut's fictitious author Kilgore Trout, the writing style is very reminiscent of him, and the book Venus on the Halfshell purportedly written by him (but actually written by Farmer). That is the style of this science fiction.
That said, it’s not like some authors who get the science wrong, it’s that the technology isn’t what is important to his story and he violates it knowingly when it makes for a better story.
Top reviews from other countries
If you like: Douglas Adams, Futurama, Robinson Crusoe (and you've wondered what a space version would be like), The Travels of John Mandeville (and you've wondered what a space version would be like), Tales of the Unexpected, magical realism (but space)
Then: you will love this.