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The Star Diaries
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If one does read the stories in the chronological order, a certain evolution becomes clear: the earlier stories are light-hearted social satire with Ijon Tichy as the book's extremely close-minded but nevertheless courteous and polite hero romping about on alien planets ("Due to the retardation of the passage of time, my sneeze lasted five days and five nights, and when Tarantoga again opened the little door, he found me nearly unconscious with exhaustion", 12th Journey); but with each new journey the reader is bound to notice that the backgrounds begin to become more and more Earthlike, the cheerful pseudo-sci-fi camouflage is dropped, and Ijon himself becomes a convention designed to deliver the plot's message. Some of these later journeys begin to drag quite impressively (20 bored me to tears - especially when I realized that it's a direct copy of a shorter story in the "Further Reminiscences"), but from time to time deliver an incredibly potent message (13 and 21 being the most prominent examples - both dealing with personal freedoms).Read more ›
Even though it's not a long book, "The Star Diaries" is best enjoyed in small doses. Some of the more lighthearted tales resemble the best Monty Python skits (and are just as hysterical). In the Seventh Voyage, for example, Tichy gets caught in time loops which causes multiple versions of himself to encounter one another. "That Friday me by now was the Saturday me and perhaps was suddenly knocking about somewhere in the vicinity of Sunday, while this Friday me inside the spacesuit had only recently been the Thursday me, into which same Thursday me I myself had been transformed at midnight." By the end of the chapter, the spaceship is so crowded with Ijon Tichys that they can barely move around.
Other stories tend more towards historical parody or philosophical commentary. The allusions run so fast and thick that these (particularly the Twentieth and Twenty-First Voyages) pay rereading, and even then I found myself puzzling over some of the references. The themes and plots of these tales most resemble Borges's cabalistic fables (it would be interesting to know if Borges was an influence) and, although they are absorbing in their own right, I don't think Lem's stories are as rewarding as Borges's fiction--but then again, Borges doesn?t demand as much of his reader.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I had to read this for a class at university. If it wasn't for this class, I probably would not have finished this book. It was very weird. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Toni
High concept SiFi and social/political satire... what could be better than that?Published 2 months ago by M. Minecki
Great little book, lovely writing, translation is funny and therefore probably excellent. The Kindle edition does have numerous typos and OCR errors - I hoped to get more for my... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Abraham Dolinger
I appreciate Stanislaw Lem's metaphysical philosophy, but it was too much at times, and the letter size font was too small. Overlong and dull at times.Published 5 months ago by Bartok Kinski
A strange read. Very hard work. Not the entertaining romp I was looking for.Published 6 months ago by GC
I always say you cannot go wrong reading the work of Stanislaw Lem, and once again that statement was prove right. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Rich M.
Let’s focus on what I think is the most significant part of the Star Diaries collection: the 21st voyage. Clearly, this is Lem’s Summa Theologica for a technological age. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Marty
the first voyage in the book was great fun, I enjoyed the rest of the voyages, they were very imaginative, however, I think I would have enjoyed the stories more if I had read... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Harvey James Smith