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Book Title: Tähtipäiväkirjat|
The author of the book: Stanisław Lem
Date of issue: 1983
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 19.25 MB
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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 to the satiric and eventually the philosophical. Yet even the earliest, like “The Twenty-Second Voyage”—the numbering bears no relation to the date of composition—are often surprising and memorable (part of its plot resurfaced, more than a decade later, in Borges’ “The Gospel According to Mark”).
Although these stories are remarkably original, they also show a clear progression of influences. Ijon Tichy, who begins as the Baron Munchausen of space travel, soon resembles Swift’s Gulliver more closely as he begins to comment on the hypocrisies of society, but eventually Lem’s tone darkens and deepens as Tichy becomes less a star-pilot and more like the disembodied narrative voice of Stapledon’s Starmaker.
The Star Diaries contains excellent examples of each type of story. “The Twenty-Second Voyage,” for example, is a very Munchausen-like tale, organized around Tichy’s search through the planets for his missing pipe. “The Eleventh Voyage,” a satire of the totalitarian state in which people dressed as robots inform on other people dressed as robots, is Lem in his classic Swiftian mode. Even better, though, are the later Swiftian tales where Tichy, still a hero, begins to explore more philosophical topics: “The Seventh Voyage” (a hilarious send-up of time travel tales in general, where Tichy attempts to travel back in time to help himself fix his damaged spacecraft), and “The Eighth Voyage” (in which Tichy, delegate to The United Planets, represents earth, a candidate for admission).
Also worthy of attention are the later tales, of which a quintessential example is “The Twenty-First Voyage,” the last in order of composition and also the longest. I’ll admit I found it rough-going in places, but the startling difference between the two peoples presented here—nonreligious human consumed with a fad for body-engineering contrasted with robot monks who reverence the classic human form—was haunting and thought-provoking. It presented elements of the “pro-choice” and “right to life” philosophical positions in an extremely different context, and gave me much to think about.
If you love science fiction, you must read this book. It is a classic of the genre, crowded with invention and full of ideas.
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Read information about the authorStanisław 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 world.
His works explore philosophical themes; speculation on technology, the nature of intelligence, the impossibility of mutual communication and understanding, despair about human limitations and humankind's place in the universe. They are sometimes presented as fiction, but others are in the form of essays or philosophical books. Translations of his works are difficult and multiple translated versions of his works exist.
Lem became truly productive after 1956, when the de-Stalinization period led to the "Polish October", when Poland experienced an increase in freedom of speech. Between 1956 and 1968, Lem authored 17 books. His works were widely translated abroad (although mostly in the Eastern Bloc countries). In 1957 he published his first non-fiction, philosophical book, Dialogi (Dialogues), one of his two most famous philosophical texts along with Summa Technologiae (1964). The Summa is notable for being a unique analysis of prospective social, cybernetic, and biological advances. In this work, Lem discusses philosophical implications of technologies that were completely in the realm of science fiction then, but are gaining importance today—like, for instance, virtual reality and nanotechnology. Over the next few decades, he published many books, both science fiction and philosophical/futurological, although from the 1980s onwards he tended to concentrate on philosophical texts and essays.
He gained international fame for The Cyberiad, a series of humorous short stories from a mechanical universe ruled by robots, first published in English in 1974. His best-known novels include Solaris (1961), His Master's Voice (Głos pana, 1968), and the late Fiasco (Fiasko, 1987), expressing most strongly his major theme of the futility of mankind's attempts to comprehend the truly alien. Solaris was made into a film in 1972 by Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky and won a Special Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 1972; in 2002, Steven Soderbergh directed a Hollywood remake starring George Clooney.
He was the cousin of poet Marian Hemar.
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