The Star Diaries

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The Star Diaries
First edition
AuthorStanisław Lem
Original titlePolish: Dzienniki gwiazdowe
TranslatorEnglish: Michael Kandel
IllustratorStanisław Lem
Cover artistMarian Stachurski
LanguagePolish, English, German, Russian
GenreScience fiction, satire, philosophical fiction
PublisherIskry (1957)
Publication date
1957, 1971
Published in English
Media typePrint (paperback)

The Star Diaries is a series of short stories of the adventures of space traveller Ijon Tichy, of satirical nature,[1] by Polish writer Stanisław Lem. The first ones were published in a 1954 collection Sezam i inne opowiadania [pl] [nb 1] and first published as a separate book in 1957 titled Dzienniki gwiazdowe, expanded in 1971. Closely related to this series is the series Ze wspomnień Ijona Tichego [From the Memoirs of Ijon Tichy]. Usually these stories, and several others, are considered to be the same cycle of the adventures of Ijon Tichy.

The permit of the Communist censors for the 1954 publication described The Star Diaries as a satire of the capitalist society while failing to notice numerous parallels with the Communist society.[1]

The collections were published in English in two volumes, The Star Diaries (published New York, 1976) and Memoirs of a Space Traveller (published London, 1982).


The Star Diaries[edit]

Translated by Michael Kandel.

  • Introduction and Introduction to the Expanded Edition, in which professor Tarantoga presents the latest information on the documentation of Ijon Tichy's exploits.
  • "The Seventh Voyage", in which a spaceship defect forces Tichy through a series of time vortices, creating a multitude of temporal copies of himself.
  • "The Eighth Voyage", in which Ijon Tichy represents Earth to petition for its admission to the United Planets.
  • "The Eleventh Voyage", in which Ijon Tichy travels in disguise to the planet Circia to attempt to bring an end to hostilities coming from its robot population.
  • "The Twelfth Voyage", in which Ijon Tichy employs Prof. Tarantoga's new invention of time acceleration on the planet of Microcephalics.
  • "The Thirteenth Voyage", in which Ijon Tichy sets out to meet Master Oh. Instead, he finds two planets (Pinta and Panta) ruled according to the Master's principles. On Pinta, people are trying to become fish using a technique called evolution by persuasion. On Panta, all inhabitants are identical clones and exchange their jobs daily.
  • "The Fourteenth Voyage", in which Ijon Tichy goes hunting for Squamp (Polish: kurdel) - an animal whose area is several hectares and is being puzzled by mysterious objects, called scrupts (Polish: sepulki).
  • "The Eighteenth Voyage", in which Ijon Tichy helps create the cause of our universe from a single electron.
  • "The Twentieth Voyage", in which Ijon Tichy is forced by his future self to lead a programme to ameliorate Earth's and mankind's history.
  • "The Twenty-first Voyage", in which Ijon Tichy visits Dichotica (Polish: Dykhtonia) - a civilisation which achieved total corporeal and mental plasticity after a thousand-year rule by automorphists, the local equivalent of transhumanists.
  • "The Twenty-second Voyage", in which Ijon Tichy learns of the troubles of evangelising extraterrestrial civilisations.
  • "The Twenty-third Voyage", in which Ijon Tichy visits a tiny planet, whose inhabitants save living space by frequently storing themselves as 'atom dust'.
  • "The Twenty-fourth Voyage", in which Ijon Tichy visits a civilisation which has assigned all power to a machine to establish planetary harmony. The machine changed them all into shiny discs to be arranged in pleasant patterns across their planet.
  • "The Twenty-fifth Voyage"
  • "The Twenty-eighth Voyage"

Memoirs of a Space Traveler: Further Reminiscences of Ijon Tichy[edit]

Translated by Joel Stern and Maria Swiecicka-Ziemianek

  • "The Eighteenth Voyage"
  • "The Twenty-fourth Voyage"
  • "Further Reminiscences of Ijon Tichy (Parts I-V)"
    • - I (“Professor Corcoran”),
    • II (“Professor Decantor”),
    • III (“Professor Zazul”),
    • IV (“Mr Molteris, the Physicist”)
    • V (“Tragedia pralnicza” - “The Washing Machine Tragedy”),
  • "Doctor Diagoras"
  • "Let Us Save the Universe (An Open Letter from Ijon Tichy)"

The 2017 Kindle edition [2] contains the first English translation of the following novel:

Other stories from elsewhere[edit]

  • "Zakład doktora Vliperdiusa" ("Dr. Vliperdius' Factory") (1964)
  • "Pożytek ze smoka" ("On the Utility of the Dragon"), written in 1983. First published in German as "Vom Nutzen des Drachen" (Metall, 1983).Translated Russian as О выгодности дракона (1991), translated by Konstantin Dushenko. The first Polish print was in the collection of the same name, Pożytek ze smoka [pl] (1993).
Although the narration is from the first person, it is commonly recognized that the narrator is Ijon Tichy. The story is about the travel of Tichy to the planet Abrazia (Polish: Abrazja), where, as Tichy had heard, the economy of the local civilization was based on the single huge dragon. The dragon is an allegory of the Soviet Union and its relations to its satellite states ("Soviet Empire"). Later a postscript was added to the story: "P.S. They say the dragon broke up into mall ones, but their appetite did not decrease."[3]
  • "Ijon Tichy's Last Voyage" (not to be confused with "The Twenty-sixth and Last Voyage"); only published in the German (October 1996) and Polish (May 1999) editions of Playboy.
  • The 1961 short story Formula Lymphatera Lymphater's Formula was first published in the collection Księga robotów (Book of Robots) with the pre-annotation "from the memoirs of Ijon Tichy". The story was never republished with this pre-annotation, and nothing in the novel gives any indication at Ijon Tichy. Piotr Krywak tried to figure out possible explanations for this, apart from a typographical error.[4]

Never translated into English[edit]


In 1965 a Polish TV film Professor Zazul [ru] was released, director Marek Nowicki [pl].[5]

German-language adaptations of several voyages taken by Ijon Tichy exist. In 2001 and 2002, two independent short films were made, running about 15 minutes each, directed by Dennis Jacobsen, Randa Chahoud, and Oliver Jahn (Jahn also played the main character Ijon Tichy), with Nora Tschirner starring as the female hologram. In 2006, the same team produced a miniseries called Ijon Tichy: Raumpilot for German TV, with 6 episodes of 15 minutes each again, which premiered March 2007 on ZDF. A second series of 8 episodes followed in 2011.

Theater in Quarantine and Sinking Ship Productions adapted "The Seventh Voyage", in which Tichy gets stuck in a time loop, into a work of streaming theater during the COVID-19 pandemic. The piece was created by director Jonathan Levin, playwright Josh Luxenberg, and performer Joshua William Gelb. The adaption, titled The 7th Voyage of Egon Tichy,[6] was live-streamed twice on July 30, 2020 and posted on YouTube. It made use of Gelb's closet to represent Tichy's spaceship, and Gelb performed live with pre-recorded images of himself.[7][8]

The Seventh Voyage is also the base of the science fiction comedy film Pokój ("Room") by Krzysztof Jankowski premiered on February 5, 2021 online (VoD).[9] In the film Tichy (Wojciech Solarz [pl]) was going to announce a protest against the weaponizing the "spacetime warper" at the Panslavic Parliament, but he was seized by the antagonists and a new weapon was tested upon him. A side effect of the weapon is the multiplication of Tichy. However instead of taking an advantage of this for an escape, Tichy starts to argue with his clones, leading to comic situations similar to these in "The Seventh Voyage".[10][11] "The Eleventh Voyage" was a base of the 1999 Futurama episode 0105 "Fear of a Bot Planet".[12] In Lem's story Ijon Tichy crash-lands on a planet populated with human-hating robots, so he disguises himself as a robot. Eventually he finds out that all robots are in fact disguised humans. The story in Futurama loosely uses the plot trick of the planet of human-hating robots.

"The Fourteenth Voyage" was rendered as an animation film in the Soviet Union in 1985. Produced by Azerbaijanfilm in Russian language, this 10-minute film was titled From the Diaries of Ijon Tichy. A Voyage to Enteropia (Russian: Из дневников Ийона Тихого. Путешествие на Интеропию). Its screenwriter and director is Russian animator Gennady Tischchenko [ru].[13]


  1. ^ In fact the first publication of "the Twenty-fourth Voyage" appeared in the December 27, 1953 issue of Życie Literackie [pl] weekly under the title "Powiastki galaktyczne. Z przygód słynnego gwiazdokrążcy, Ijona Tichego. Podróż dwudziesta trzecia" ["Galactic Tales. From the Adventures of the Famous Star Wanderer Ijon Tichy. The Twenty-Third Voyage"][1]


  1. ^ a b c Marcin Wołk, "Nie być Indiotą. O „Dziennikach gwiazdowych” Stanisława Lema", In: "Od Lema do Sienkiewicza (z Ingardenem w tle). Prace literaturoznawcze ofiarowane Profesorowi Andrzejowi Stoffowi w siedemdziesiątą rocznicę urodzin", Toruń 2017
  2. ^
  3. ^ Krzysztof Grudnik, "Pożytek z trzech głów. O smoku Stanisława Lema.", Guliwer. Kwartalnik o książce dla dziecka, issue 1, 2010.
  4. ^ Piotr Krywak, „Formuła Lymphatera” Stanisława Lema – zapomniana opowieść o Ijonie Tichym?, Annales Universitatis Paedagogicae Cracoviensis | Studia ad Bibliothecarum Scientiam Pertinentia, vol. 4, 2006
  6. ^ The 7th Voyage of Egon Tichy
  7. ^ Shaw, Helen (2020-07-31). "Go Small and Go Home: Tiny Theater Made in Quarantine". Vulture. Retrieved 2020-09-04.
  8. ^ Green, Jesse (2020-07-31). "Review: A Sci-Fi Classic Featuring a Multiverse of Stooges". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-09-04.
  9. ^ "Krzysztof Jankowski: Lem przekonywał, że póki się wadzimy, póty nie znajdziemy rozwiązania problemu ", by Artur Zaborski, February 9, 2021, culture'pl
  10. ^ W rolach głównych Wojciech Solarz - zobacz zwiastun "Pokoju" według Stanisława Lema, with a teaser,, November 5, 2020
  11. ^ Pokój siódmy [pl]
  12. ^ "13 Things Lem Predicted About The Future We Live In" (retrieved April 14, 2020)
  13. ^ From the Diaries of Ijon Tichy. A Voyage to Enteropia at IMDb

External links[edit]