Star diaries

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The Sterntagebücher collection , originally in Polish Dzienniki gwiazdowe , is a compilation of fictional travelogues by the spaceman Ijon Tichy and comes from the pen of the author Stanisław Lem . Formally, they are humorous science fiction stories, but Lem also deals with epistemological , psychological , sociological and ethical questions, such as the intelligence and life of machines (e.g. in the washing machine tragedy ), human encounters with oneself (using time loops) or the relativity of subjective impressions, and throughout also political themes of the Cold War , dressed in metaphors.

The series of stories about the spaceman Ijon Tichy also includes the novels The futurological congress (1971), Lokaltermin (1982) and The Flop (1987, also under the title Peace on Earth ).

Editions and scope

The first Polish edition of Dzienniki gwiazdowe appeared in 1957. This first edition contained trips 12, 14, 22, 23, 24, 25 and 26. For the second edition of the collection, published in 1966, trips 7, 8, 11, 13 and 28 were added added (and trip 26 deleted). In the third edition in 1971, Lem finally added trips 18, 20 and 21.

Chapter of the Star Diaries (Ijon Tichy's Travels)

The titles of the individual short stories are limited to chronological but incomplete numbering - Ijon Tichy himself points out that due to his serious problems with time gaps and loops, a clear chronology of his life has become impossible - the competing memoirs of the also fall into this context various temporal manifestations of Tichy given in the appendices.

  • Seventh trip: Ijon Tichy is alone on the way to Betelgeuse when a small meteor destroys the controls of his rocket. No problem at all, because Tichy has both a spare part and a suitable tool with him. All he needs is a second person to hold the other end of the screw. Without any control, Tichy falls into the sphere of influence of gravitational vortices, which create some time overlaps. Tichy shows up here in large numbers and stands in his own way in a funny way. Sometimes he experiences two encounters and the rocket fills more and more with incarnations of himself from the past and the future. Tichy is only saved because two young man's editions of himself tighten the screw, whereupon the controls work again.
  • Eighth trip: The eighth trip only takes place as the protagonist's dream. Ijon Tichy is Earth Delegate and candidate to the United Planets Organization Council. Linguistic problems can be overcome with the help of an informative-translative tablet. There remain physical and primarily cultural difficulties for a person (categorized as type Aberrantia> Nekroludentia> Monstroteratus Furiosus , translated absurd> corpse player> Gräßel-Wüteriche ). Conclusion of our career: development through arms race, bomb in front of power plant, carnivore. Accusation z. B. Extermination of the better Neanderthals and falsification of history. If a civilization cannot explore its extraplanetary origins, it will fall on the wrong track of doctrines created out of confusion and despair. Amazing explanation for UFOs before the all changing ending.
  • Eleventh voyage: Ijon Tichy is sent on a secret mission to a planet where the gift of God milk carrier crashed sixty years ago . There is a suspicion that the crash can be traced back to a mutiny of the on-board computer. After this accident, the on-board computer of the spaceship founded a robot state that made hatred of humanity its principle. The computer calls itself The Calculator after its previous task . All of the earthly agents that were sent to this planet for reconnaissance have disappeared and never reappeared. Tichy is disguised as a machine on this trip and is deposited on the planet. He gets to know the strange customs of the robots and finally clears up the mystery of the calculator.
  • Twelfth trip: On this excursion, Ijon Tichy travels to the planet Amauropien in the constellation of the Cyclops to test a machine developed by Professor Tarantoga. This is a time machine that, depending on the setting, can speed up or slow down the passage of time. The planet has lowly evolved beings called microcephalies. Tichy tries to speed up the time on these and is thus more than once in mortal danger. Depending on the stage of development, the beings worship him or pursue and arrest him. Ultimately, Tichy aborts the experiment and lets time run backwards.
  • Thirteenth trip: (also: The journey to master Oh) Master Oh is considered a 'benefactor of the cosmos', because he has made various galactic civilizations happy with socio-technological achievements (so-called prostheses) and led them in harmony, for example in Europe 'Arrester for unfriendly feelings'. Tichy embarks on a nine-year trip to the planet Hinterschein to meet Master Oh. But out of carelessness he gets caught between the quarreling twin planets Pinta and Panta. Everything on Pinta is under water and the people have to try to become “fishier” when instructed from above. Tichy is arrested and sentenced by the Pintas police because he has a can of sprats on board, which is considered an anti-fish act. Tichy escapes, but this time he is arrested by the Panta police. All residents of Panta look the same, have no names and change their place in society every twenty-four hours (rulers, gardeners, teachers, fathers, sisters): the individual has been abolished. Tichy is accused of "personal sophistication" among other things. As the worst punishment, Tichy threatens expulsion from society and expulsion, whereupon Tichy is willingly pleaded guilty. When he learns that the pantic society is based on ideas from Master Oh, Tichy's desire to meet the Master fades.
  • Fourteenth trip: Tichy travels to the planet Enteropia, which is badly hit by meteorite impacts. The inhabitants (Ardriten: glowing crystal beings) can be routinely copied, and if someone has been hit by a meteorite, they are replaced by a copy. Tichy himself has to experience this first hand. The giant armored Kulupen are hunted on Enteropia: the hunter allows himself to be swallowed by one in order to deposit a time fuse inside. After Tichy kills one himself, he learns from a scholar that the kulupes used to protect the Ardrites from the meteorites and enable them to survive, and that it is a shame that hunting is now bringing them to the brink of extinction. On this trip, Tichy found out about the "Sepulken" (singular: Sepulka), fictional objects, the purpose and appearance of which, despite intensive research, was still completely unclear at the end of the trip. What is clear is that it is taboo on Enteropia to talk about it in public.
  • Eighteenth trip: The theoretical physicist Prof. Rasglas has found out that the universe must have emerged spontaneously from “nothing”. Thus the universe exists “on credit” and could fall back into nothing at any moment. To remedy this dangerous condition, Prof. Tarantoga, Rasglas and Tichy decide to shoot a single electron back through time to the beginning of the universe so that there would be a reason for its existence. In order not to let this unique opportunity slip by, they also want to 'program' certain improvements in the universe in general and in people in particular in the electron. Unfortunately, the lab technician Hauffen and his two friends have Ast. A. Roth and Boels E. Bubb other plans ...
  • Twentieth Trip Tichy receives a visit from himself from the future. His future self forces him to travel to 2661 to become director of a program to improve the history of the solar system. Compared to the high cosmic civilizations, future people are ashamed of their history full of "slaughter in the family tree" and want to mend it by means of targeted interventions by time-traveling agents. In the course of the gigantic project, accidents, errors and incompetence accumulate, which lead to exactly the course of history that we know. As a punishment, Tichy gradually banishes more and more of the responsible department heads to various places in the past of human history, where they in turn become outstanding historical figures.
  • Twenty-first trip: Tichy uses Hopfstosser's theory to discover the most developed cosmos civilizations, in order to choose the highly developed planet Dychtonia as a travel destination. Total physical autonomy is realized in Dychtonia. Here, technology allows in principle all conceivable body shapes and functions to be realized. Tichy is hidden by a group of benevolent monks for having an illegal body and learns from them the amazing history of the planet and the unusual nature of the monks.
  • Twenty-second trip: Tichy arranges the artifacts that have accumulated with him after all his travels and gives some purrs that occur to him about these items. He gets stuck with a pocket knife that he lost once on a planet he couldn't find: there were just too many of them in this part of the cosmos. During his search, he meets a clergyman who tells him desperately how faith is getting weaker and weaker in view of the diversity of the inhabited planets and how his most hopeful missionaries are quickly secularized if they are not treated by the evangelized aliens with all kinds of tortures from the Christian martyrs' stories to be put to death. Tichy wants to comfort the priest when the penknife slips out of the lining of his jacket.
  • Twenty-third voyage: Tichy reads in Tarantoga's works of a planet so tiny that all of its inhabitants have to stand on one leg if they all leave the house at the same time. To check this claim, Tichy immediately travels to the bishops who live on the said planet. It is actually very small, so that the bishops spend much of their lives in the "atomized" state. A precision device produces an atomic description of the person, whereupon the bishop can be nebulized into atoms and stored in a space-saving manner until an alarm clock causes it to be reassembled from the atoms. - Here Lem has playfully developed a concept that would later appear in Star Trek when beaming .
  • Twenty-fourth trip: Tichy discovers a planet with completely empty cities, on the surface of which geometric patterns made of circular and square plates are laid out. When he finds the last inhabitants, the Indians, they explain to him how the rights to property and free will have led to the threat of famine. As a way out, a gigantic machine was commissioned to restore harmony to the planet. Now the machine processes the Indians into the said plates and lays them out in patterns, so all conflicts are over. Tichy is also offered to be transformed, but he escapes with the words that he is not an indiot after all.
  • Twenty-fifth voyage: On one of the main roads in the Great Bear , the traveling rockets are attacked by strange structures, which later turn out to be the earthly Solana tuberosa . At this point, a dispute breaks out between the local residents about the existence of these potatoes, in which many earthly philosophers and scientists get involved. One of them is Professor Tarantoga, who has his own theory and who manages to catch a space potato. Afterwards, however, he has to move away from the case in order to keep an appointment with Tichy, who in turn arrives 20 minutes late at the agreed meeting point and chases after Tarantoga's letters because he has already traveled on. The aim of the joint project is the search for life on particularly hot, semi-liquid planets.
  • Twenty-sixth and final trip: Tichy hears about the mosquitoes on the planet Meopsera, which are said to have an extraordinary resemblance to humans, and sets out on a journey there without knowing the exact course. When he accidentally lands on an unknown world, he finds the mosquitoes stranger than expected. They claim to be Merican, worship a deity named Ejbom, and are afraid of an enemy named Rasha. Of course, it turns out that Tichy has ended up in the United States, in the middle of the atomic bomb hysteria, and he finishes his recordings in the remand prison. - This parody of the Cold War was only included in the first Polish edition (1957) and the translation of this edition published in the GDR in 1961. Lem explained in the prefaces of later editions that the 26th journey had turned out to be apocryphal .
  • Twenty-eighth voyage: Ijon Tichy is on a journey that will take many years to complete. He reports on a method to keep one's wits about even in such loneliness: to think up people of both sexes with whom one can interact. In the following, Tichy uses the time to list his ancestors. Starting with the mysterious progenitor Anonymus Tichy up to Ijon's grandfather Kosma and father Auror, for whom the family history becomes quite chaotic. Since his grandfather and father also used the above-mentioned method against loneliness, Ijon Tichy feared towards the end of the story that he was only part of their fiction and not really existent.

Further texts contained in the German edition

German editions of the Sterntagebücher also contain other texts by Ijon Tichy in different combinations:

  • From the memories of Ijon Tichy I: In this episode Tichy meets the solipsistic professor Corcoran, who only believes in the existence of his own self. See Descartes . To underline his philosophical worldview, Corcoran put some electronic brains into a state of virtual reality. Like this electronic simulation, in his opinion, what happens in our world, which we believe to be real, also runs.
  • From the memories of Ijon Tichy II: Tichy is visited one day by the unknown Professor Decantor, who thinks he has invented a way of preserving a “ soul ”. It gives relative immortality to a certain person. The container for this soul must, however, be created at great expense. But the price of immortality is high: You lose the human shell and all senses of perception - and the soul exists in complete isolation from the world, so it exists in complete nothingness , so to speak . For the demonstration, Decantor “preserved” the soul of his own wife and this idea is so terrible for Tichy that he gives up all his possessions in order to redeem the poor soul from what he believes is a terrible existence “in nothing”. He persuades Decantor to break the container, with which the soul in it dies. This story stimulates reflection on the subject of death and redemption.
  • From the memories of Ijon Tichy III: On a stormy day, Tichy is walking to an old property. The landlord turns out to be the misanthropist Professor Sasul. Only after an emotional discussion does he allow Tichy in and lead him into a laboratory. There Ijon Tichy finds a person in a tank who looks exactly like Sasul. Sasul explains that he created this person in an artificial process and that he is a copy of him. Today this would be called cloning . In the end, Tichy is still scared when the alleged professor reveals to Sasul that he is in reality the professor's copy.
  • From the memories of Ijon Tichy IV: This time Tichy is visited by a man named Molteris who claims to have invented a time machine . He vividly demonstrates his invention and convinces Tichy of the functionality of the machine. After all, Molteris wants to travel through time herself, but does not foresee that the time traveler will also age faster . Because of this mistake, Molteris' remains and the time machine will be lost somewhere in the future.
  • From the memories of Ijon Tichy V (The Washing Machine Tragedy): Tichy describes how the competition between two washing machine manufacturers leads to a new gender of robots and a host of legal problems. This story is also linked to Tichy's eleventh star voyage, during which the calculator from the spaceship God's gift founded a robot state.
  • Professor A. Donda: The eponymous Professor Affidavit Donda discovers during his work in a developing African country that information stored on computers has a mass . However, this is discovered too late, so that a critical mass of data forms, the explosion of which destroys all electronic devices worldwide and thus severely affects human civilization.
  • The institution of Doctor Vliperdius: By chance in this episode, Tichy becomes aware of a mental hospital for robots, which he visits immediately. He is talking to some inmates who have problems like those that humans have. For example, a patient expresses the fear that his entire life will be fooled and that he is just a machine without a soul and consciousness of his own.
  • Doctor Diagoras: Similar to the four memories , Tichy meets a strange scientist, the cyberneticist Doctor Diagoras, whom Tichy became aware of because Diagoras fell out with his entire guild. He visits him and learns about his various experiments to create new forms of life, many of which Diagoras himself can no longer understand, up to a being that can hardly be tamed.
  • Let's Save the Cosmos (Ijon Tichy's Open Letter)
  • The benefits of the Dragon: On the planet Abrasien lived a giant, a mountain range ähnelnder dragon , making the movements of parts of the neighboring states uninhabitable. The people of the planet have made it their business to put the dragons in a mild mood by feeding them (" exporting " food). When doing research on site, Tichy learns that the entire economic system is only geared towards the dragon, although in fact there is no danger from him, as the dragon would die without being fed. At the end of the story there is the statement that the dragon has become a principle for the shavers and a kind of reason of state .

In addition, the German edition of Playboy published in October 1996:

  • Ijon Tichy's last trip: After six years, Ijon Tichy is returning to earth for the first time and realizes that a lot has changed during this time. Confused, Tichy looks for one of Tarantoga's nephews, who gives him a little explanation. The Internet has changed rapidly in recent years and has led to sometimes grotesque changes in human coexistence. After Tichy realizes that the insecurity created by the new techniques can lead to frustration, he decides to leave the earth again and fly back to the constellation Cassiopeia . This trip is not to be confused with the twenty-sixth trip (see above).

See also


  • Stanisław Lem: Dzienniki gwiazdowe , Warsaw 1957 (original edition)
  • Stanisław Lem: Dzienniki gwiazdowe , Warsaw 1971 (greatly expanded edition)
  • Stanisław Lem: Star diaries of the space explorer Ijon Tichy. Edited by Astral Sternu Tarantoga, professor of astralzoology at Fomalhaut University. Volk und Welt, Berlin (GDR) 1961 (158 pages; contains the 12th, 14th, 22nd, 24th, 25th and 26th trips)
  • Stanisław Lem: Star Diaries. Volk und Welt, Berlin (GDR) 1973, LN 302, 410/42/73 (556 p .; additionally contains the 7th, 8th, 11th, 13th, 18th, 20th, 21st, 23rd, 28th trip [but not the 26th] and from the memories of Ijon Tichys [in 5 parts], Professor A. Donda , The establishment of Dr. Vliperdius , Doctor Diagoras , Let's save the cosmos )
  • Stanisław Lem: Star Diaries . Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1978, ISBN 3-518-36959-8 .
  • Stanisław Lem: Star Diaries . Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 2003, ISBN 3-518-45534-6 .


  • Bartholomäus Figatowski: “One shouldn't pass everything on to God.” Stanislaw Lem's creation stories between dilettantism and chance. In: Walter Delabar, Frauke Schlieckau (Ed.): Bluescreen. Visions, dreams, nightmares and reflections of the fantastic and utopian. Aisthesis, Bielefeld 2010, ISBN 978-3-89528-769-5 , pp. 169–180, (examines in particular from Ijon Tichy's memories ).