Meet Ijon Tichy—a space age adventurer who encounters faulty time machines, intelligent washing machines, and other puzzling phenomena—in this collection from a sci-fi legend
Memoirs of a Space Traveler follows the adventures of Ijon Tichy, a Gulliver of the space age, who leads readers through strange experiments involving, among other puzzling phenomena, faulty time machines, intelligent washing machines, and suicidal potatoes. The scientists Tichy encounters make plans that are grandiose, and strike bargains that are Faustian. They pursue humanity’s greatest and most ancient obsessions: immortality, artificial intelligence, and top-of-the-line consumer items.
By turns satirical, philosophical, and absurd, these stories express the most starkly original and prescient notions of a master of speculative fiction.
The late Lem (1921 2006) demonstrates his mastery of satirical science fiction in this witty collection of six stories, first published in 1957, all of which are narrated by spacefarer Gulliver Ijon Tichy. "The Eighteenth Voyage," which opens the book, tells of a time-travel experiment to correct the anomalous creation of the universe with deeply flawed results. In "Professor A Do da," the closing tale, human civilization collapses when the digitization of information reaches explosive critical mass. The long, episodic "Further Reminiscences of Ijon Tichy" recounts Tichy's encounters with a succession of crackpot inventors who seek his financial support, and "Let Us Save the Universe" is a plea to protect galactic flora and fauna endangered by reckless cosmic tourism, delightfully illustrated with the author's own drawings. Much of the enjoyment of these stories derives from the rationales that Lem, who was a physician, provides for their most outlandish extrapolations. This classic collection will appeal to readers who like their science fiction light and effervescent.