The Star Diaries by Stanislaw Lem (another Swedish author!) came into my life due to an observant patron recognizing my Star Trek tattoo as the nerd alert that it is and recommending it to me. [Hallelujah!] The book is organized into short stories touted as the numbered voyages of Ijon Tichy. [A/N: Don't be thrown by the fact they aren't in order. Read my note at the end of this review for a better understanding.] The beginning offers an introduction which has the reader questioning the 'validity' of Tichy as a narrator and the last voyage really solidifies that doubt. [We are given to believe that these chronicles are studied by dedicated scholars and that Tichy is a great explorer.] We follow Tichy as he makes his way across the universe on a solo trip which ultimately turns into a philosophical journey about the nature of being and how he fits into the grand picture of the universe. One particular story was a standout for me (and absolutely terrifying) featuring robot monks, wild furniture, and a type of humanity that was horrifying for Tichy (and the reader) to behold. (Really dig into the underlying message here.) Lem, like most good sci-fi writers, is looking at what it means to be human by tapping into our curiosity for all things that are decidedly alien or other. Tichy is our lens into a world that is as ever changing as the various voyages that he makes. I absolutely loved it. 10/10
A/N: A note at the back of the book explained that the voyages were written out of order because Lem wrote the book over the course of 20 years and his writing style changed somewhat across the span of the stories.
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