Ijon Tichy

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Ijon Tichy (Polish pronunciation: [ˈijɔn ˈtixɨ]) is a fictional character who appears in several works of Stanisław Lem: initially in The Star Diaries , later in The Futurological Congress , Peace on Earth , Observation on the Spot , and Memoirs of a Space Traveller (more stories from The Star Diaries, issued in English translation as a separate volume). [1] There also is a 1973 novel Ze wspomnień Ijona Tichego - Profesor A. Dońda.



Tichy is a space explorer whose interplanetary experiences are chronicled in The Star Diaries. He also moves in scientific circles on Earth; he is invited to the Futurological Congress in Costa Rica, and his endorsement and approval are sought by a number of researchers and inventors on the edge of their field, such as doctor Diagoras, who has developed an artificial intelligence that is independent of mankind, and Decantor, who has invented an immortal soul.

Tichy himself is the narrator in all the stories in which he appears. Sometimes he is the protagonist; sometimes he merely serves to introduce some other character who has a story to tell. He is unmarried, usually well-meaning, accident-prone, and commendably honest about his failures, which include (thanks to another unfortunate experience with time) the entire Universe as we know it.

Professor Tarantoga, in his fictional preface for The Star Diaries lists his four literary predecessors comparing him with Baron Munchausen], "Paweł Masłobojnikow", Lemuel Gulliver or Maître Alkofrybas, the last referring to the alias Alcofribas Nasier of François Rabelais, while the remaining one is Pavel Masloboynikov from Mikhail Saltykov-Shchedrin's satirical novel The History of a Town . Literary critics (real ones) offer other parallels to the character. [2]


The Tichy stories are mostly comic or satirical, often exploring traditional science fiction themes, in a form that can be described as "science fiction tall tales". [3] They are sometimes taken to deliberately ridiculous lengths, as in the episode of The Star Diaries where the unfortunate Tichy, caught in a time loop, is repeatedly banged on the head with a saucepan wielded by future versions of himself. In other stories Tichy meets alien civilisations whose detached perspective enables Lem to poke fun at humanity; on one of his voyages Tichy meets a priest whose colleague has been horrifically martyred by a thoroughly unselfish and well-intentioned race of aliens because he had told them that a martyr's death was one of the greatest things to which a Christian could aspire. Elsewhere Tichy meets a race of aliens (called "Indioci" in the Polish original, "Phools" in the English translation) who, desiring perfect harmony in their lives, entrust themselves to a machine, which converts them into shiny discs to be arranged in pleasant patterns across their planet.


A genealogical sketch of Tichy family is given in Lem's Star Diaries . Notable family members are:

In film

German TV series

On 26 March 2007, the German public television channel ZDF began broadcasting 15-minute episodes of Ijon Tichy: Raumpilot with Oliver Jahn as protagonist and Nora Tschirner as Analoge Halluzinelle. [7] Employing CGI, the series portray Tichy travels e.g. in a "three-bedroom rocket", which strongly resembles a French press on the outside and a 1970s Berlin apartment on the inside. [8] The TV adventures often deviate somewhat from those told in the Star Diaries, in part due to the tight 15-minute frame. The series was made available on internet in streaming video.

Asteroids 343000 Ijontichy [9] and 343444 Halluzinelle [10] are named in commemoration of the series.


See article The Star Diaries for more.

In addition, in the 1965 Polish science fiction short Przyjaciel ["The Friend"] [11] based on the story with the same name from the collection An Invasion of Aldebaran  [ pl ] the narrator's name is engineer Tichy.

Related Research Articles

Stanisław Lem Polish science fiction author, futurologist 1921—2006)

Stanisław Herman Lem was a Polish writer of science fiction and essays on various subjects, including philosophy, futurology, and literary criticism. Many of his science fiction stories are of satirical and humorous character. Lem's books have been translated into over 40 languages and have sold over 45 million copies. Worldwide, he is best known as the author of the 1961 novel Solaris, which has been made into a feature film three times. In 1976, Theodore Sturgeon wrote that Lem was the most widely read science fiction writer in the world. Lem's works explore philosophical themes through speculations on technology, the nature of intelligence, the impossibility of communication with and understanding of alien intelligence, despair about human limitations, and humanity's place in the Universe. They are sometimes presented as fiction, but others are in the form of essays or philosophical books.

<i>The Invincible</i> 1964 science fiction novel by Polish writer Stanisław Lem

The Invincible is a hard science fiction novel by Polish writer Stanisław Lem, published in 1964.

<i>The Futurological Congress</i>

The Futurological Congress is a 1971 black humour science fiction novel by Polish author Stanisław Lem. It details the exploits of the hero of a number of his books, Ijon Tichy, as he visits the Eighth World Futurological Congress at a Hilton Hotel in Costa Rica. The book is Lem's take on the common science fictional trope of an apparently Utopian future that turns out to be an illusion.

<i>Peace on Earth</i> (novel)

Peace on Earth is a 1985 science fiction novel by Polish writer Stanisław Lem. The novel describes, in a satirical tone, the ultimate implications of the arms race. It is a continuation of the adventures of Ijon Tichy.

<i>The Star Diaries</i>

The Star Diaries is a series of short stories of the adventures of space traveller Ijon Tichy, of satirical nature,, by Polish writer Stanisław Lem. The first ones were published in a 1954 collection Sezam i inne opowiadania 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 the adventures of Ijon Tichy.

Nora Tschirner

Nora Marie Tschirner is a German film actress, musician and former television and radio presenter.

Professor Tarantoga, xenozoologist, traveller, and inventor, is a fictional character from science fiction works by Stanislaw Lem.

Ijon Tichy: Space Pilot is a satiric German television series loosely based on the series of science fiction stories The Star Diaries by Stanisław Lem. The television series was created by Randa Chahoud, Dennis Jacobsen, and Oliver Jahn with Jahn playing the protagonist, space traveller Ijon Tichy. The major female role, the female robot hologramme, is played by Nora Tschirner.

Simulated consciousness,synthetic consciousness, etc. is a theme of a number of works in science fiction. The theme is one step beyond the concept of the "brain in a vat"/"simulated reality" in that not only the perceived reality but the brain and its consciousness are simulations themselves.

Sepulki or sepulcas are unclearly defined fictional objects found in works of Polish science fiction writer Stanisław Lem, The Star Diaries and Observation on the Spot. A fictional encyclopedia lists them as "objects used for sepuling".

The General Theory of Everything is a sarcastic coinage of Stanisław Lem introduced in 1966. The biographical sketch of Ijon Tichy in "The Twenty-eighth Voyage" of Tychy's Star Diaries says that a grandfather of Ijon, Jeremiasz Tichy, "decided to create the General Theory of Everything, and nothing stopped him from doing this".

Mad scientists appear in fiction of Stanisław Lem in the memoirs of Lem's starfaring vagabond Ijon Tichy, collected in The Star Diaries and Memoirs of a Space Traveller. They include professors Corcoran, who created several artificial universes in isolated lockers; Decantor, who created an immortal soul, Zazul, who cloned himself and was apparently killed by the clone who took his place; Diagoras, who created progressing makes of an "independent and self-perfecting device that is capable of spontaneous thought" and was unwittingly used by the two of them as a communication medium; doctor Vliperdius, a robot doctor who runs an asylum for mentally ill robots; and professor A. Dońda. Dońda catastrophically succeeded in his quest to prove mass-information equivalence, analogous to mass–energy equivalence: by accumulating a huge amount of useless information in a supercomputer, Donda made the total amount of information accumulated by humanity to cross a certain threshold, after which it all converted into a new universe, leaving humanity without any knowledge.

Przekładaniec is a 1968 short science fiction comedy film directed by Andrzej Wajda based on the screenplay by Stanisław Lem, which was a loose adaptation of Lem's 1955 short story turned into a radio play Czy pan istnieje, Mr. Johns?. The title of the film was variously translated into English as Layer Cake, Hodge Podge, or Roly Poly.

Bibliography of Stanisław Lem List of works about Polish science fiction writer Stanisław Lem

This bibliography of Stanisław Lem is a list of works about Stanisław Lem, a Polish science fiction writer and essayist.

Professor A. Dońda (Polish: Profesor A. Dońda is a satirical apocalyptic science fiction novelette by Polish writer Stanisław Lem. It was first published in a satirical magazine Szpilki in 1973 and later republished in several collections and anthologies.

"Koniec świata o ósmej" is an early (1947) science fiction novelette by Polish writer Stanisław Lem. Professor Farragus claims that he discovered a "matter detonator" substance, which, when heated, starts a chain reaction causing the destruction of all matter. Irritated by a non-recognition of his fundamental discovery, and mockery, he decides to prove he is right by destroying the Universe.

Robots of Stanisław Lem

Robots of Stanisław Lem are best known from writer's series Fables for Robots (1964), written in the grotesque form of folk fairy tales, set in the universe populated by robots. In this universe there are robot kings, robot peasants, robot knights, robot scientists; a robot damsel in distress is pestered by a robot dragon, robot dogs have robot fleas, etc. The collection The Cyberiad (1965) belongs to the same grotesque cross-genre of fairy tale and science fiction. Its main protagonists are robots-"constructors" Trurl and Klapaucius, who are something of both sorcerers and engineers.

"Lymphater's Formula" is a 1961 short story of science fiction short story by Polish writer Stanisław Lem. It is a story of a "mad scientist", mathematician Ammon Lymphater, who invents an artificial intelligence, and then he realizes that it is capable of rendering the humankind obsolete.


  1. "Stanislaw Lem Bibliography".
  2. 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
  3. McIrvin, Matt. "Star Diaries". VITRIFAX. Archived from the original on 2007-05-23.
  4. Stanisław Lem, Star Diaries , "The Twenty-eighth Voyage"
  5. "Ijon Tichy", at Stanisław Lem's official website
  6. Krzysztof J. Kilian, Sny o teoriach ostatecznych a problem przyszłości filozofii, ("Dreams about Ultimate Theories and the Problem of the Future of Philosophy") ΣΟΦΙΑ, no. 8, 2008
  7. zdf.de Ijon Tichy: Raumpilot Archived 2012-01-16 at the Wayback Machine (in German)
  8. "Serialowa adaptacja Lema w Berlinie", Gazeta.pl, 2007-02-14 (retrieved July 24, 2013).
  9. "343000 Ijontichy".
  10. "JPL Small-Body Database Browser".
  11. The Friend (1965) on IMDb