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Ijon Tichy

Ijon Tichy

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Ijon Tichy is a fictional character
Fictional character
A character is the representation of a person in a narrative work of art . Derived from the ancient Greek word kharaktêr , the earliest use in English, in this sense, dates from the Restoration, although it became widely used after its appearance in Tom Jones in 1749. From this, the sense of...

 who appears in several works of Stanisław Lem, including The Futurological Congress
The Futurological Congress
The Futurological Congress is a 1971 black humour science fiction novel by Stanisław Lem detailing 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...

, Peace on Earth
Peace on Earth (novel)
Peace on Earth is a 1987 science fiction novel by Stanisław Lem. The novel describes in a satirical tone the ultimate implications of the arms race....

, Observation on the Spot
Observation on the Spot
Observation on the Spot is a science fiction novel by Stanisław Lem which has not been translated into English. It deals with Ijon Tichy's traveling to a faraway planet, Entia to study their civilization...

, The Star Diaries
The Star Diaries
Dzienniki gwiazdowe is a 1971 collection of short stories by Polish writer Stanisław Lem around the character of space traveller Ijon Tichy...

and Memoirs of a Space Traveller (more stories from The Star Diaries, issued in English translation as a separate volume).


Tichy is a space explorer
Space exploration
Space exploration is the use of space technology to explore outer space. Physical exploration of space is conducted both by human spaceflights and by robotic spacecraft....

 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
Artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence is the intelligence of machines and the branch of computer science that aims to create it. AI textbooks define the field as "the study and design of intelligent agents" where an intelligent agent is a system that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its...

 which is independent of mankind, and Decantor who has invented an immortal soul
A soul in certain spiritual, philosophical, and psychological traditions is the incorporeal essence of a person or living thing or object. Many philosophical and spiritual systems teach that humans have souls, and others teach that all living things and even inanimate objects have souls. The...


Tichy himself is the narrator in all the stories in which he appears. Sometimes he is the main 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.


The Tichy stories are mostly comic or satirical, often exploring traditional science fiction
Science fiction
Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities...

 themes, in a form that can be described as "Science Fiction Tall Tale
Tall Tale
Tall Tale, also known as Tall Tale: The Unbelievable Adventures of Pecos Bill is a 1995 Western adventure fantasy film starring Patrick Swayze, Nick Stahl, Oliver Platt, Roger Aaron Brown, Scott Glenn, Catherine O'Hara, and Jared Harris....

. 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
Time loop
A time loop or temporal loop is a common plot device in science fiction in which time runs normally for a set period but then skips back like a broken record. When the time loop "resets", the memories of most characters are reset...

, 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 hideously 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.

German TV series

On 26 March 2007, the German
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 public television
Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...

 channel ZDF
Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen , ZDF, is a public-service German television broadcaster based in Mainz . It is run as an independent non-profit institution, which was founded by the German federal states . The ZDF is financed by television licence fees called GEZ and advertising revenues...

 began broadcasting 15-minute episodes of Ijon Tichy: Raumpilot
Ijon Tichy: Raumpilot
Ijon Tichy: Raumpilot is a black humour German television series. It is 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...

with Oliver Jahn as protagonist and Nora Tschirner
Nora Tschirner
Nora Marie Tschirner is a German actress and television and radio presenter.-Early life:Nora Tschirner was born in East Berlin to the documentary film director Joachim Tschirner and the radio journalist Waltraud Tschirner. She grew up with her two older brothers in the East Berlin suburb Pankow...

 as Analoge Halluzinelle. Employing CGI
Computer-generated imagery
Computer-generated imagery is the application of the field of computer graphics or, more specifically, 3D computer graphics to special effects in art, video games, films, television programs, commercials, simulators and simulation generally, and printed media...

, the series portray Tichy travels e.g. in a "three-room rocket", which strongly resembles a French press
French press
A French press, also known as a press pot, coffee press, coffee plunger, cafetiere or сafetière à piston, is a simple coffee brewing device that was first patented by Italian designer Attilio Calimani in 1929....

 on the outside, and a 1970s Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

 apartment on the inside. 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.

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