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The Seventh Voyage of Ijon Tichy, by Stanislaw Lem
October 6, 2012 2:23 PM   Subscribe

It was on a Monday, April second - I was cruising in the vicinity of Betelgeuse - when a meteor no larger than a lima bean pierced the hull, shattered the drive regulator and part of the rudder, as a result of which the rocket lost all maneuverability.

The voyages of Ijon Tichy have been loosely adapted into a German television series. You can watch its second and fifth episodes with English subtitles.
posted by Egg Shen (40 comments total) 82 users marked this as a favorite

 
Stanislaw Lem, Y U So Awesome?
posted by Aquaman at 2:31 PM on October 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Thanks! Another author I knew nothing about. But now want to.

(and thanks for the editing!)

Damn I love the Internets Metafilter
posted by Artful Codger at 2:34 PM on October 6, 2012


The Spearhead of Cognition - Bruce Sterling on Lem.
posted by Artw at 2:42 PM on October 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Lem's the best. Catch 'em all!
posted by BentFranklin at 2:50 PM on October 6, 2012


It's been a while since I read these stories but did the inside of Ijon Tichy's spaceship look like a government project apartment?
posted by octothorpe at 3:01 PM on October 6, 2012


It's been a while since I read these stories but did the inside of Ijon Tichy's spaceship look like a government project apartment?

It varies from voyage to voyage. In the seventh he can be seen making an omelet at his space stove. There's a navigation room full of maps and star charts. Invariably, there is also a nuclear pile aboard. In the twenty-eighth, Tichy is aboard a generation ship with all kinds of Tichys — aunts, uncles, grandfathers, grandmothers, everyone — that gradually disappear due to relativistic disturbances, leaving him to continue his seemingly endless journey alone.
posted by Nomyte at 3:11 PM on October 6, 2012


OMG this is totally amazing. I always thought Lem's stories were totally impossible to turn into films. They took a few liberties, and I totally did not envision Ijon Tichy like this, but it's still awesome.
posted by charlie don't surf at 3:16 PM on October 6, 2012


Prior to watching, I feel firmly that Ijon Tichy's adventures can only be shown in animated form. We'll see how I feel AFTER watching.
posted by DU at 3:49 PM on October 6, 2012


Holy crap! I've just discovered that Solaris is finally available in an allegedly decent direct English translation. Only took half a century.
posted by pont at 3:57 PM on October 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is this that Tartakovsky adaptation we were just discussing?
posted by mwhybark at 4:08 PM on October 6, 2012


Tichy is aboard a generation ship with all kinds of Tichys — aunts, uncles, grandfathers, grandmothers, everyone — that gradually disappear due to relativistic disturbances, leaving him to continue his seemingly endless journey alone.

Take that, late series Red Dwarf haters!
posted by mwhybark at 4:09 PM on October 6, 2012


IMHO Solaris is still a great read in the allegedly crap translation - still want to give the new one a go though.
posted by Artw at 4:12 PM on October 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, that was amazing.
posted by DU at 4:17 PM on October 6, 2012


Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse!
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:30 PM on October 6, 2012


Dang, that was *great*.
posted by mwhybark at 4:51 PM on October 6, 2012


I wasn't expecting much when I started watching it, but then I became so overwhelmed my reserve had to step in to write this comment.
posted by In The Annex at 4:53 PM on October 6, 2012


OK this is awesome - just started watching but had to say that the line ... "Until today she couldn't grasp solid material" seems to be foreshadowing something more than rocket ship repair ....
posted by Podkayne of Pasadena at 5:03 PM on October 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


- Yeah, I can recognize Lem from just the first half of that sentence.
- Oh, you've discovered Ijon Tichy. Well, that's nice for you.
- Yes, yes, I am aware of the German series.
- English subtitles? OMG ThankYouThankYouThankYouThankYouThankYouThankYouThankYouThankYouThankYouThankYouThankYouThankYouThankYou!!
posted by benito.strauss at 5:15 PM on October 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Mwhybark: Tarkovsky
posted by Joseph Gurl at 6:01 PM on October 6, 2012


Pssst.... I know
posted by mwhybark at 6:08 PM on October 6, 2012


Oh, you've discovered Ijon Tichy. Well, that's nice for you.

I have a distinct feeling that Egg Shen did not just discover Ijon Tichy.
posted by Nomyte at 9:04 PM on October 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Love it. But I am a little sad that the translation doesn't have one of my favorite lines, "You're a mammal, yes? Happy mammaling."
posted by benito.strauss at 9:05 PM on October 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


"You're a mammal, yes? Happy mammaling."

That line makes more sense in the original, because the Polish for "mammals" is something like "milk-feeders." Thus, "happy milk-feeding."
posted by Nomyte at 9:50 PM on October 6, 2012


Fuck. The Star Diaries is probably my number one favourite book and this quote is from my favourite story therein. I have written two short stories and an entire novel that are basically naught but homages to the Star Diaries and no one will buy them.
posted by 256 at 9:57 PM on October 6, 2012


And now I have watched those videos and NEED this entire series on DVD. Please tell me you have a link for me!
posted by 256 at 10:14 PM on October 6, 2012


Wow, great! But who subtitled these? Or, more importantly, how do we get more?
posted by vacapinta at 2:06 AM on October 7, 2012


256: "And now I have watched those videos and NEED this entire series on DVD. Please tell me you have a link for me!"

You're in luck! Not only are the DVDs on amazon.de, but according to Amazon, the second series has English subtitles! I've also found subtitles for the first series on a subtitle collecting website.

Series 1, Series 2 & Both together on Amazon, first series subtitles.
posted by pharm at 2:54 AM on October 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


- Yeah, I can recognize Lem from just the first half of that sentence.

Me too. He was one of the great joys of my childhood, and the 7th was one of my favorite of Tichy's outings, rivaled only by The Futurological Congress, in which Tichy seems to emerge from cryo into a fabulously wonderful future, and the 11th Voyage, where he infiltrates a hostile planet filled with curiously arthritic robots.

I'm surprised that mefite Trurl has not chimed in yet. Speaking of Trurl, check out this 1988 Lem adaptation (should start at 1:06:22), which almost makes Raumpilot look good.
posted by xigxag at 3:48 AM on October 7, 2012


I'm surprised that mefite Trurl has not chimed in yet.

Um.
posted by adamdschneider at 7:43 AM on October 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


That line makes more sense in the original, because the Polish for "mammals" is something like "milk-feeders." Thus, "happy milk-feeding."
The Polish word is "ssak", which literally means "sucker" - although its meaning is restricted almost exclusively to the class Mammalia and doesn't bear negative connotations that "sucker" does. So it would be "You're a sucker, yes? Happy sucking" - if mammals were called "suckers" in English.
I don't envy the translator the challenge...
posted by hat_eater at 8:00 AM on October 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also, thanks for this! I had no idea.
posted by hat_eater at 8:01 AM on October 7, 2012


You could give up on verbing "mammal": "You're a mammal, yes? Happy mammaries!" (which is funny since it's like "yay, boobies")
posted by jepler at 8:13 AM on October 7, 2012


I have a distinct feeling that Egg Shen did not just discover Ijon Tichy.
posted by Nomyte


Oh, of course. I was just describing my thinking as I was reading the post — I probably should have made that clear in my post. Because I was (initially) wondering why someone was posting Lem to MetaFilter.

That line makes more sense in the original ...

That's almost a disappointment; it's the non-sense of it that I like so much. "What'cha up to?". "Not much, just mammaling about." From what hat_eater says it's similarly absurd in the original, with ssak having a restricted usage. I'd bet that most english speakers barely connect the word "mammal" with "mammaries", unless they think really hard.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:00 AM on October 7, 2012


From what hat_eater says it's similarly absurd in the original

Not as much as in the translation. While the inference is absurd, it is also etymologically sound, as the word ssak (one which sucks) is derived from ssać (to suck). Sorry to partially disappoint you.
posted by hat_eater at 1:26 PM on October 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Perhaps "suckle" could be used in the translation. "Does your species suckle its young? Happy suckling!"
posted by Nomyte at 1:32 PM on October 7, 2012


Hammond-fueled surf for the soundtrack without anything being "extreme", low-tech design, and built on great science-fiction. YES PLEASE MORE THANK YOU.
posted by Spatch at 7:21 PM on October 7, 2012


A friend of mine has unfortunately let lapse his Stanislaw Lem fansite, Vitrifax, but it's preserved by the Internet Wayback machine.

Vitrifax is a device featured in the possibly-a-Tichy book "Fiasco," a device designed to preserve the pilot of a kind of space-walker in case of emergency. Well, the part of the pilot that counts: upon activation it slams into top of your head, through your helmet and skull, quick-freezing your brain with a blast of cryogenic fluids.
posted by Sunburnt at 8:28 PM on October 7, 2012


That description makes me want to invent a very cold and potent cocktail and name it "vitrifax".
posted by benito.strauss at 9:07 PM on October 7, 2012


I do not recall Tichy in Fiasco but Pirx is there and SPOILERS REDACTED.
posted by wobh at 3:10 AM on October 8, 2012


The music in the German adaptation is so great. It blisses me out.
posted by brainwane at 10:18 PM on October 9, 2012


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