Wojciech Orlinski Polish novelist an journalist, recommends

(CLASSIC: first published in The Star Diaries, HMH)

The Star Diaries cycle by my favourite Polish writer is, in general, a parody of the ‘golden age’ science-fiction, where a lone star traveler, named Ijon Tichy, encounters in his spaceship adventures roughly similar to those described in ‘The Voyage of the Space Beagle’ by Van Vogt or Asimovs Foundation, but with a Slavic twist and a crazy sense of humour. In the ‘Seventh Voyage’ Ijon Tichy suffers a malfunction of his spaceship and discovers that it cannot be repaired by a single person. One man must hold the bolt, while the other tightens the nut. But our hero, as usual, is going solo across the Universe. Is he doomed? No! With his expert knowledge of the Einstein’s theory, he turns his spaceship towards a gravitational vortex, to encounter the relativistic phenomenon known as the “time loop” – hoping that he will meet himself, they will fix the rocket together and have the problem solved. He is partially right. The spaceship soon becomes indeed populated by the likes of “Monday-me”, “Tuesday-me”, “Wednesday-me” etc., but now the real problem arises. All the Ijon Tichy’s from all the days of the week have perfectly logical excuses, why someone else should be doing the dirty job. And, of course, everyone has also pretty strong argument, why it should be precisely him, who gets the last bar of chocolate. When logic fails, a lead pipe will do, so poor Tichy is pretty close of clubbing himself to death, until… please finish the story at the following link….

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(MODERN: from Think Like a Dinosaur and Other Stories, Golden Gryphon Press, 1995)

This is a great story. Despite my love for the classic, golden age science-fiction and its parodies, I still feel that level of ambition is just too much. We as a species are not meant to travel through space. Sorry to spoil it for you, guys. It’s just not possible, with our life cycle, biological limitations and psychological requirements, all that bad and good stuff that make us human. But what if we make contact with another civilization, the namesake “dinosaurs” from this story? And they can teach you how to transcend our limitations? All that we need would be learn to “think like a dinosaur”. But this turns out to be the hard part…

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