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arontoma
October 29th, 2010, 09:52 PM
Hi everyone,

I've been looking for a book that I read about ~15 years ago. It is a humorous science fiction book, in the style of Douglas Adams, with absurd things happening all the time. I remember little about the story, but I think the story centers around a person in a space ship, traveling around. I think the person is alone in this space ship in the beginning of the book, drifting in space.

At one instance this person (maybe along with other people) goes to an alien planet. On the planet there are many natural disasters striking all the time, so the chance of being in an accident is quite high. The inhabitants of this planet solved the problem, with people dying from accidents all the time, by having spare clones. If you die, your memory is transferred into a clone, and it is revived and you go on to live as nothing happened.

I think in the book the main character dies on this planet, but awakens by the inhabitants having made him a clone, and then the story goes on with absurdities.

I tried look around on the web on many occasions, but I think the book is to old to be sufficiently written-about on the web (pre 1995 or so). I've been around libraries looking for it as well, but I have found nothing so far. I tried to browse various sites and forums but nothing. Any help is greatly appreciated!

Many thanks!

Zeratul
October 30th, 2010, 08:05 AM
At one instance this person (maybe along with other people) goes to an alien planet. On the planet there are many natural disasters striking all the time, so the chance of being in an accident is quite high. The inhabitants of this planet solved the problem, with people dying from accidents all the time, by having spare clones. If you die, your memory is transferred into a clone, and it is revived and you go on to live as nothing happened.

I think in the book the main character dies on this planet, but awakens by the inhabitants having made him a clone, and then the story goes on with absurdities.

This sounds like one of the stories in Stanislaw Lem's Star Diaries - The Fourteenth Voyage, to be precise.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Star_Diaries - does any of the other plot synopses seem familiar to you?

arontoma
October 30th, 2010, 09:18 AM
Hi,

Thank you for the suggestion! I'm off to the library now, speed-reading some books. The series are divided into two books, right? Would you say it's a well known series? The reason I'm asking is because I read the book in English at a small library in a rural town in Sweden. I'm pretty sure the author was not Swedish, so it had to be a somewhat-well-known book in order for the library to obtain it. I'll keep you posted of my findings.

Zeratul, thanks a lot for the info so far!

Zeratul
October 30th, 2010, 09:43 AM
Lem is prettu much the only non-English language sci-fi writer to achieve worldwide popularity (except Jules Verne) and this is one of his best known works, so I'd say it's well known. Though now I am starting to wonder why would a Swedish library will have available an English translation of a Polish language novel instead of a Swedish translation, so maybe my guess is wrong or maybe it wasn't published in Swedish...

Anyway, here's more of the plot of the mentioned 14th voyage - the main character arrived on an alien planet with the goal to hunt really special animals, which were a few kilometres long and with a skin so thick they could withstand meteoric showers. The way to hunt them is to get swallowed by them and then set a time bomb in their belly, and this is what to main character does in his hunt. Does this ring a bell to you?

arontoma
October 30th, 2010, 01:04 PM
Hi,

So after browsing around the library a bit I finally found a (non-polish) copy of the Star Diaries. However, the 14th voyage and the description of it did not ring a bell, and I think my brain distorted the memory quite a bit. This makes it even more remarkable that the short description I gave you rang a bell in your mind. What made me certain that this is the correct book is however a passage in the first chapter (7th voyage), where the protagonist tries to fix his space ship, and doing so he looses his dinner which goes on to orbit his ship. The food was a piece of his best cut sirloin and I'm now certain that this is indeed the book.

Moreover, it also solves the language confusion, why would a Swedish library have an English translation of a Polish book? I thought it was in English, since when kids are told to read books not in their own first language they usually read translated versions of original works, e.g. Polish to English, so that the English is a bit simplified in the translation process. But now I'm sure it was not in English since I'm 100% sure that I did not know the word "sirloin" at that time. So the book was indeed in Swedish.

Many thanks again for your help Zeratul! Quite impressing I must say. I've been looking for this book for 15 years. Hats off to you, sir!

Zeratul
October 31st, 2010, 05:59 AM
No problem, I was happy to help. I know how frustrating is trying to recall something you've read from a library ages ago. Plus more people need to read and reread The Star Diaries, it's really great and deserves to be known better.

lolrus
November 1st, 2010, 05:10 PM
Plus more people need to read and reread The Star Diaries, it's really great and deserves to be known better.

Agreed on that I love the one where he is trying to fix an outside antenna and encounters "Other Time" versions of himself. One of the only authors other than Eric Frank Russel who actually make me laugh out loud.