Some years ago, I read a collection of short stories published in India (though the author had a Western-sounding surname.)

It was about an (if memory serves correctly, slightly bizarre) inventor/scientist who had developed a number of products/ideas, spanning a fairly wide range of disciplines.

I think it was written in the form of letters (perhaps diary entries) and it began with the main character, the scientist, somewhere in space.

The stories were not just about space travel, there was one involving a monk, one involving a rival scientist, and the one that I remember most clearly, a (Swiss or Swedish) madman/scientist/artist who turned famous people into little doll-like statues/figurines. The Indian scientist had to stop this, and was eventually successful, I think.

  • Hi, welcome to SF&F. Approximately when did you read this? ("Some years" is not very specific.)
    – DavidW
    Commented Mar 21, 2023 at 0:06
  • It was quite recently, actually. Maybe in the past 5-10 years? I'd say closer to 5.
    – David
    Commented Mar 21, 2023 at 0:08

1 Answer 1


This may be from a collection of stories about a character named Professor Shonku, The Diary of a Space Traveller & Other Stories (originally published, I believe, in a Bengali magazine). The author was Satyajit Ray, whose name fits your memory of it.

Provided by the publisher, the summary reads:

It all began with the fall of a meteorite and the crater it made. In its centre was a red notebook, sticking out of the ground—the first (or was it really the last?) of Professor Shonku’s diaries.
Professor Trilokeshwar Shonku, eccentric genius and scientist, disappeared without a trace after he shot off into space in a rocket from his backyard in Giridih, accompanied by his loyal but not-too-intelligent servant Prahlad, his cat Newton, and Bidhushekhar, his robot with an attitude.
What has become of the professor? Has he decided to stay on in Mars, his original destination? Or has he found his way to some other planet and is living there with strange companions? His last diary tells an incredible story . . . Other diaries unearthed from his abandoned laboratory reveal stranger and even more exciting adventures involving a ferocious sadhu, a revengeful mummy and a mad scientist in Norway who turns famous men into six-inch statues.

(A sadhu, by the way, is similar to a monk or an ascetic.)

Wikipedia has a list of the Shonku stories, have a look through that to see more. The story you remember seems to be Professor Shonku and the Mysterious Dolls, which is about Shonku’s confrontation with a Scandinavian scientist who freezes famous people into statue-like dolls.

Could this maybe be your story?

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