There is a short story, allegedly by Stanisław Lem, The extraordinary hotel or the thousand and first journey of Ion the Quiet, appearing in Imaginary Numbers, edited by W. Frucht (Wiley, 1999), but I can't find it in Lem's bibliographies or websites about him.
I don't have access to the collection itself, so I can't ascertain whether it gives more detail. In this forum some people suggest it might not be actually by Lem.
Does anyone know more? The original title if it is by Lem, the author if it isn't, any story behind it?

  • 1
    The "arguments" on that thread are the very definition of "weak".
    – phantom42
    Jan 26, 2013 at 15:04
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    I can't find it in the list of Lem stories in the ISFDB, but that doesn't mean it's not his. The title is similar to the style of Lem's Ijon Tichy stories ("The XXXth Voyage/Journey") but is just different enough to be a homage. It could also be an alternate translation, though, which will make searching for an exact title difficult. isfdb.org/cgi-bin/ea.cgi?166136 Jan 27, 2013 at 6:30

1 Answer 1


Googling the title it gave me a short story by Naum Vilenkin. Maybe this is the story you're looking for, because Naum Vilenkin was a mathematician and the Book Imaginary Numbers treats mathematical stories.

It appears to be in "In Search for Infinity" as found here and the whole document here ( the story starts on page 47 ).

  • Yes, that's it! Apparently, when the short story was later included in the /Imaginary Numbers/ anthology, someone misattributed it.
    – DaG
    Feb 1, 2013 at 21:34
  • I have written a post (in Italian) in my blog, in which I do my best to reconstruct how the misunderstanding occurred: pignuoli.blogspot.it/2013/02/un-apocrifo-di-lem.html Essentially, in the first English translation the following sentence occur: “Such hotels can be found in the stories about the interstellar traveler Ion the Quiet, the famous hero of ‘The Interstellar Milkman, Ion the Quiet,’ written by the Polish fantasist Stanislaw Lem. Let's hear what he has to say,” and this led subsequent authors to believe that the story was by Lem.
    – DaG
    Feb 2, 2013 at 9:27
  • Yes, DaG is right regarding the beginning sentence in the first translation; he quotes it just as I remember it when I first read it in 1969 in the English translation of Vilenkin's Stories About Sets, and it seemed clear in that context that Vilenkin, not Lem had penned it.
    – user51063
    Aug 23, 2015 at 8:02

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