I'm looking for a book about a man on a space station who travels through time and sees himself lurking around, but he doesn't know it and hits the intruder over the head. He is setting traps for the other person and of course falls into them himself, before he set them.

I associate the story to Stanislaw Lem but can't find any like that.

  • 1
    You need to go into a little more detail if possible.
    – John O
    Feb 17, 2013 at 2:55
  • Do you remember anything else about the plot? When did you read that book, was it new then? Any other association (book by the same author, color association, ...)?
    – user56
    Feb 17, 2013 at 9:44
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    I read it somewhere in the eighties. The whole story is about how he thinks he is alone but after a while realizes he cannot be, there is someone else there (himself) so he lays traps. and he falls into traps the "other" person has made. I remember it as quite funny.It's not "By his bootstraps".
    – Sineira
    Feb 17, 2013 at 14:55
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    How about the seventh voyage from The Star Diaries by Lem? Feb 17, 2013 at 18:14
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    see also scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/75784/… (about the same story)
    – Otis
    Apr 29, 2017 at 3:59

2 Answers 2


In the story "The Seventh Voyage of Ijon Tichy" by Stanisław Lem, collected in The Star Diaries, Tichy's spaceship gets caught in a time vortex:

The problem was, who had hit whom, and when. The situation was complicated by the fact that there now had appeared morning me's and afternoon me's—I feared that if things went on like this, I would soon be broken into minutes and seconds—and then too, the majority of me's present were lying like mad, so that to this day I'm not altogether sure whom I hit and who hit me when that whole business took place, triangularly, between the Thursday, the Friday and the Wednesday me's all of whom I was in turn. My impression is that because I had lied to the Friday me, pretending to be the Sunday me, I ended up with one blow more than I should have, going by the calendar. But I would prefer not to dwell any longer on these unpleasant memories; a man who for an entire week does nothing but hit himself over the head has little reason to be proud.

  • 1
    No question about it. This is the premiere humorous time paradox/time loop story.
    – davidbak
    Feb 12, 2016 at 1:22

Try "Solaris" by Stanislaw Lem. Can't guarantee it, but it was a mystery on a remote space station, and I have a vague memory of it being pretty scary.

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