A Bug's Guide to the Solar System

What is it about bugs in space that is just so adorable? First, it was the indestructible-yet-cuddly tardigrade. Now it's an illustrated Czech children's novel about beetles touring the solar system.

Na měsíc a ještě dál is an illustrated children's novel about a group of beetles touring our solar system. The Czech book is from 1931, so predates us learning so many wonderful things about our planetary neighbours, but it makes up for it with downright adorable illustrations.


It doesn't look like the book was ever translated into any other languages, but that just means all the non-Czech readers get to make up their own stories to go with the adorable art. For example, I'm fairly certain this one is instructing that the most proper bug-tourists have a stylish parasol available at all times to protect from frosty rain when visiting cryovolcanos on icy moons.

Maybe the Cutest Science Fiction Book Ever

This is just too adorable.

In 1931, Czech author Josef Hais Týnecký and illustrator O. Stáfl published the children's novel The Moon and Beyond. It's the story of a group of beetles who take a tour of the planets of the solar system. I can't really say much about the plot, my knowledge of Czech being limited to nothing, but it's the pictures that matter. And they are just too adorable for words anyway. (I'm leaving their captions attached just in case there are any Czech readers out there.)

Týnecký (1885-1964)was the author of novels, short stories, poetry, children's books and plays. Born into a family of merchants he was raised from the age of three by his grandmother.

Born Josef Hais, he took the name Týnecký from Týnce, the town where he lived with his grandmother. He went to high school in Pilsen, but dropped out to work in a bookshop. He moved to Prague in 1905 to become a proofreader for the Catholic monthly magazine Fatherland. From 1910 to 1945, he worked as an editor for various newspapers, the longest at National Policy, where he was head of the Sunday fiction supplement. He wrote several adult novels, all based on social issues, such as Catacombs (1919), Battalion (1922) and The Antichrist (1958), about the beginning of the Hussite movement. His children's books however, both fiction and nonfiction, dealt almost entirely with nature and animals and had a strong fantasy or science fiction theme.

"The Moon and Beyond" is the seventh and final volume of Týnecký's "Insect Cycle." The series combined real scientific information (all the books included a list of references for further reading) with stories that involved insect Professor Chrobak's search for an insect Adam and Eve, exploring Atlantis in a submarine using a nuclear-powered engine and a descent into the bowels of the earth. During the Professor's travels he meets a scarab who allows him to travel the universe. The books are very intelligently and gracefully written, with much situational humor and a subtle use of contrast between the insect and human ways of thinking. All combined with a scrupulous attention to realistic science. In addition to "The Moon and Beyond" the series includes "The Clearing" (1920), "The Brook" (1923), "Les" (1923), "Mountain" (1924), "Sea" (1925) and "The Mosquito Does Science" (1929). With their strong undercurrent of parodying science, civilization and religion, at least one Czech critic believed that the literary quality of the novels raised them to the level of serious social satire.