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Micromegas (1752)

av Voltaire

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221692,250 (3.87)13
François-Marie Arouet, writing under the pseudonym Voltaire, was born in 1694 into a Parisian bourgeois family. Educated by Jesuits, he was an excellent pupil but one quickly enraged by dogma. An early rift with his father--who wished him to study law--led to his choice of letters as a career. Insinuating himself into court circles, he became notorious for lampoons on leading notables and was twice imprisoned in the Bastille. By his mid-thirties his literary activities precipitated a four-year exile in England where he won the praise of Swift and Pope for his political tracts. His publication, three years later in France, of Lettres philosophiques sur les Anglais (1733)--an attack on French Church and State--forced him to flee again. For twenty years Voltaire lived chiefly away from Paris. In this, his most prolific period, he wrote such satirical tales as "Zadig" (1747) and "Candide" (1759). His old age at Ferney, outside Geneva, was made bright by his adopted daughter, "Belle et Bonne," and marked by his intercessions in behalf of victims of political injustice. Sharp-witted and lean in his white wig, impatient with all appropriate rituals, he died in Paris in 1778--the foremost French author of his day.… (mer)
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» Se även 13 omnämnanden

engelska (3)  franska (2)  tjeckiska (1)  Alla språk (6)
Visa 1-5 av 6 (nästa | visa alla)
18th century SF. :) Gotta love it just for that.

Otherwise, my estimation of Voltaire continues to rise! I always loved his stuff before and while this doesn't have quite the social impact that something like [b:Candide|19380|Candide|Voltaire|http://images.gr-assets.com/books/1345060082s/19380.jpg|2833018] had, it certainly puts the rod to the church with its "blow your mind" idea of turning all us ants into something even more insignificant. :)

I see your enormous cathedral and raise you a thousand-league footprint. :)

Short and sweet and so scientific... these giants are giants of erudition and learning! Of course, they laugh at the idea that us little ants mean crap because we only live for mere dozens of years while they live for thousands. I mean, seriously.

Very impressive for its time and message. I know it's not entirely all about SF but it IS still an SF tale and one of the very first.

I'm so glad that Ada Palmer turned me on to it. :) ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
Throughly enjoyable and witty. It's mostly Ada Palmer's fault I read this, but this is definitely the earliest space-faring fiction I know about. ( )
  _rixx_ | Aug 30, 2018 |
[Micromegas] - Voltaire
Published in 1752 this short novella has now been claimed as the first/one of the first science fiction stories. It is in fact a satire on philosophical thought held at the dawn of the age of enlightenment.

Micromegas inhabits a planet orbiting the star Sirius, he is 20,000 feet tall and at 450 years old is still considered a child. He is banished from his planet after publishing a book which was deemed as heresy. He decides to go travelling and arrives on the planet Saturn, where he meets the secretary of the Academy of Saturn, who is a third of his size. They discuss philosophy and decide to explore together other worlds. They arrive on the small planet of earth and discover they are able to walk round it in 36 hours. At first they believe the place is uninhabited until they become aware of a boat on one of the oceans, with the use of microscopes they manage to examine the new species and communicate with them. They soon get onto philosophy and they are not impressed with the ideas of Aristotle, Descartes, Malebranche, Leibnitz Locke, and when they get to Thomas Aquinas and his idea that the universe was made for mankind they fall about laughing.

A satire on the insignificance of mankind in the universe and the central theme comes across loud and clear. Voltaire was a wicked satirist (Candide) and gave his imagination free reign to indulge his craft here. I can imagine that Micromegas would have been viewed with disdain by religious leaders, but was in the vanguard of the thinking of the enlightenment movement in the mid eighteenth century. Reading today feels a bit like being excluded from a number of in-jokes, but we get the idea. Now it is a curiosity more than anything else, but the central theme still holds true. Here is the final paragraph;

“The Sirian resumed his discussion with the little mites. He spoke to them with great kindness, although in the depths of his heart he was a little angry that the infinitely small had an almost infinitely great pride. He promised to make them a beautiful philosophical book, written very small for their usage, and said that in this book they would see the point of everything. Indeed, he gave them this book before leaving. It was taken to the academy of science in Paris, but when the ancient secretary opened it, he saw nothing but blank pages. "Ah!" he said, "I suspected as much.”

3 stars ( )
  baswood | Dec 28, 2017 |
Micromégas est un des premiers contes philosophiques écrits par Voltaire, un de ces petits contes incisifs qui constituent un de ses principaux legs littéraires. De sa plume trempée dans l’ironie et la causticité, Voltaire livre son propos de manière efficace et sans fioriture. Micromégas, oxymore à lui tout seul, est le conte du relativisme, de la tolérance et du respect.
La vanité des hommes est mise à mal dans ce conte, où ils sont les insectes sous le microscope du géant de Sirius Micromégas, et son compagnon saturnien. L’un est le scientifique ouvert, personnification du philosophe des Lumières, l’autre est le scientifique plein de préjugés, mais qui se laisse convaincre par les preuves et les discours argumentés, incarnant en quelque sorte la foi en la possibilité du progrès et la possibilité de sortir de l’obscurantisme.
Le propos est asséné avec force et clarté mais la brièveté du conte permet de ne pas se lasser. Les idées de ce conte ne sont plus subversives aujourd’hui où l’on se croit tous éclairés et tolérants (j’ai bien dit « croit »), mais ce conte reste un petit moment de lecture agréable et qui donne le sourire.
  raton-liseur | Jan 29, 2014 |
Už je to dávno, co jsem se zabývala filosofií a literaturou podobného druhu. Přesto mne tato útlounká kniha doslova fascinuje. Jak málo stránek stačí autorovi k vykreslení malosti a malichernosti lidského rodu. Na druhou stranu však i jeho předností a schopností. ( )
  danielab | Jan 4, 2012 |
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François-Marie Arouet, writing under the pseudonym Voltaire, was born in 1694 into a Parisian bourgeois family. Educated by Jesuits, he was an excellent pupil but one quickly enraged by dogma. An early rift with his father--who wished him to study law--led to his choice of letters as a career. Insinuating himself into court circles, he became notorious for lampoons on leading notables and was twice imprisoned in the Bastille. By his mid-thirties his literary activities precipitated a four-year exile in England where he won the praise of Swift and Pope for his political tracts. His publication, three years later in France, of Lettres philosophiques sur les Anglais (1733)--an attack on French Church and State--forced him to flee again. For twenty years Voltaire lived chiefly away from Paris. In this, his most prolific period, he wrote such satirical tales as "Zadig" (1747) and "Candide" (1759). His old age at Ferney, outside Geneva, was made bright by his adopted daughter, "Belle et Bonne," and marked by his intercessions in behalf of victims of political injustice. Sharp-witted and lean in his white wig, impatient with all appropriate rituals, he died in Paris in 1778--the foremost French author of his day.

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