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A Perfect Vacuum by Stanislaw Lem
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A Perfect Vacuum (original 1975; edition 1983)

by Stanislaw Lem

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385527,939 (4.06)4
Member:andyl
Title:A Perfect Vacuum
Authors:Stanislaw Lem
Info:Harcourt Publishers Ltd (1983), Paperback, 238 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:reviews, collection, post-modern, imaginary books

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А perfect vacuum by Stanisław Lem (1975)

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» See also 4 mentions

English (3)  German (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (5)
Showing 3 of 3
Reviews of nonexistent books. One is a book entitled “U Write It”, which is a literary erector set. Another is “Sexplosion”, in which three giant corporations sort of have sex and meet ruin. In “The New Cosmogony”, a purported Nobel winner provides an address which is nonsense, but sounds like erudition. And of course, there is “Rien du tout, ou la consequence”.

Stanislaw Lem shines a mirror upon the dark world of hypocrisy. He brings a kind of understanding to human idiocy. ( )
  keylawk | Sep 15, 2013 |
I'm not really impressed. Lem is a lousy reviewer, and a review of a non-existent book should if nothing else be an excellent review. A Perfect Vacuum starts out on a high note; the review of the partially fictional A Perfect Vacuum (heavily focused on the non-existent Introduction) is a good review, that, instead of being a mere plot summary, actually has the reviewer engage the author and the issues behind the book. "Being Inc.", on the other hand, is a limp science fiction plot summary; perhaps as Lem claims in back cover copy, he "capture[d] what was cognitively essential about [this] unwritten book", but he failed to capture what was artistically essential about the book. Plot summaries don't make good fiction, nor do they make good reviews. "U-Write-It" and "Toi" not only set up straw men to knock down, I have little idea of what they were straw men of. I bailed out a little more than half the book in page count, and 13 out of 16 reviews. The end of the book is lengthy philosophical essays (again, not reviews in any real sense), and it's content I'm not interested in wading through.

I know that I'm not exactly the intended audience; the back cover claims that he tackles "the French new novel, James Joyce, pornography, authorless writing and Dostoevsky", and I'm really only familiar with one of those. Two of the reviews definitely seem to be frontal attacks on James Joyce's Ulysses and Dostoevsky's The Idiot, respectively, so familiarity with those works may help. In the end, only two or three of these sections can honestly be called reviews, and the plot summaries and essays that fill the book don't make for good reading. ( )
  prosfilaes | May 31, 2009 |
A collection of reviews of imaginary books, many of which make Ulysses seem devoid of ambition. ( )
1 vote Saerdna | Jun 8, 2007 |
Showing 3 of 3
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0810117339, Paperback)

.1 a"In a perfect vacuum, Stanislaw Lem presents a collection of book reviews of nonexistent works of literature - works that, in many cases, could not possibly be written. Embracing postmodernism's "games for games' sake" ethos, Lem joins the contest with hilarious and grotesque results."--BOOK JACKET. "Most of the "reviews" target the postmodern infatuation with antinarratives by lampooning their self-indulgence and exploiting their mannerisms. Lem exposes the limits of postmodern fiction, showing how its studious self-consciousness frequently conceals intellectual paucity. Beginning with a review of his own book, Lem moves on to tackle (or create pastiches of) the French new novel, James Joyce, pornography, authorless writing, and Dostoevsky, while at the same time ranging across scientific topics, from cosmology to the pervasiveness of computers."--BOOK J

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:17:57 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

In a perfect vacuum, Stanislaw Lem presents a collection of book reviews of nonexistent works of literature - works that, in many cases, could not possibly be written. Embracing postmodernism's "games for games' sake" ethos, Lem joins the contest with hilarious and grotesque results. Most of the "reviews" target the postmodern infatuation with antinarratives by lampooning their self-indulgence and exploiting their mannerisms. Lem exposes the limits of postmodern fiction, showing how its studious self-consciousness frequently conceals intellectual paucity. Beginning with a review of his own book, Lem moves on to tackle (or create pastiches of) the French new novel, James Joyce, pornography, authorless writing, and Dostoevsky, while at the same time ranging across scientific topics, from cosmology to the pervasiveness of computers.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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