HomeGroupsTalkMoreZeitgeist
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

A Perfect Vacuum by Stanislaw Lem
Loading...

A Perfect Vacuum (original 1975; edition 1999)

by Stanislaw Lem (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
519633,603 (4.03)6
This is a collection of perfect yet imaginary reviews of nonexistent books. With insidious wit, the author beguiles us with a parade of delightful, disarmingly familiar inventions. "Lem is Harpo Marx and Franz Kafka and Isaac Asimov rolled up into one and down the white rabbit's hole" (Detroit News). A Helen and Kurt Wolff Book… (more)
Member:jimctierney
Title:A Perfect Vacuum
Authors:Stanislaw Lem (Author)
Info:Northwestern University Press (1999), Edition: 1, 229 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:to-read

Work details

А Perfect Vacuum by Stanisław Lem (Author) (1975)

Recently added byM_Yalda, Kjelsen, Steve_Walker, IoannesOculus, reivaj-53, private library, kisarid580, munamuno, eniac, jimctierney
Legacy LibrariesGraham Greene
None
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 6 mentions

English (4)  German (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (6)
Showing 4 of 4
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. ( )
1 vote keylawk | Sep 15, 2013 |
Self
  Andrzej1940 | Jun 11, 2010 |
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. ( )
3 vote 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 4 of 4
Lem's new book is the first book reviewed in this book of imaginary book reviews. Lem as not-Lem reviewing not-Lem as Lem, or perhaps Lem1 enclosing Lem2, or the other way about. The title of the book means that it is a book 'about nothing'. In that the books, reviewed do not, and cannot, exist, the reviews cannot exist either. Nor can my own review exist. Let us pretend that it does...

Lem is too constructive a writer to be able to demolish through absurdity. Besides, literature can now take absurdity in its stride. In his review of Mme Solange's Rien du tout, ou la consequence, we meet the anti-roman to end all. Fiction lies, because it is fictitious; therefore let us create a verifaction ofdenials: 'He was not born, consequently he was not named either; on account of this he neither cheated in school nor later got mixed up in politics.' ... You have some idea now of the games Lem is playing, but towards the end they become not literary, which is easy, but philosophico-scientific, which is hard.
added by SnootyBaronet | editThe Spectator, Anthony Burgess
 
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Reviewing nonexistent books is not Lem’s invention; we find such experiments not only in a contemporary writer, Jorge Luis Borges (for example, his “Investigations of the Writings of Herbert Quaine”), but the idea goes further back—and even Rabelais was not the first to make use of it. A Perfect Vacuum is unusual in that it purports to be an anthology made up entirely of such critiques.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

This is a collection of perfect yet imaginary reviews of nonexistent books. With insidious wit, the author beguiles us with a parade of delightful, disarmingly familiar inventions. "Lem is Harpo Marx and Franz Kafka and Isaac Asimov rolled up into one and down the white rabbit's hole" (Detroit News). A Helen and Kurt Wolff Book

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Quick Links

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (4.03)
0.5
1 1
1.5
2 6
2.5 1
3 13
3.5 3
4 25
4.5 3
5 32

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 150,795,017 books! | Top bar: Always visible