A Perfect Vacuum

238 pages

English language

Published April 20, 1983 by Harvest Books.

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4 stars (3 reviews)

A Perfect Vacuum (Polish: Doskonała próżnia) is a 1971 book by Polish author Stanisław Lem, the largest and best known collection of Stanislaw Lem's fictitious criticism of nonexisting books. It was translated into English by Michael Kandel. Some of the reviews remind the reader of drafts of his science fiction novels, some read like philosophical pieces across scientific topics, from cosmology to the pervasiveness of computers, finally others satirize and parody everything from the nouveau roman to pornography, Ulysses, authorless writing, and Dostoevsky.

8 editions

Review of 'A Perfect Vacuum' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

A Perfect Vacuum is a peculiar text, even in the Sci-Fi genre, even when considering Lem's body of work. As you will know from the very beginning, it's a book of fictional scholarly reviews of various fictional works. It's also a mixed bag - some are extremely funny and creative, while others tend to drone on aimlessly. My favorites would have to be: The one about a story written strictly in a negative form ("this and that did not do this, this did not happen", etc.), the review of a book about the mechanics of artificial consciousness, and definitely the one about Robinson Crusoe. In all his works Lem's positively obsessed with our inability to connect to one another, and in Les Robinsonades this takes a very schizophrenic turn, quite similar to R.D. Laing's "The Divided Self".

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4 stars