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Paradise Lost

Stephen Bann

17 March 1983
Deadeye Dick 
by Kurt Vonnegut.
Cape, 224 pp., £7.50, February 1983, 0 224 02945 2
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Bluebeard 
by Max Frisch, translated by Geoffrey Skelton.
Methuen, 142 pp., £5.95, February 1983, 0 413 51750 0
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The Entropy Exhibition: Michael Moorcock and the British ‘New Wave’ in Science Fiction 
by Colin Greenland.
Routledge, 244 pp., £11.95, March 1983, 0 7100 9310 1
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More Tales of Pirx the Pilot 
by Stanislaw Lem, translated by Louis Iribarne, Magdalena Majcherczyk and Michael Kandel.
Secker, 220 pp., £7.95, February 1983, 9780436244117
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Yesterday’s Men 
by George Turner.
Faber, 234 pp., £7.95, February 1983, 0 571 11857 7
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Rebel in Time 
by Harry Harrison.
Granada, 272 pp., £7.95, February 1983, 0 246 11766 4
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Three Six Seven: Memoirs of a Very Important Man 
by Peter Vansittart.
Peter Owen, 236 pp., £8.95, February 1983, 0 7206 0602 0
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... causes mayhem. But set your cyborg in the context of an old-fashioned, morally weighty dilemma; endow your central character with an appropriate range of human hopes and fears; and you will have the recipe for a Science Fiction story by Stanislaw Lem. But what you will not have, at this stage, is the ...

At the Duveen Galleries

Brian Dillon: ‘The Asset Strippers’

18 July 2019
... assets and investments. All of this risks making Nelson’s work sound merely documentary or polemical. That would be to ignore its fantastical aspects. Aside from Rachel Whiteread, Nelson may be the contemporary British artist about whom the word ‘uncanny’ has been most used, or misused. There is often, perhaps always, a science fiction strain in his ...

The Nazis were less harsh

Mark Mazower: Mischka Danos

7 February 2019
Mischka’s War: A Story of Survival from War-Torn Europe to New York 
by Sheila Fitzpatrick.
I.B. Tauris, 336 pp., £20, June 2017, 978 1 78831 022 2
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... members, or anything. Democratic to the hilt. Like his contemporary the Polish writer Stanisław Lem, another survivor of both Soviet and Nazi occupations, Danos seems to have understood the sheer randomness of totalitarian terror as evidence of the impossibility of social theorising. (The contrast here is with his wife, the historian, who is drawn to the ...
21 February 1985
Garden, Ashes 
by Danilo Kis, translated by William Hannaher.
Faber, 170 pp., £8.95, January 1985, 9780571134533
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Star Turn 
by Nigel Williams.
Faber, 314 pp., £9.95, January 1985, 0 571 13296 0
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On Glory’s Course 
by James Purdy.
Peter Owen, 378 pp., £9.95, January 1985, 0 7206 0633 0
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... see as much as you can’? The ultimate timetable is an intellectual fantasy worthy of Borges or Stanislaw Lem: but Danilo Kis shows us not only Eduard and his brainchild but their devastating effect on Andreas and the other members of his immediate family. Eduard, like most geniuses, is comprehensively misunderstood. The publishers reject the new ...

Forty Thousand Kilocupids

Marina Warner: The Femfatalatron

30 July 2014
The Erotic Doll: A Modern Fetish 
by Marquard Smith.
Yale, 376 pp., £35, January 2014, 978 0 300 15202 9
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... and with the name of his beloved on his lips’. The femfatalatron was originally imagined by Stanislaw Lem in a story from The Cyberiad, published in 1967 in Krakow – in times when, as in Baudelaire’s, entertainments could seem innocent. Pygmalionist attempts to re-create the dream of a perfect partner have intensified with the coming of digital ...

Diary

Jonathan Lethem: Theatre of Injury

15 December 2016
... professors will no longer be calling the shots. We were warned by Sheldon Wolin in 2003: The elements are in place … a weak legislative body, a legal system that is both compliant and repressive, a party system in which one party, whether in opposition or in the majority, is bent on reconstituting the existing system so as to permanently favour a ruling ...

Not to Be Read without Shuddering

Adam Smyth: The Atheist’s Bible

20 February 2014
The Atheist’s Bible: The Most Dangerous Book That Never Existed 
by Georges Minois, translated by Lys Ann Weiss.
Chicago, 249 pp., £21, October 2012, 978 0 226 53029 1
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... among many others. The Polish science fiction writer and author of Solaris, Stanisław Lem, wrote long introductions to four imaginary books in Imaginary Magnitude (1973) and a whole volume of reviews of non-existent books, A Perfect Vacuum (1971). The journal Underneath the Bunker publishes reviews of unwritten books, including ‘the latest ...

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