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Imaginary Magnitude Paperback – Nov 1985


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Product details

  • Paperback: 260 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt Publishers Ltd (Nov. 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156441802
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156441803
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.7 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 228,003 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By ANON on 2 July 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Not to belittle myself but some of the stuff in this great book is pretty heavy - especially the speeches by Golem XIV. I can't imagine a book like this getting published today; nor do I think it will ever get republished, considering the backward movement mankind is generally making in the intelligence stakes. Golem has a thing or two to say about reverse evolution (frankly I agree with him). I would not recommend this book as an introduction to Lem, as I believe it is one of his more esoteric works. For those who are familar with Lem, particularly his more serious books, like 'His Master's Voice', you will find brain food on offer. My favourite introductions (this is a book about fictional introductions, though Golem, which was originally published as a novel, is not), were 'Bitvic Literature' (especially the stuff about prognolinguistics and metalanguages, and 'Eruntics'. Both deal, in large, with the issue of communication, as do many of Lem's novels. Golem XIV (which comprises more than half the book) is not an introduction to a fictional work - essentially Lem uses the disguise of a robot story (a conference at MIT between the computer and a number of scientists) to present his ideas about evolution, language, CETI, etc. His basic premise that Evolution basically screwed up, will probably be shared by a number of readers. I loved this book, but I am aware that non-Lem readers (and even some Lem readers) may find some of it a bit droll.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 13 July 1996
Format: Paperback
-----I've been a fan of Stanislaw Lem ever since someone forced me to
read something of his, and I found out what a unique and brilliant man he
is. _Imaginary Magnitude_ is easily as original a work as anything he's
written; If you're the type of person who skips Introductions(I am), you
could easily become confused by this book unless you've read this
warning; --the book /consists/ of introductions!
------------------------------------------------
-----_Imaginary Magnitude_ is a collection of excerpts of novels that
have yet to be. Specifically, it's a collection of the /introductions/ of
the to-be-written novels.. --and, the explanations of the subject matter
of these books are both fascinating, philisophical, and ocassionally
whimsical. From the introductions of the instantly-updated encyclopedia
(if the words start to look blurry, close your eyes, pause a moment, and
start over--it's being rewritten), to the methods for making intelligent
microorganisms(if they can out-evolve our poisons, they can out-evolve
our intelligence tests.), this book contains a lot of food for thought..
--this science-fiction isn't for preteens.. ..but, the effort spent in
the reading is well rewarded.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
One of Lem's lesser attractions in his museum of biting satire and philosophical anguish.

The novel is rather lop-sided thanks to the overly heavy Golem which suffers from not being an easy read and uninteresting at the same time (after several analytical readings; one or two decent points, poorly accentuated). The three shorter stories which prefix Golem seem to be rejects from his much more enjoyable and luminous "A Perfect Vacuum". I did enjoy the idea of teaching English to bacteria but as an overall, measured novel from one of Sci-Fi's unsung masters, they do not suitably serve the themes of Golem, and neither the reader.

Lem was capable of much more.
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