A Perfect Vacuum
By Stanisław Lem & Michael Kandel
Ingenious essays from “a Jorge Luis Borges for the Space Age, who plays in earnest with every concept . . . from free will to probability theory” (The New York Times Book Review).
In A Perfect Vacuum, Stanislaw Lem steps outside of his fictional comfort zone to try his hand at reviewing the literature of others. The only catch is this: None of these books have actually been published—or even written—he just made them up.
These sixteen satirical and brilliantly insidious commentaries on non-existent books cover the gamut of unconventional writing techniques: from a Joycean review that doggedly dissects every word to a critique that is written entirely in negatives to an analysis presented in fragments for the reader to assemble as he or she likes. Along the way, Lem presents his trademark examinations on topics ranging from modern art to computer technology to philosophy.
At once a disarming delight and a clever mental exercise, A Perfect Vacuum lends credence to the assertion that Lem is “Harpo Marx and Franz Kafka and Isaac Asimov rolled up into one and down the white rabbit’s hole” (Detroit News).