Lumen

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Overview

Lumen was first published by Camille Flammarion (1842-1925) in 1872 as part of the Stories of Infinity collection. Flammarion was a well-known French astronomer, writer and highly successful popularizer of science during the late 19th century.

This famous novel, written in the form of a philosophical dialogue, features a cosmic spirit named Lumen who reveals the scientific wonders of the celestial universe to Quaerens, a young seeker of knowledge. Within its pages, the author ...

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Lumen

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Overview

Lumen was first published by Camille Flammarion (1842-1925) in 1872 as part of the Stories of Infinity collection. Flammarion was a well-known French astronomer, writer and highly successful popularizer of science during the late 19th century.

This famous novel, written in the form of a philosophical dialogue, features a cosmic spirit named Lumen who reveals the scientific wonders of the celestial universe to Quaerens, a young seeker of knowledge. Within its pages, the author mixes empirical observations about the nature and speed of light with vivid speculations about such diverse subjects as reincarnation, time travel, the reversibility of history and the ecospheres of alien planets. Lumen is one of the first science fiction novels to include detailed descriptions of alien life forms and the first to imagine (30 years before Einstein's theory of relativity) the differences in perception that might result from traveling at velocities close to and beyond the speed of light.

This Wesleyan edition is the first English translation of the original French text in over a hundred years. The volume includes notes, appendices and a critical introduction.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Initially published in 1872 and here translated for the first time into English, this French SF classic employs Plato's philosophical dialogue form to unite 19th-century science with boldly imaginative fictional narrative. A noted astronomer and science popularizer, Flammarion (1842-1925) speculates on the relative nature of space and time, anticipating by three decades Einstein's theory of relativity. That the author was also fascinated by psychic "research" comes through in the five lively "conversations" that comprise the text between Questor ("Seeker") and the recently dead Lumen ("Light"), whose soul roams the universe while instructing his avid pupil. Bolstered by Stableford's able introduction, voluminous notes and a comprehensive bibliography, this short novel survives the first two didactic and repetitive conversations to burst pyrotechnically into the sheerest poetry when Lumen describes the indescribable: sentient entities on unheard-of worlds linked by psychic bonds that draw souls into successive reincarnations across the abyss of intergalactic space and time. This early work illuminates the human aspiration to overcome mortality, occasionally reflecting a genuine spark of the divine, as when Lumen muses, "What voice is more eloquent than the silence of a starlit night?" (June) Forecast: Its appeal limited mainly to SF historians and Stableford completists, this book will have a healthy sales life only if it becomes part of the SF curriculum on college campuses. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
From the Publisher
“Bolstered by Stableford's able introduction, voluminous notes and a comprehensive bibliography, this short novel survives the first two didactic and repetitive conversations to burst pyrotechnically into the sheerest poetry when Lumen describes the indescribable: sentient entities on unheard-of worlds linked by psychic bonds that draw souls into successive reincarnations across the abyss of intergalactic space and time.”—Publishers Weekly
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781235261725
  • Publisher: General Books LLC
  • Publication date: 5/14/2012
  • Pages: 48
  • Product dimensions: 7.44 (w) x 9.69 (h) x 0.10 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
The First Conversation: The Resurrection of the Past 1
The Second Conversation: The Reversal of Time 35
The Third Conversation: Homo Homunculus 58
The Fourth Conversation: Previous Lives 70
The Fifth Conversation: Imagination Is Bold; Nature Is Bolder 103
Notes 119
Bibliography 147
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2014

    Anonimous

    Carectors not sure who is who

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 23, 2010

    bad transcription

    would like to have read this book but there were too many random characters and gibberish

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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