A surprisingly readable work from the 2nd Century AD And perhaps the earliest Science Fiction Fantasy we have Is this a parody of the epic poetry of the time Or the world s earliest Science Fiction Fantasies Well, Lucian s True History starts with an establishment of parody I did wonder, though, that they thought that they could write untruths and not get caught at it Therefore, as I myself, thanks to my vanity, was eager to hand something down to posterity, that I might not be the only one excluded from the privileges of poetic licence, and as I had nothing true to tell, not having had any adventures of significance, I took to lying.The other authors of the time embellish, and give only part of the truth Lucian decides to enter history by lying.Though it is purported to be a parody it is a highly readable Science Fiction Fantasy Lucian s character goes to the moon, fights giant spiders, and lands on a 150 mile long whale.He finds Pumpkin Pirates pirates that sail on giant pumpkins.The Pumpkin Pirates fight Nut Sailors.Lucian floats on seas of milk, which have islands made of cheese.Before Dante, there was Lucian Dante Alighieri s Inferno may have had the greater impact it basically defined Western religion and morality for 7 centuries but it was not the first Science Fiction Fantasy.Lucian brought literature to the next level with this incredible work, one that is highly readable.Is it readable because of the translation Maybe.But whatever the case I highly recommend this Before most any author you know, there was Lucian, and this tale is than just a novelty it s a lot of fun. A edi o da Ateli linda Capa dura, ilustrada Mas h algo na tradu o que, a despeito de n o conhecer latim, me soa como excessiva moderniza o O texto n o se assemelha a uma obra da antiguidade e, sendo a idade e origem os principais atrativos da Hist ria Verdeira, algo se perdeu irremediavelmente. Excerpt From Lucian S True History Riders Of Vultures, Every Feather In Whose Wing Is Bigger And Longer Than The Mast Of A Tall Ship, From The Eas As Big As Twelve Elephants, To Those Spiders Of Mighty Bigness, Every One Of Which Exceeded In Size An Isle Of The Cyclades These Were Appointed To Spin A Web In The Air Between The Moon And The Morning Star, Which Was Done In An Instant, And Made A Plain Champaign, Upon Which The Foot Forces Were Planted Truly A Very Colossus Of Falsehood, But Lucian S Ingenuity Is Inexhausted And Inexhaustible, And The Mighty Whale Is His Masterpiece Of Impu Dence For He Contained In Greatness Fifteen Hundred Furlongs His Teeth Were Taller Than Beech Trees, And When He Swallowed The Travellers, He Showed Himself So Far Superior To Jonah S Fish, That Ship And All Sailed Down His Throat, And Happily He Caught Not The Pigmy Shallop Between His Chops And The Geographical Divisions Of The Whale S Belly, And About The Publisher Forgotten Books Publishes Hundreds Of Thousands Of Rare And Classic Books Find At Forgottenbooks This Book Is A Reproduction Of An Important Historical Work Forgotten Books Uses State Of The Art Technology To Digitally Reconstruct The Work, Preserving The Original Format Whilst Repairing Imperfections Present In The Aged Copy In Rare Cases, An Imperfection In The Original, Such As A Blemish Or Missing Page, May Be Replicated In Our Edition We Do, However, Repair The Vast Majority Of Imperfections Successfully Any Imperfections That Remain Are Intentionally Left To Preserve The State Of Such Historical Works This is a collection of three or four works depending on how you count by Lucian I will approach them in the reverse order from how they are presented in the book, as I found the book got better and better, and thus the best material comes last.The last work in the collection is Icaro Menippus Wikipedia gives a very fair and succinct summary Imitating Icarus, Menippus makes himself a pair of wings and flies up to the gods where he learns that Zeus has decided to destroy all philosophers as useless Of course, along the way, Menippus the Cynic after whom the Menippean satire is named makes a stop on the moon so as to look down and observe our earth with it s petty problems and concerns, and discovers what a great mess the philosophers make of everything This book is written as a dialog, it s entertaining and maturely written, even as Lucian is probably guilty of some lousy philosophizing himself I almost missed reading this, because my main interest had been to read his True History , which I happen to have gotten another translation of in a different collection but, I am glad that I went ahead and read Icaro Menippus, which is perhaps less fanciful than the True History, but it s pointed.The True History , in two books, is what Lucian is most famous for, and this is most likely because it s his most exotic work The second book is a better reading experience than the first, but not to a large degree, and together they re a continuous work The book is about as far out and fanciful as one can get It suffers a bit from the fact that Lucian wrote it mainly as a lark, and did not fully embrace his own effort until he had gotten up a bit of steam and started to discover that he need not only mock the excesses of other authors he can actually have fun with and make something of this inventive literary style But the startling thing about the book is mainly its place in literary history It is a surviving work from an age whose literature is mainly lost, and it seems a prototype of so much of the later inventive works of geniuses in other ages One can see Rabelais, Cyrano de Bergerac, Swift, Voltaire, Calvino even looking a bit further afield you can see Roussel and Jary in this book I believe the later wits and aesthetes were accomplished, but here we have their prototype Cyrano, by the way, is the one who seems most directly influenced by Lucian, as their moon travel stories intersect at multiple points, yet they remain quite distinct works in both style and substance.The first work in the collection is Lucian s instructions for writing history, which he titled Instructions for Writing History It is a letter to a friend in which Lucian first points out the faults of many contemporary and earlier historians, then lays out his ideas for how history should actually be written As a critic, he certainly has his points, though his wit is not quite as sharp and entertaining as his reputation would have it This is like the kinds of quibbles and snipes he would most likely have preferred to post to his blog, if he d had one For example, he gets rather snooty about issues of dialect But, surely one must appreciate the absurdity of his one contemporary who believed that Parthian Dragons were actual giant serpents carried upon poles which could be unleashed to destroy the enemy, when in fact they were pennants used for signaling, which represented military units of 1000 soldiers Anyway, when Lucian goes on to disclose his own theories on how history should be written, they turn out to be quite good and reasonable They also would be regarded as controversial in his day, whereas they now represent the standard way we think of history historians should write what actually happened, rather than lionizing, flattering, condemning, praising, and fabricating for the purpose of making a thrilling or inspirational tale Historians should not be self serving either, but rather they should write for the benefit of posterity These are the ideals which are generally espoused today, even if our own historians may often fall short of reaching the ideal, and even while there may be legitimate argument to support a different approach to history.In summation, I would say that anyone curious about Lucian would do well to read Icaro Menippus and True History next and probably everything if you re of a mind to But now you have my take.Oh yeah, one thing The freebie translation on Gutenberg is a good read, while the translator Thomas Francklin writes many notes which well, he may just be the kind of commenter that inspired Kinbote in Nabokov s Pale Fire I.e., he s just a bit nutty He somewhat inappropriately inserts his own opinions and interpretations from time to time okay not all that crazy, but I imagine Nabokov may have been frustrated by guys like him and I can imagine what a bizarre meta novel would have occurred if Lucian could have written a parody of the work of his own translator commenter. One of the weirdest things I ve ever read, and I read some weird stuff An ancestor of both Gargantua and Gulliver The episode that stays with me is when they land on the island and decide to eat the ground beneath their feet to see if the island is made of cheese It is. I listened to the librivox audiobook of the gutenberg.org edition Written in the 2nd century, it describes a sea voyage by a crew of Greeks After finding a monument to Hercules, they are carried up into the sky by a storm, and then make landfall on the moon, whose inhabitants are currently at war with those who live on the sun After that, it starts to get weirdI found this a remarkable entry in the tall tale genre with tons of vivid details ready to be plundered for new stories or role playing games I especially like that it is not steam punk nor 1950s future , but rather Greek punk if you will that is, it is classical world flavored sci fi They encounter fantasy races, but they interact as though they re both from a polis I suppose it s somewhat akin to Arabian Nights I also love the original purpose of this story the early part of the treatise is a diatribe about how Greek historians add in a bunch of florid, implausible details He then offers this as an example of how not to do it he assures the reader at the outset that he promises not to say a single thing that s true And then he just pushes that envelope with a twinkle in his eye the sizes he describes make no kind of sense, and he gleefully borrows and butchers a bunch of what were to him pop culture references he just takes stuff from Odysseus, etc and screws around with it In all, this is the most unmotivated, low brow kind of narrative buffoonery, mixed with flagrant braggadoccio by the narrator This is first rate, head shaking, classical era B.S It s hilarious, and all the because it s from so long ago. I m just imagining this old school homie with his quill and ink laughing to himself as he writes this in 120 AD LUCIAN AYO B, I m writing this new story that s gonna blow your knickers right off your toesies.LUCIAN S SQUAD MEMBER 1 Ahhhh shiiiit yo, you gotta put down that wild ass weed LUCIAN S SQUAD MEMBER 2 What s this one about LUCIAN Snickering THE FUTURE MAN THE FUCKING FUTURE.LUCIAN S SQUAD MEMBER 1 wutLUCIAN Islands made outta cheese The cheese game in the future is unreal Not even on that Gouda or Pepperjack This is some next level Caciocavallo Podolico 700 a pound shit.LUCIAN S SQUAD MEMBER 1 Dawg, you are fucking crazy.LUCIAN There s like, no bitches in the future either The only titties out there are tryina fuckin kill you Siren style Homies on the moon don t even fuck Kids be popping out some big ass steroided out man calves and shit.LUCIAN S SQUAD MEMBER 2 Man, I like you but you re fucking crazy.LUCIAN This is a 100% true story too homie.LUCIAN S SQUAD MEMBER 2 Fuck it, pass that grass and let me hit this rough drafts with some eyes.LUCIAN For sure, for sure mang Lemme tell you about some of these mushroom men too. A lot of fun to translate It s so ridiculous at points you can t help but fall over in laughter I mean, dog sparrows spiders as big as islands cork people islands of cheese And don t even get me STARTED on the moon men We can deduce from what we have of ancient works of literature that he was a satirical genius Now, this is what I call a tall storyLucian of Samosata c 120 c 200 was born in the Roman province of Syria His mother tongue was probably some form of Aramaic, but he wrote his works in a Greek influenced by the Attic classics He was a rhetorician, a philosopher of sorts and, after the age of approximately 40, a man of letters, writing in a form of his own making a kind of comedic dialogue meant to be read instead of performed, though he did travel around reading his dialogues to audiences after all, a man must eat Lucian had a real interest in philosophy, but the Hermotimos was his farewell to philosophy.https www.goodreads.com review show Thereafter, he developed his comedic dialogues and viewed himself as a writer, though many of these dialogues do involve philosophy one way or another However, he also wrote this story A True Story whose truth he flatly denies.Some fifteen hundred years before Swift, Lucian has his heroes fly to islands in the sky, participate in a war between the inhabitants of the moon and those of the sun, and then get swallowed by a whale who wouldn t even have noticed Jonah s miniscule fishy wishy.But then it gets good.The heroes land at the Isle of the Blessed, where Homer and Ulysses and Achilles live with Socrates and his crowd of beautiful boys Prominent among the missing Plato in his own private Utopia , all of the Stoics still climbing the mountain of Virtue , all of the Academics unable to admit the truth of the Isle , etc Pythagoras and Empedocles are present, though in a rather unfortunate state Lucian manages to interview Homer, who clears up all of the controversies about Homeric literaturePriceless But the heroes had to leave because they were still living Lucian is not happy about leaving, of course, but he is assured that he will perish soon enough and that, as long as he abstain s from stirring fire with a knife, from lupines and from the society of boys over eighteen he could expect to return to an honored seat at the banquets on the Isle of the Blessed In this inverted Divine Comedy our heroes return to the living but must first pass the isles where the evil are punished Naturally, they land on one of them, and we are treated to Lucian s version of Hell Not unexpectedly, the worst torments are reserved for those who lie and who present false histories Continuing the long voyage back to Earth, they come to the Isle of Dreams, where Lucian puffs with pride that he can be the first to supplement Homer s vague description with details And so it goes, island after improbable island until a storm takes them and dashes them onto a real shore Ah, but not yet the right shoreI don t know why the words science fiction are brought into play when discussing this text is Gulliver s Travels science fiction Not a bit of it Like Gulliver s Travels Lucian s text is a satirical fantasy, though of a modest scope And, like Gulliver s Travels, it is quite entertaining I wonder if Swift had read Lucian s story Read in the translation by H.W Fowler and F.G Fowler from 1905 which is available gratis online Earlier in the text Herodotus and a number of the less famous fabulists historians have their legs thoroughly pulled Rating A witty treatise against fake historians and philosophers composed of mostly lies, Trips to the Moon is an early example of science fiction and a satire of travel tales a kind of Gulliver s Travels The author and his companions seek out adventures, sailing westward through the Pillars of Hercules They meet men of different species, even Moon people who were at war with the king of the Sun, were swallowed by a great whale and reached a sea of milk, an island of cheese and the isle of the blessed There they meets the heroes of the Trojan War, other mythical men and animals, and even Homer They find Herodotus being eternally punished for the lies he published in his The Histories.P.S the author does not hold Thucydides in high esteem either.
Lucian of Samosata was an Assyrian rhetorician, and satirist who wrote in the Greek language He is noted for his witty and scoffing nature Taken from Wikipedia
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- 17 June 2017 Lucian of Samosata