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Summary

First published in 1752, "Micromegas" is one of Voltaire’s best-known works. It is a tale of mordant irony, and actually the original science-fiction short story. Arriving on Earth from the star Sirius, the gigantic explorer Micromegas discovers the people of Earth, so small compared to him that he first believes that no creature this size can hope to achieve any degree of intelligence; he will soon discover the ways and thoughts of these diminutive people, who clearly have an over-inflated idea of their own importance in the universe. Voltaire's extrapolations of sun-powered interstellar flight, alien civilizations, and the two moons of Mars, are designed to make us see ourselves in a new light and laugh at what we find.
©2016 Compagnie du Savoir (P)2016 Compagnie du Savoir

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Read firstly to enjoy and secondly to ponder

As usual this work by Voltaire is peppered with an irreverent humour that transcends time and cultures. As a non-intellectual I would never consider reading Voltaire until a colleague recommended Candide to me and I was amazed at how accessible this 18th century philosopher is. This short story about two gargantuan aliens debating the meaning of life with the miniscule inhabitants of earth and is a perfect taster of the thoughts and writing style of one of mankind's greatest thinkers. This proves that a massive intellect can be anything but dry and boring.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful