Vacation Stories: Five Science Fiction Tales

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University of Illinois Press, 2001 - Fiction - 245 pages
1 Review
A world-famous neurobiologist, Santiago Ramn y Cajal won the Nobel Prize for his scientific research in 1906. The previous year, he published these stories: five ingenious tales that take a microscopic look at the nature, allure, and danger of scientific curiosity. Ramn y Cajal waited almost twenty years to publish these stories because he feared they would compromise his scientific career. Featuring the cutting-edge science of the mid-1880s (microscopy, bacteriology, and hypnosis), they probe the seductive power that proceeds from scientific knowledge and explore how the pursuit of such knowledge alternately redeems and ensnares humanity. Here revenge is disguised as research and common fraud as moral purification. Critical thought vies with moribund tradition and stifling religion for a hold on the human spirit; rigid divisions of class and wealth dissolve before the indiscriminate assault of microbes. One man's faith in science gives him the tools to outwit superstition and win the true love and happiness for which he has sacrificed. that melds the epiphany of A Christmas Carol with the macabre detail of an Edgar Allan Poe story.Now available for the first time in English, Ramn y Cajal's stories reveal a great deal about human nature and the collusion of ambition and greed that prey on the hapless and thoughtless, whether in the name of science, religion, or the state. Laura Otis, whose dual background in literature and science echoes that of the author, has crafted a sparkling translation that captures the wit and imagination of the original.
  

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Review: Vacation Stories: FIVE SCIENCE FICTION TALES

User Review  - h - Goodreads

enchanting collection of short stories. they're not really science fiction so much as philosophical fiction about science. the translation seems to make great efforts to preserve the polysyllabic ... Read full review

Contents

The Fabricator of Honor
38
The Accursed House
69
The Corrected Pessimist
122

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About the author (2001)

Santiago Ramon y Cajal was among Spain's greatest scientists. A century ago, his work laid the foundations for the field of modern neuroanatomy. In 1906 Ramon y Cajal shared the Nobel Prize with the Italian anatomist Camillo Golgi for the development of the revolutionary neuron theory, which established the neuron as the basic unit of the nervous system. Born in Petila de Aragon in rural northeastern Spain, Ramon y Cajal was a bright but restless child and a poor student. His father, a surgeon, apprenticed him to a barber and later to a carpenter because he showed little academic promise. Both of these apprenticeships were failures. Surprisingly, Ramon y Cajal was admitted to the medical school at the University of Zaragoza, graduating in 1873. Upon receiving his license to practice medicine, he went to Cuba and worked as an army surgeon. In 1875 Ramon y Cajal returned to Spain, married, and became a professor at the University of Zaragoza. There, he began his neuroanatomical research, which became his main interest. Soon after, he was promoted to the rank of Extraordinary Professor and then to the directorship of the University's Medical Museum. In 1887 he became Extraordinary Professor at the University of Barcelona. In the following year, he published his first significant work on the nervous system, an analysis of the structure and development of the cerebral cortex. In 1892 Ramon y Cajal accepted the position of chairman of the Department of Histology and Pathological Anatomy at the University of Madrid. In 1922 he formally retired from the University but continued to conduct research, teach, and write his final book, The World Seen at Eighty: Impressions of an Ateriosclerotic.

Laura Otis is Associate Professor of English, Hofstra University. In 2000, she was awarded a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship for her interdisciplinary studies of literature and science.

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