The Spirit of Science Fiction

The Spirit of Science Fiction

3.45 (2,229 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author)  , Translated by 
3.45 (2,229 ratings by Goodreads)
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A tale of bohemian youth on the make in Mexico City from a master of contemporary fiction, and a sublime precursor to The Savage Detectives.

Two young poets, Jan and Remo, find themselves adrift in Mexico City. Obsessed with poetry, and, above all, with science fiction, they are eager to forge a life in the literary world - or sacrifice themselves to it. Roberto Bolano's The Spirit of Science Fiction is a story of youth hungry for revolution, notoriety, and sexual adventure, as they work to construct a reality out of the fragments of their dreams.

But as close as these friends are, the city tugs them in opposite directions. Jan withdraws from the world, shutting himself in their shared rooftop apartment where he feverishly composes fan letters to the stars of science fiction, and dreams of cosmonauts and Nazis. Meanwhile, Remo runs head-first into the future, spending his days and nights with a circle of wild young writers, seeking pleasure in the city's labyrinthine streets, rundown cafes, and murky bathhouses.

The Spirit of Science Fiction is a kaleidoscopic work of strange and tender beauty, and a fitting introduction for readers uninitiated into the thrills of Roberto Bolano's fiction. It is an indispensable addition to an ecstatic and transgressive body of work.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 176 pages
  • 140 x 207 x 16mm | 292g
  • Picador
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1509851925
  • 9781509851928
  • 302,168

Review quote

Admirers will find . . . a satisfying proleptic glimpse of his picaresque masterpiece, 1998's The Savage Detectives . . . [This] gem-choked puzzle of a book . . . serves as a key to Bolano's later work, unlocking clues to his abiding obsessions ... [and] is a hardy forerunner that stands on its own. * New York Times * The book's very premise - two young poets drift around the literary underworld of Mexico City - reads like a dress rehearsal for The Savage Detectives, similarly soaked in poetry, disillusion, and longing. The novel is dappled with recognizably Bolanan pleasures, though they are mostly incidental. What The Spirit of Science Fiction offers most is the tingle of the nascent. It allows us to perceive the avalanche in the snowball before it rolls downhill. * Paris Review * Bolano-philes will relish this glimpse into the conflicting facets of their hero's personality, but the book is more than an autobiographical curio. It brings the Mexico City of the Seventies to life . . . The novel's sunny sense of what it is like to be a young man falling in love - with words and ideas as well as with women - is irresistible. * Telegraph * The Spirit of Science Fiction is structured unconventionally, enticing the reader to solve its mysteries. Bolano adroitly braids three related narratives . . . an entertaining, lyrical and accomplished novel. * Wall Street Journal * [A] gem . . . Bolano's lusty, laughing passion for art and literature, for women and Mexico City, is tangible here. * Washington Post * Self help for bookworms . . . The Spirit of Science Fiction contains moments of brilliance and will satisfy Bolano devotees. * El Mundo * An intriguing and dreamy portrait of two writers taking different paths in their pursuit of their love of literature, hoping to discover their voices. * Publishers Weekly * As well as being a novel about becoming a writer, it's also about initiation into the world of sex and love. The Spirit of Science Fiction shows, like few other novels written in the Spanish language, the pain, the difficulty, the angst of the young man faced with what Henry Miller, called aptly "the world of sex". May the archive of Roberto Bolano's work never close. -- Christopher Dominguez Michael
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About Roberto Bolano

Roberto Bolano was born in Santiago, Chile, in 1953. He grew up in Chile and Mexico City. He is the author of The Savage Detectives, which received the Herralde Prize and the Romulo Gallegos Prize, and 2666, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award. He died in Blanes, Spain, at the age of fifty.
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Rating details

2,229 ratings
3.45 out of 5 stars
5 13% (300)
4 34% (761)
3 38% (857)
2 12% (257)
1 2% (54)
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