Vacation Stories

Vacation Stories : Five Science Fiction Tales

3.7 (20 ratings by Goodreads)
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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. Another's bitterness and disillusion are cured by a supernatural intervention 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 more

Product details

  • Hardback | 272 pages
  • 159.8 x 237 x 25.9mm | 636.99g
  • University of Illinois Press
  • Baltimore, United States
  • English
  • 0252026551
  • 9780252026553

Table of contents

For a secret offense, secret revenge -- The fabricator of honor -- The accursed house -- The corrected pessimist -- The natural man and the artificial more

Review quote

"Stories focus on the uses and misuses of science as it affects both the scientists and their families and contemporaries... Ramn y Cajal was himself an eminent scientist who retained a faith in the scientific method and its potential for progress if properly used. Otis translates these stories skillfully, giving the flavor of the author's convoluted 19th-century Spanish, high diction, and technical terms without allowing his style to overwhelm the reader." -- Choice "Explores the allure and danger of scientific curiosity in these tales first published in 1905, a year before [Ramn y Cajal] was awarded the Nobel Prize." -- Discover Magazine "The translator has done a remarkable job of translating nineteenth-century Spanish into twenty-first century English, making these works accessible to the modern non-Spanish reader... Should be read for the insight it provides tino the mind of one of history's most important neuroscientiests." -- Daniel E. Greenblatt, Journal of the History of Neurosciences "Many aspects [of these stories] have a disturbingly perennial relevance, not least the deliberate use of bacterial contamination for revenge. Cajal's target is less the marvels and methods of science than the minds and machinations of scientists, and there is stringent criticism of those who manipulate scientific knowledge to dehumanize and suppress ignorant people. At the same time, science, used benevolently, represents Cajal's only faith for the future of humanity." -- Roslynn Haynes, Bulletin of Historical Medicine ADVANCE PRAISE "Those in the scientific world who know him only though his scientific works will find a different Cajal in the Vacation Stories: less constrained by the formulaic demands of anatomical description typical of the era in which he wrote, and at liberty to indulge wit and flights of fancy that, while commonly showing through in his scientific works, are here unbounded... Laura Otis has done a fine job of producing a readable and at times racy account which preserves much of the lan of the original." - Edward G. Jones, director, Center for Neuroscience, University of California at Davis "Fascinating reading ... Laura Otis provides a superb introduction to Cajal's visual thinking as well as to the relationship between his creative writing and his science. Thoroughly enjoyable and highly recommended to anyone interested in neuroscience or the thinking of this great neuroanatomist!" - Hugh R. Wilson, York University, Torontoshow more

Rating details

20 ratings
3.7 out of 5 stars
5 25% (5)
4 35% (7)
3 25% (5)
2 15% (3)
1 0% (0)
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