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Storia vera

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  527 ratings  ·  72 reviews
La Storia vera, capolavoro di Luciano, viene considerata la prima narrazione fantascientifica, l'antesignana e il paradigma della funzione scientifica che supera gli spazi e i tempi logici delle conoscenze umane. Frutto di una affascinante e liberissima fantasia che si diverte a giocare con una super realtà letteraria, è una continua demistificazione, iperbolicamente paradossal ...more
Paperback, Centopaginemillelire #170, 97 pages
Published 1994 by Newton & Compton (first published 1654)
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Jun 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of early sci-fi. REAL early.
Recommended to Gregsamsa by: My backyard oracle
I can think of no other book containing a lesson in rhetoric, a screed against contemporary scholarship, a lecture on the proper mission of the historian, a battle chronicle, a parody of both philosophy and gods, and a sci-fi/fantasy space adventure. Btw, it's written by a Syrian guy born in 120 A.D. You read that right.

What an odd thing this is.

This book includes three quite different samples from the work of Lucian of Samosata: "Instructions for Writing History," The Tr
Now, this is what I call a tall story...

Lucian 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 dialog
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 th
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 phi
Philip Grace
I listened to the librivox audiobook of the 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 weird...
I found this a remarkable entry in the tall-tale genre with tons of vivid details ready to be plundered for new stories or ro
Steve Morrison
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.
Sep 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
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: Islands made ou
Kristi Delgado
Jan 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 :)
Jonathan Maas
Mar 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A surprisingly readable work from the 2nd Century AD - And perhaps the earliest Science Fiction Fantasy we have

Art from Lucian's True History

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 th-
I ...more
If I have to point out of the most influential books I've ever encountered, it was a book I got as a gift when I was 15 or 16 called the Dictionary of Imaginary Places. It was there that I found out about Jarry, Calvino, Eco, Karinthy, Bruno Schulz, and countless other literary oddballs, as well as Lucian and his odd fictional journeys, and whose DNA is integral to those aforementioned oddballs' work. Here was this completely bizarre picaresque that travels around our world and others, getting s ...more
May 29, 2019 marked it as maybe  ·  review of another edition

Love this nonchalant footnote within a footnote from a late 19th century edition of Lucian's Trips to the Moon from his True History (2nd century): 'The moon is not habitable.'
Michael Yourshaw
Aug 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For an SF satire almost 2000 years old, this is a fun read. The translation (by David Lear? Firestone Books, Early Science Fiction Series) seems to be faithful to the original Greek and much more readable than the older translations that are in the public domain. Also the naughty bits have not been bowdlerized.

My son is reading this in the original Greek and finds the language and weird imagination of the story to be delightful.
Feb 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Gitta by: University
When someone suggests you should read 'the first work to feature space travel, aliens and intergalactic warfare', it's nigh impossible to resist. With a little voice in the back of my head saying "he might be overselling it. After all, he wants you to read it.", I picked up his recommendation: Paul Turner's translation.

From the first page onwards, Lucian's introduction, I knew this was going to be precious. If you are in any way familiar with stories of epic, and often fantastical, voyage
Adam  McPhee
Introduction for Writing History was okay. Some useful advice like 'don't confuse history with poetry' and 'no one likes when a writer sucks up to his patron too much–it's not history. Have you tried not having a patron?' Then True History is uses the prior criticisms to create a story to show how not to write a history. Then the last part is a dialogue between one Menippus and a friend. Menippus relates how he contrived a Daedalusesque contraption to do some flying of his own. He goes to the Mo ...more
Sep 25, 2011 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: to-buy
The most common title for this work is actually "True History". "A True Story" and "Trips to the Moon" are lesser-used titles.

The Gutenberg English translation (translation by Thomas Francklin, intro by Henry Morley) is here: although another reviewer notes that it may not be accurate. I have not yet read this.

Nearly all of what I can find sold as an individual book (eBook or print) under the title "Trips to the Moon" is actually the Francklin translation.

Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book can be considered one of the first works of satire, in which Lucian satirizes the works of great writers of Ancient Greece, who swore their stories to be true. Lucian is plainly stating at the beginning of his work that all he is writing about is nothing but a lie, a fantasy. He writes concisely, uses sharp humor and states many references to Antique. His main character embarks on an unbelievable journey, on the sea, in space, in the lands of strange creatures and even the dead (arguab ...more
Jun 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very witty, very well-written, and very true. It's amazing how advanced in thinking these ancient civilizations were - and then how utterly and completely backwards society was within a few thousand years. Crazy how we're just now beginning to think the same things within the last few centuries... imagine how much progress the human race could have made if there hadn't been such destruction of knowledge by rival empires.
Feb 20, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful example of satire full of imagination and absurd humor. But this comes with a vengeance: it is necessary to have some cultural and historical knowledge of antiquity. Huge influence on other works of imagination: Moby Dick, Utopia, Gullivers Travels and so on.
Patrick Day
I really liked the first half when the travelers were going to places that could be deemed humorous by themselves, but by the second half to the end, all of it was referring to and mocking other tales from the times, of which are lost presently. Short but enjoyable read.
The more things change, the more elitist d-bags stay the same. Apparently.
Sep 10, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
That was utterly bonkers! Satire, obviously, as there is nothing true in it. Not quite as far-fetched as the Leave Campaign but getting there. But science fiction, too. A cross between The Odyssey and Gulliver's Travels. Men who carry babies to term in their calves (did Will Self nick that?), wars fought by throwing spears of asparagus, mushroom shields, islands of cheese, seas of milk, a two hundred mile long whale with a forest and an old man and his son living in a cottage, birds with lettuce ...more
Mar 14, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
While I don’t enjoy the writing style, its really interesting reading what’s a strong contender for the title ‘first sci fi book.’ Lucian’s satire and criticism of the embellishment of his contemporaries shows that this is clearly a work of fiction, not a price of mythology meant to be believed as true. While the line between sci fi and fantasy can be very blurry, I feel like like travel to other planets, meeting aliens, and colonizing other planets (or, as Lucian calls them, stars), pushes this ...more
Allegedly the original space opera. Although some of the satirical references were no doubt lost on me, this was an entertaining read.
Jono Mcdermott
Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An absolute diamond of comedy, easily accessible to the modern reader.
Sep 07, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Slight, biting but fun satire on works such as the Odyssey. This annotated version helps understand the references in the book, although the quality of the annotations vary greatly.
Aceber Anilom
Dec 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, happiness-is
Nice ;)
Feb 09, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Considered by some to be the first work of science fiction, I would describe it more precisely as "The Odyssey on acid."
Jan 03, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: unfinished
I would like to find a better translation of these works, because the one I have (from Project Gutenberg) is not trustworthy. My copy of Trips to the Moon includes an essay about how it's important to write history as it is rather than how you wish it had been. However, the introduction talks about how the translator (Francklin, I believe) expurgated the text to remove all the naughty bits that are no longer relevant. The irony of that was lost on the introduction writer though, because he claim ...more
Sidharth Vardhan
The title 'True History' is is used very much in the sense of Barney Stinson's catch phrase 'true story'. The reading experience is something like tall tales of Baron Munchausen (the temptation to do a parody review was too strong) -there is same humor caused by the obvious nature of the lies. Except unlike Baron Munchausen, our narrator doesn't do great things, great things keep happening to him.

A lot of the things in here are now science-fiction elements - flying ships, aliens, liq
This may be one of the first works of speculative fiction - that is, something written explicitly as fictional, but about incredible events. It's neither mythology which the writer imagined to be more or less factual, nor fiction of a social commentary sort with less incredible events.

As speculative fiction or "pre-science fiction" it leans more than I prefer to including mythological elements.

The Project Gutenberg edition begins with a forward by a (comparatively) modern
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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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“The good historian, then, must be thus described: he must be fearless, uncorrupted, free, the friend of truth and of liberty; one who, to use the words of the comic poet, calls a fig a fig, and a skiff a skiff, neither giving nor withholding from any, from favour or from enmity, not influenced by pity, by shame, or by remorse; a just judge, so far benevolent to all as never to give more than is due to any in his work; a stranger to all, of no country, bound only by his own laws, acknowledging no sovereign, never considering what this or that man may say of him, but relating faithfully everything as it happened.” 8 likes
“Give me a scholar, therefore, who is able to think and to write, to look with an eye of discernment into things, and to do business himself, if called upon, who hath both civil and military knowledge; one, moreover, who has been in camps, and has seen armies in the field and out of it; knows the use of arms, and machines, and warlike engines of every kind; can tell what the front, and what the horn is, how the ranks are to be disposed, how the horse is to be directed, and from whence to advance or to retreat; one, in short, who does not stay at home and trust to the reports of others: but, above all, let him be of a noble and liberal mind; let him neither fear nor hope for anything; otherwise he will only resemble those unjust judges who determine from partiality or prejudice, and give sentence for hire: but, whatever the man is, as such let him be described.” 6 likes
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