(1819-1856) French physician – he has been described as the inventor of plastic surgery – and author whose Star, ou Ψ de Cassiopée: histoire merveilleuse de l'un des mondes de l'espace, nature singulière, coutumes, voyages, littérature starienne, poèmes et comédies traduits du starien (1854; trans P J Sokolowski as Star (Psi Cassiopeia) 1975 US, with intro by Pierre Versins) describes the discovery in the Himalayas of a box inside a meteorite, full of packets of information about life on several planets orbiting Psi Cassiopeia. Defontenay creates a text of considerable complexity through the conflation of multiple narratives and viewpoints, generating an overall tale with clear elements of Space Opera: spaceships operated through Antigravity devices; episodes of Planetary Romance intensity; several species whose interactions are complex (see Sex); interstellar Future Wars. The Biological and Anthropological speculations are interesting, as is the low esteem accorded Religion; the translation lacks the Romantic afflatus of the original. [JC/PN]
see also: Stars.
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