Book Review—Lesabénido: an asteroid novel

FullSizeRenderOn the asteroid Pallas, a race of worm/slugs-like beings live a Utopian life filled with art, music, and deep thoughts. One day they decide to build a gigantic tower to penetrate through a glowing cobweb cloud that hangs above their planet during the day, and descends and becomes dark at night. The project is spearheaded by Lesabénido, a Pallasian who believes that a greater being lies beyond the cloud who, or that, contains the great secrets of the Universe.

Lesabénido is a stark and simple story that reads almost like a folk tale. It was written in 1913 by German author Paul Scheerbart, and published right at the onset of World War II. In the introduction, the translator laments that the book was published at this time. Otherwise, he believed it would have been much more popular and impactful than it is today.

This is likely a book unlike anything you’ve read before. It is so odd, and beneath the simple words lie any number of interpretations and meanings. Although I enjoyed reading it overall, at some parts I really struggled to visualize what was happening. I think part of the point of this book is to let your mind see what it wants, but sometimes the struggle to see and understand halted my reading and I wished for a little more direction. In the end, I’m not really sure what moral or enlightenment I was suposed to glean, but I feel like there’s something in there that a chat among literary friends could reveal.

Honestly, I felt like I was reading some kind of alien bible.

In all, I recommend this book for a reader who wants to think and not be blindly entertained. I don’t mean think about the words or the plot, because those were very, very simple, but more about the meaning behind the story as a whole. Was there even a meaning?

It’s very hard to rate this book since it’s so strange, but here goes…

Ratings on a scale of 1 (low) to 5 (high)

Entertainment: 3 // Craft: 2 // Story: 4 // Creativity factor: I don’t even know…this was so beyond odd I’m not even sure if it should be called creativity, or what. It’s maybe a 4?

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About Annie McGovern

MA student in Science and Medical Writing; Creative Writing BA; consumes books and science for sustenance (and tea); questionable Korean language skills; end
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