The Iron Man
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THE IRON MAN & OTHER VISIONARY FANTASIES
by Louis-Sébastien Mercier
adapted by Brian Stableford
cover by Phil Cohen
A being whose grandeur and majesty were above the human, clad in an azure robe, crowned with amaranth, said to me: “You have the strength; travel the world. You are justice personified; act. I have endowed you with all that is necessary to exercise august functions.”
The Iron Man is a fascinating cross-section of the works of Louis-Sébastien Mercier (1740-1814), a unique writer whose originality and enterprise has never yet been given the full credit that it deserves.
From an early contribution to the development of the literary vampire to a pair of revealing philosophical spectacles, from a world that seems to be the best of all possible worlds to interplanetary voyages, and the eponymous “Iron Man,” a precursor of superhero fiction, many of Mercier’s visionary fantasies are still fresh and original today, his exploratory zest not having been weighed down by the burden of subsequent sophistication.
Contents: [from Songes Philosophiques, 1768]
We can best appreciate the full effect of the liberation that the device of dreaming gave to his literary imagination, turning him into a genuine precursor of surrealism who created a number of what were to become conventional tropes of supernatural fiction in original ways.
Cupidity and Virtue
A Fortunate World
Dreams of a Hermit
The Iron Man
The Last Day
News from the Moon
I Am Dead
Introduction and Notes by Brian Stableford.