Friday, April 19, 2024

“Plasma”: like a long diminution of the center of the universe

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Maria Gill
Maria Gill
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There are forbidden borders, a space journey to save lives and tribes of thinking animals to conquer plasmaCeline Maynard’s latest book. But that’s not what earned him being seen in the 2021 edition of the Medici, an award that would like to give a still unknown author all the fame that should come to him. This is how the French author deconstructs the novel to serve as an aperitif that keeps the reader in anticipation until the end.

And, as in any good work of science fiction, the key to the puzzle is only at the end. You don’t come early on with this story, which actually takes the form of a series of short stories that don’t share a first (and even second) look very much. They begin in the air, on a hammock, as three walkers on a tightrope accomplish aerial feats thanks to this human je-ne-sais-quoi that will always baffle the sense of observation, however irreparable, of Bjorgs, of “robots” who seem It has taken over all or almost all of humanity.

Follow the stories one by one that are neither chapters nor news. There is no linearity in the narrative that went through the mill. We see Jane Goodall taken straight from an alternate reality, Elaine Ripley at the beginning of the journey in this alien Whoever saw humanity destroying the Earth, the Moon and then Mars, then Dr. Eli Sattler revisits the first Jurassic organisms buried in sludge dating back to the Ice Age.

plasma It collects 157 pages of winks and confusing paragraphs, like many little snowballs that each contain their own little world, their own little world. Then the last page, 158NS, turns this quilt into the kind of long poem that makes even the best haiku put together run out of steam with exhaustion.

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The key is life

“If we leave the land as a playground, it is deserted […], life, […] Without taking the monkeys to think of the gentlemen […]There won’t be,” Celine Maynard wrote, with many more words than those in plasma.

And what is this plasma? It is up to the reader to find out. No doubt we get dizzy to read this science-fiction novel, but not quite science-fiction, in which we will have to observe with the most powerful telephoto lens the center of the universe, and then turn back toward the self while performing a slow approximation out, traversing layer by layer of this space-forming plasma.

Visiting space is also a way to visit time, and in this case the future, the next, is possible even if it is unlikely. It’s strange. Destabilization. It’s a fan favorite of anticipation novels which is rarely a good sign, as it’s very humane to look for landmarks along the way so you don’t lose track.

In the absence of these criteria, one must have complete confidence in the author to follow them to the end of the plasma, at the end of space, where we hope life is still possible. Because without life, without hope, and without hope, there are only fragments of stories that are completely disjointed.



Céline Menard, Rivages, Paris, 2021, 158 pages

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