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      The Absolute Indeterminacy of Karel Čapek’s Science Fiction

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      Open Library of Humanities

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          Abstract

          This article reintroduces readers to the science fiction novel The Absolute at Large ( 1922) by Karel Čapek, one of the most influential but largely unacknowledged voices in early twentieth-century literature. I frame The Absolute at Large as a narrative about ‘free energy’, a term I have proposed to examine a range of relationships implicated in speculation about super-abundant or ‘virtually-limitless’ energy sources. I argue that Čapek’s commentary emerges in the double meaning of the titular ‘Absolute’—a reference to both free energy and the divine—which foregrounds an inherent indeterminacy folded into the promise of abundance. This reading is made by examining Čapek’s serious engagement with the philosophy of pragmatism, which has been consistently misrepresented in the existing literature on Čapek’s legacy.

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          Most cited references 4

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          Henry Adams and William James: An Intellectual Relationship

           G. MONTEIRO (2007)
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            Nomination Database

            (2017)
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              The Once and Future Karel Čapek

               M. Heim (2002)
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                2056-6700
                Open Library of Humanities
                Open Library of Humanities
                2056-6700
                13 September 2019
                2019
                : 5
                : 1
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Colorado State University, US
                Article
                10.16995/olh.130
                Copyright: © 2019 The Author(s)

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

                Categories
                Powering the future: energy resources in science fiction and fantasy

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