Micromégas  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Micromégas (1752) is a short story written in the 18th century by the French philosopher and satirist Voltaire. It is a significant development in the history of literature because it originates ideas which helped create the genre of science fiction.

The tale recounts the visit to Earth of a being from a planet circling the star Sirius and his companion from the planet Saturn. This story and Voltaire's Plato's Dream (another early precursor of science fiction) were probable influences upon H. G. Wells; the story itself is very much under the influence of Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels.

The technique of using an outsider to comment on aspects of western culture was popular at this period, and was used again by Voltaire in Zadig, and by Montesquieu in Lettres persanes (Persian Letters) and José Cadalso's Cartas Marruecas, amongst others.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Micromégas" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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