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French Best-Selling Novel Celebrates a Post-Human Future

Genetic Crossroads
January 7th, 2001


The new literary-artistic embrace of the techno-eugenic vision
continues

with publication in English of the 1998 French bestseller The
Elementary

Particles by Michel Houellebecq (Knopf, 2000). Houellebecq offers
an

unrelentingly dreary, dispiriting assessment of the possibility
of

meaningful human relationships at the turn of the millenium,
but holds

out the promise that genetic engineering and cloning will allow
creation

of a new post-human species that transcends humanity's tragic
flaws.


From the book (pp 262-264): "There remain some humans
of the old species.

At present their extinction seems inevitable. Contrary to the
doomsayers,

this extinction is taking place peaceably, despite occasional
acts of

violence, which also continue to decline. It has been surprising
to note

the meekness, resignation, perhaps even secret relief with which
humans

have consented to their own passing."


From the reviews:

- "This remarkable best-seller is France's biggest literary
sensation

since Francois Sagan. . .or since Albert Camus"--The Economist

- "The great novel of the end of the millenium"--Elle
(France)

- "Here are ideas, here are dreams, here is a great novel"--Le
Monde

- "A tragically beautiful book that constitutes a kind
of epitaph for

the hopes of the twentieth century"--The Sunday Times


(See reviews at <www.amazon.com> and <www.barnesandnoble.com>.)



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