The Best of All Possible Worlds

  1. The Best of All Possible Worlds
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  3. The Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord

Before leaving Suriname, Candide feels in need of companionship, so he interviews a number of local men who have been through various ill-fortunes and settles on a man named Martin. This companion, Martin, is a Manichaean scholar based on the real-life pessimist Pierre Bayle , who was a chief opponent of Leibniz. Candide, however, remains an optimist at heart, since it is all he knows. After a detour to Bordeaux and Paris , they arrive in England and see an admiral based on Admiral Byng being shot for not killing enough of the enemy.

Martin explains that Britain finds it necessary to shoot an admiral from time to time " pour l'encouragement des autres " to encourage the others. Upon their arrival in Venice , Candide and Martin meet Paquette, the chambermaid who infected Pangloss with his syphilis, in Venice. Although both appear happy on the surface, they reveal their despair: Paquette has led a miserable existence as a sexual object, and the monk detests the religious order in which he was indoctrinated. Candide and Martin visit the Lord Pococurante, a noble Venetian. Prior to their departure, Candide and Martin dine with six strangers who had come for Carnival of Venice.

These strangers are revealed to be dethroned kings: Candide buys their freedom and further passage at steep prices. One day, the protagonists seek out a dervish known as a great philosopher of the land. Pangloss asks him why Man is made to suffer so, and what they all ought to do. The dervish responds by asking rhetorically why Pangloss is concerned about the existence of evil and good. The dervish describes human beings as mice on a ship sent by a king to Egypt; their comfort does not matter to the king.

The dervish then slams his door on the group. Returning to their farm, Candide, Pangloss, and Martin meet a Turk whose philosophy is to devote his life only to simple work and not concern himself with external affairs. He and his four children cultivate a small area of land, and the work keeps them "free of three great evils: Candide ignores Pangloss's insistence that all turned out for the best by necessity, instead telling him "we must cultivate our garden" il faut cultiver notre jardin. As Voltaire himself described it, the purpose of Candide was to "bring amusement to a small number of men of wit".

Candide is confronted with horrible events described in painstaking detail so often that it becomes humorous. Literary theorist Frances K. Barasch described Voltaire's matter-of-fact narrative as treating topics such as mass death "as coolly as a weather report". European governments such as France, Prussia, Portugal and England are each attacked ruthlessly by the author: Organised religion, too, is harshly treated in Candide.

Aldridge provides a characteristic example of such anti-clerical passages for which the work was banned: Here, Voltaire suggests the Christian mission in Paraguay is taking advantage of the local population. Voltaire depicts the Jesuits holding the indigenous peoples as slaves while they claim to be helping them. The main method of Candide ' s satire is to contrast ironically great tragedy and comedy. A simple example of the satire of Candide is seen in the treatment of the historic event witnessed by Candide and Martin in Portsmouth harbour. There, the duo spy an anonymous admiral, supposed to represent John Byng , being executed for failing to properly engage a French fleet.

The admiral is blindfolded and shot on the deck of his own ship, merely "to encourage the others" French: This depiction of military punishment trivializes Byng's death. The dry, pithy explanation "to encourage the others" thus satirises a serious historical event in characteristically Voltairian fashion. For its classic wit, this phrase has become one of the more often quoted from Candide. Voltaire depicts the worst of the world and his pathetic hero's desperate effort to fit it into an optimistic outlook. Almost all of Candide is a discussion of various forms of evil: There is at least one notable exception: The positivity of El Dorado may be contrasted with the pessimistic attitude of most of the book.

Even in this case, the bliss of El Dorado is fleeting: Another element of the satire focuses on what William F. Bottiglia, author of many published works on Candide , calls the "sentimental foibles of the age" and Voltaire's attack on them. The characters of Candide are unrealistic, two-dimensional, mechanical, and even marionette -like; they are simplistic and stereotypical.

Gardens are thought by many critics to play a critical symbolic role in Candide. Cyclically, the main characters of Candide conclude the novel in a garden of their own making, one which might represent celestial paradise. The third most prominent "garden" is El Dorado , which may be a false Eden. This is analogous to Voltaire's own view on gardening: Candide satirises various philosophical and religious theories that Voltaire had previously criticised. Primary among these is Leibnizian optimism sometimes called Panglossianism after its fictional proponent , which Voltaire ridicules with descriptions of seemingly endless calamity.

Also, war, thievery, and murder—evils of human design—are explored as extensively in Candide as are environmental ills. Bottiglia notes Voltaire is "comprehensive" in his enumeration of the world's evils. He is unrelenting in attacking Leibnizian optimism. Fundamental to Voltaire's attack is Candide's tutor Pangloss, a self-proclaimed follower of Leibniz and a teacher of his doctrine.

Ridicule of Pangloss's theories thus ridicules Leibniz himself, and Pangloss's reasoning is silly at best. For example, Pangloss's first teachings of the narrative absurdly mix up cause and effect:. It is demonstrable that things cannot be otherwise than as they are; for as all things have been created for some end, they must necessarily be created for the best end.

Observe, for instance, the nose is formed for spectacles, therefore we wear spectacles. Following such flawed reasoning even more doggedly than Candide, Pangloss defends optimism. Whatever their horrendous fortune, Pangloss reiterates "all is for the best" " Tout est pour le mieux " and proceeds to "justify" the evil event's occurrence. A characteristic example of such theodicy is found in Pangloss's explanation of why it is good that syphilis exists:. Candide, the impressionable and incompetent student of Pangloss, often tries to justify evil, fails, invokes his mentor and eventually despairs.

It is by these failures that Candide is painfully cured as Voltaire would see it of his optimism. This critique of Voltaire's seems to be directed almost exclusively at Leibnizian optimism. Candide does not ridicule Voltaire's contemporary Alexander Pope , a later optimist of slightly different convictions. Candide does not discuss Pope's optimistic principle that "all is right", but Leibniz's that states, "this is the best of all possible worlds". However subtle the difference between the two, Candide is unambiguous as to which is its subject.

This work is similar to Candide in subject matter, but very different from it in style: The conclusion of the novel, in which Candide finally dismisses his tutor's optimism, leaves unresolved what philosophy the protagonist is to accept in its stead.

The Best of All Possible Worlds

This element of Candide has been written about voluminously, perhaps above all others. The conclusion is enigmatic and its analysis is contentious. Voltaire develops no formal, systematic philosophy for the characters to adopt. Many critics have concluded that one minor character or another is portrayed as having the right philosophy. For instance, a number believe that Martin is treated sympathetically, and that his character holds Voltaire's ideal philosophy—pessimism.

Others disagree, citing Voltaire's negative descriptions of Martin's principles and the conclusion of the work in which Martin plays little part. Within debates attempting to decipher the conclusion of Candide lies another primary Candide debate. This one concerns the degree to which Voltaire was advocating a pessimistic philosophy, by which Candide and his companions give up hope for a better world.

Critics argue that the group's reclusion on the farm signifies Candide and his companions' loss of hope for the rest of the human race. This view is to be compared to a reading that presents Voltaire as advocating a melioristic philosophy and a precept committing the travellers to improving the world through metaphorical gardening. This debate, and others, focuses on the question of whether or not Voltaire was prescribing passive retreat from society, or active industrious contribution to it.

This argument centers on the matter of whether or not Voltaire was actually prescribing anything. Roy Wolper, professor emeritus of English, argues in a revolutionary paper that Candide does not necessarily speak for its author; that the work should be viewed as a narrative independent of Voltaire's history; and that its message is entirely or mostly inside it.

This point of view, the "inside", specifically rejects attempts to find Voltaire's "voice" in the many characters of Candide and his other works. Indeed, writers have seen Voltaire as speaking through at least Candide, Martin, and the Turk. Wolper argues that Candide should be read with a minimum of speculation as to its meaning in Voltaire's personal life. His article ushered in a new era of Voltaire studies, causing many scholars to look at the novel differently.

Critics such as Lester Crocker, Henry Stavan, and Vivienne Mylne find too many similarities between Candide ' s point of view and that of Voltaire to accept the "inside" view; they support the "outside" interpretation. They believe that Candide's final decision is the same as Voltaire's, and see a strong connection between the development of the protagonist and his author.

Others see a strong parallel between Candide's gardening at the conclusion and the gardening of the author. Though Voltaire did not openly admit to having written the controversial Candide until until then he signed with a pseudonym: Immediately after publication, the work and its author were denounced by both secular and religious authorities, because the book openly derides government and church alike.

Despite much official indictment, soon after its publication, Candide ' s irreverent prose was being quoted. Bannings of Candide lasted into the twentieth century in the United States, where it has long been considered a seminal work of Western literature. At least once, Candide was temporarily barred from entering America: Candide was admitted in August of the same year; however by that time the class was over. Questions that can be answered using commonly-available references are off-topic.

The Best of All Possible Worlds Lyrics

Leibniz was a philosopher, and an optimistic fellow. He thought that the way the world was arranged was in the best way that it could possibly be. He didn't think that there weren't bad things in it, but that you couldn't do any better: He thought that the world was at least the "best of a bad job" and any even slight utopia would be impossible.

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So, of all the possible worlds, this was the best one. All those improvements you can imagine? Either not possible, or not improvements. God sits there tweaking dials until the world is most excellent. Sorry about the bad bits, you can't get the parts these days, no chance. Our world is "the best of all possible worlds". If you really believe that the world is like that, then when some terrible event happens like a volcano erupting, say , you might think, well "everything is for the best" , meaning that the event might seem terrible, but as we live in the best of all possible worlds you believe , then the volcano was the best that we could reasonably hope for.

Someone who agrees with Leibniz might have argued, -- I dunno -- that if the volcano hadn't erupted, then the pressure would have built up and the earth exploded and everyone on the planet die. You see, the Saidiri have been the victims of genocide on an unimaginable scale - the remaining survivors mostly men are now searching Cygnus Beta for suitable female partners for procreation, and Delarua's empathetic and linguistic skills make her a perfect candidate for a years-long road trip around the planet.

What ensues, of course, is a string of adventures some more exciting than others , and the blossoming of an unlikely - but let's all be serious, we see it coming from lightyears away - romance between the passionate Delarua and the controlled Dllenahkh. I agree with almost everything Ana has already said; The Best of All Possible Worlds is an undeniably fun book, one of those books that during the reading you get a silly smile plastered on your face because it's sweet, and funny and a little bit gooey in a good way.

Although I usually like a little more plot in my science fiction, its absence in this book is actually completely fine because of the detail of the world - most importantly, the people - of Cygnus Beta. I loved the insight of these different cultures and customs, the complications of bloodlines and ancient struggles And yes, the romance is really wonderfully done, too. Both Delarua and Dllenahkh are compelling, lovable creatures albeit slightly familiar ones. Delarua's sense of humor is reminiscent of certain urban fantasy heroines, while Dllenahkh is kind of, well, Vulcan-esque in a good way, again.

What I wanted to touch on a little more concerns the premise of the book - Ana mentions it in her part, and I agree with her: Not only does the exclusively male-female aspect of this make me a little uncomfortable, but the genetic line part is also food for discussion. In this future science fictional world, our protagonists go to great lengths to find "suitable" females with taSadiri origins with which the Sadiri can pursue reproductive relationships - I quote one character: I want a wife, and children, and a family of my blood.

I want sons and daughters who will look like my brothers and sisters who are gone, who will speak Sadiri and learn of Sadira and practice the mental disciplines. I want to see them married and grow old enough to see my grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

I am the last of my line, the sole survivor of my family, like so many others on the homesteadings. I am of two minds. I understand the need to preserve a culture, a people, the remnants of home. I get the struggle that Dllenahkh and his people grapple with, and I respect that. However, on the other side of that coin is Delarua and her argument, that "purity" is not the goal with which the Sadiri should be concerning themselves.

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It's fodder for discussion anyways, and I think worth bringing up. And, on a deeply personal level possibly inappropriate but my own opinion , as someone that is of mixed race, that looks NOTHING like one side of my family, this stings and bothers me. May 10, Melissa rated it really liked it Shelves: This knocked my socks off! It is so well-written it astounds me. They do end up together at the end of the book, but their marriage seems to be made stronger by the alliance that preceded it. How does this hold up for ComicCon?

It passes the Bechdel test. I'm not quite sure what's up with the white people on the cover, though. Oct 26, Sarah rated it liked it Shelves: I really enjoyed this book. It didn't really have a plot and was more of a string of stories about what had happened in the MC's life. Because of this I was occasionally at sea, just waiting to know what the reason for the story was. Also, the transitions sometimes confused me but I was unclear if this was the text or the narration. But the story itself was really very cool.

Most of it follows a woman over the course of a period of time and the life she leads is quite interesting. With the way t I really enjoyed this book. With the way that it didn't have a plot or storyline, it actually allowed for a lot more strange situations to happen. There were exciting things, intriguing, fascinating, curious, and holy-shit-did-they-really-just-do-that moments.

It was really enjoyable and the romantic sub-plot Can it be sub if there wasn't a main plot? Feb 16, John Carter McKnight rated it really liked it. Yes, this is Abrams-verse Trek fic, no way around it. But it's wonderful on many levels. It's terrific sociological SF, wonderful character development and relationship building, excellent pacing. This was the first time in a very long time I couldn't put a book down, but read it straight through.

Lord's endnotes are especially interesting, and the book might've been better served had they been at the beginning: If you like CJ Cherryh's Foreigner series, or strong explorations of cultural differences in your SF, this is a must-read. It's warm, compelling, intriguing. And yes, it's got some very close analogs of some familiar races and personalities - but that doesn't detract at all. There's a scene where the survey mission goes to a local play, about infidelity and murder, and argues in the lobby over what culture's work from what era underlies the story.

Some tropes just become timeless. Feb 15, Robyn rated it really liked it Shelves: What a lovely, quiet love story amidst a tale of a race set adrift from all they know. This is slow-burn world building it was killing me to not fully understand the relationship of these worlds to our own but it all comes together. If you like the main characters, you'll enjoy this - it's all about them.

Me he visto reflejada y representada en muchas cosas en Dllenahkh, en Grace, en los sadiri en general… y me ha hablado a muchos niveles. Leedlo bajo vuestra propia responsabilidad. No es que lo de la exmujer de Dllenahkh salga de la nada, en realidad. Me quedo con lo bueno: Superar el miedo a las relaciones y al compromiso, volver a confiar en alguien, ser capaz de decirse "de verdad quiero estar con esta persona y crear una vida juntos" y lanzarse a por ello es su victoria, de Grace.

He divagado mucho bajo el cut, pero me he quedado a gusto, que era lo que necesitaba.

The Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord

Es una de esas historias que no me canso de leer. View all 4 comments. The Best of All Possible Worlds started off slowly for me. There were a lot of descriptions, and I felt that the author set up the world rather effectively. However, I did have a sense that I had seen some of these ideas in other books. Essentially, The Best of All Possible Worlds is the story of a race called the Sadiri who were almost wiped out of existence in a genocide and their quest to replenish their population with people of similar genetic backgrounds.

But this book is not only that — it is kind of a travel documentary of the planet Cygnus Beta. This is kind of neat because like our Earth, each region has its own populations, customs, and other interesting flora and fauna. The book focuses on Grace Delura, a chief bio technician who accompanies the Sadiri mission on their quest to find suitable mates. The team travels from region to region, meeting and testing populations for compatibility.

There is a little bit of excitement here and there, but mostly the story focuses on the mission at hand. It was difficult to relate to these characters — they seemed to lack emotions and functioned almost like robots. The leader of the Sadiri mission Dllenahkh was interesting, although at times I thought that he was a little oblivious. I did enjoy the interactions between Grace and Dllenahkh. Towards the end of the book, another aspect is introduced.

What started off as an OK science fiction story now had the addition of fae elements. It kind of ruined the flow for me. I had no idea how to pronounce his name, so I just called him D. This is just a personal pet peeve and it does not reflect in my overall rating of this book. I think that this book will appeal to people who enjoy science fiction with a touch of romance. The romance aspect is slowly built and is not the complete focus of the novel. There is a lot of political intrigue in this book, so if that is your cup of tea, you may enjoy it too.

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House books for a review copy of this book. Una de estas ramas son los sadiri, que al empezar la novela sabemos que su planeta ha sido atacado de forma genocida. Le Guin y a Sheri S. Tepper, pero que ni de lejos llega a su nivel. Interesante, pero al fin y al cabo, decepcionante. Nov 26, Stefan rated it really liked it Shelves: The Best of All Possible Worlds is a thought-provoking novel that hides a surprising amount of depth under a deceptively cheerful narrative.

The novel starts off with a shock: We leave the scene right after he hears the news, when he understandably enters into a numbing state of shock. Read the entire review on my site Far Beyond Reality! This novel is simultaneously deeply subversive and disappointingly conventional. It obviously owes its premise and much of the feel of its world to Star Trek.

It's set in a universe where the speed of light is no barrier, where there are quite a few practically-human species capable of star flight, whose planets interact the way countries here on Earth do meaning there's immigration to and from, they form alliances and declare war, and there's trade and all of them can interbreed. The Sadiri, t This novel is simultaneously deeply subversive and disappointingly conventional.

The Sadiri, the victims of the genocide, are definitely Vulcan-like; though they have not rejected emotion in favor of logic, they have epitomized restraint and morality to the rest of the galaxy, and they attribute their superiority in those fields to the way they have developed their telepathy through meditation and mental exercises. Interestingly, though not particularly relevant to the story, this is a galaxy without Earth and humans-as-such; Earth is apparently under an interdiction, and the rest of the humanoid species have no contact with it other than the occasional snapping-up of doomed groups to be brought into the galactic fold for their useful genetic diversity.

The first sign that this is much more than just Star Trek-influenced cross-cultural-contact SF is the information, right off the bat at the start of chapter two, that Cygnians and Sadiri who make up nearly the entirety of the cast of characters possess "eyes, hair, and skin all somewhere on the spectrum of brown. The second sign is the nature of Cygnus Beta, the planet almost all of the action takes place on, and the home world of the protagonist.

It is a planet of refugees, one of which the protagonist says "There isn't a group on Cygnus Beta who can't trace their family back to some world-shattering event. But it is not the violent, gang-ridden techno-poverty of the sort that is so often fetishized in cyberpunk, and it's not the picturesquely feudal and martial poverty of, for example, Lois McMaster Bujold's Barrayar; it's just the poverty of being a people whom circumstance and hostile action have rendered relatively resourceless.

The third sign is the breezy, confiding tone of Grace's narration. Lord's first novel, Redemption in Indigo, took that same tone; there, it was the obvious choice, a folktale fantasy narrated as it would be around a fire on a winter's night. But that tone, when transposed to a distinctly science fictional setting, becomes in itself somewhat revolutionary.

Much of science fiction, particularly science fiction with pretensions at seriousness, adopts an objective tone, a distant faux-historical viewpoint that is meant to give it gravitas. That tone often hides as much as it highlights, encouraging the reader to look away from all the things that are missing brown people, poor people, oppressed people. Grace's voice, warm and occasionally exasperated and always distinctly personal, makes this book feel real, aliens and telepaths notwithstanding. That level of personal-ness is ultimately what I found so exciting about this novel.

But it is also incredibly domestic -- ultimately, what the Sadiri need is to find a whole bunch of brides, because in the aftermath of the almost-genocide they were left with an incredibly male-skewed gender balance, and so the plot of the novel is taken up with a quest through Cygnus Beta looking for communities that have higher percentages of Sadiri bloodlines, so that the remaining Sadiri males can look for mates. And that is where the novel becomes unfortunately conventional. Lord makes a point of how progressive Cygnus Beta is: This may or may not mean that Lian is asexual, though many of those who are registered as gender-neutral are indeed so.

But there is absolutely none of that diversity of sexual and gender identity represented in the Sadiri and their plight: And no one blinks an eye at that. It is a strange bit of cognitive dissonance, that Grace is so fully enmeshed in a non-heteronormative, non-monogamous society and yet is falling in love with a man from a society so much more rigid without even once questioning how willing his people are to abridge their right to self-determination.

It is particularly galling, given that this is a science fictional setting, that Lord never addresses any potential technological fixes to the problem of a small, male-dominated survival group: Still, aside from that conventional core, this novel is a delight. Grace's narration makes it a fast, enjoyable read. The quest plot takes the reader through quite a few very distinct subcultures on Cygnus Beta, the same way Isaac Asimov's Prelude to Foundation explores the various sectors of Trantor. There are several call-backs to Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles , the Sadiri coming to Cygnus Beta intending to reshape it for their needs but ending up becoming rather more Cygnian than Sadiri in the process.

There was also a significant reference to Jane Eyre , which seemed out of place. But most of all, I spent the novel thinking that Lord was doing much the same thing science fictionally as Lois McMaster Bujold was doing fantastically in her Sharing Knife quadrilogy -- they set up rigorous SFF worlds, and then they put those worlds at stake, positioned their cultures on the brink of extinction due to both external and internal forces; then they resolved the stories by having their characters settle down and make babies.

This is, of course, an entirely fair resolution; if your culture is in danger of extinction, pretty much the only solution is to have children to carry it on. But it's a solution that sits oddly in the SFF canon. A note on the cover: When I first saw this cover, my thoughts were pretty much "Hey!

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The person on the cover is non-white! But what's with the elephant? The elephant, surprisingly, was entirely relevant, was one of two symbols used heavily throughout the other was a hummingbird, which made its way onto the British edition cover. But the woman on the cover, who I assume is Grace, has very definitely been white-washed. Apr 17, Lynmars rated it it was ok. I may have to give another read to really grasp what Lord's trying to do in this novel. It's my first reading of her work. While I liked the sociological aspects to it, and thought it a cute enough love story, I really wanted the subplot with Naraldi's mission to have far more bearing on the story than the bizarre climax that seemed thrown in.

I'm not sure entirely what it proved about the protagonist, nor her love interest, or for each other. Naraldi's plot seems to be what gives the novel its t I may have to give another read to really grasp what Lord's trying to do in this novel.

Candide - The best of all possible worlds (Hadley/Anderson/Green/Ollmann/Jones)

Naraldi's plot seems to be what gives the novel its title, yet is a barely-there moment. The novel is very episodic, tied together with the interactions of the team and a few overarching elements, but some characters and relationships felt one-dimensional, like Delarua and Fergus not getting along; it felt more told than shown, and only there to add tension to the slavery subplot which was mostly forgotten.