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Among the many writers who have explored the concept of the simulacrum, two come to mind: Hans Christian Andersen and Stanislaw Lem.
Andersen, a Danish writer best known for children’s tales, penned “The Nightingale” (1843). For the unfamiliar, “The Nightingale” is the story of a Chinese emperor who becomes enrapt with the song of a small gray bird. He invites her to his palace to sing and she is lauded by all as a most lovely and delightful object. Soon, though, the emperor replaces her with a jeweled, mechanical replica, causing the real bird to flee. When the mechanical bird breaks, the emperor cries out for the original.
Lem was a Polish writer of intellectual and philosophical science fiction…READ MORE