Books: Of Microchips and Men

A PERFECT VACUUM by Stanislaw Lem

Translated by Michael Kandel; Harcourt Brace Jovanovich; 229 pages; $8.95

The two-cultures debate of nearly a generation ago is all but forgotten. The sharp exchanges between the bowlered ranks of C.P. Snow, the novelist who gave contemporary fiction the beautiful technocrat, and the disciples of Literary Critic F.R. Leavis now seem like an intellectual border dispute. In retrospect it was not much of a contest. The powers of technology and social engineering either bypassed or rolled over their academic challengers. Today many defenders of the humanities even...

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