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I disapprove of what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it Voltaire was the nom de plume of Francois Marie Arouet 1694-1778 One of the most famous French writers his works embrace almost every branch of literature--poetry drama romance history philosophy and science The years between his birth and death overlapped those of famous early scientists such as Sir Isaac Newton Anton van Leeuwenhoek Edmund Halley Joseph Priestly and Benjamin Franklin Voltaire wrote SF at a time when the crucial scientific foundations for it had scarcely been laid He was eminently qualified one of his own projects was a translation of Newtons Principia into French Alas though some of Voltaires works contain elements of the bizarre and the fantastic few qualify as even borderline sci-fi Yet Micromegas 1752 is such a shining exception that for this single tale Voltaire deserves credit for inventing the science fiction short story and Voltaires writings brought him fame and fortune but like those of his character Micromegas also brought trouble His advocacy of freedom of speech and religion along with attacks on the Church and the French nobility resulted in two prison terms in the Bastille and years of exile from France Yet Voltaires works eventually catalyzed the French Revolution and secured his lasting memory as a hero of all the free
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