Book cover
A True Story
Lucian of Samosata

Haha what a mad “story” this is. It starts nowhere, goes nowhere, says nothing, and yet somehow does it all wonderfully.

The introduction to the edition I read (which is strangely uncredited) talks about the strange dichotomy of this book: It is both surprisingly modern, and deeply rooted in its own time. I think this is what makes it so fun. It made me think of Raymond Chandler’s hilarious parody of science fiction:

“I checked out with K19 on Adabaran III, and stepped out through the crummaliote hatch on my 22 Model Sirus Hardtop. I cocked the timejector in secondary and waded through the bright blue manda grass. My breath froze into pink pretzels. I flicked on the heat bars and the Bryllis ran swiftly on five legs using their other two to send out crylon vibrations. The pressure was almost unbearable, but I caught the range on my wrist computer through the transparent cysicites. I pressed the trigger. The thin violet glow was ice-cold against the rust-colored mountains. The Bryllis shrank to half an inch long and I worked fast stepping on them with the poltex. But it wasn’t enough. The sudden brightness swung me around and the Fourth Moon had already risen. I had exactly four seconds to hot up the disintegrator and Google had told me it wasn’t enough. He was right.” Raymond Chandler

Imagine a tiny plotless version of The Odyssey in this classic sci-fi style and you have a sense of A True Story.