The Absolute as Large
by Karl Kapek
Review by Glenn Frantz

The Absolute at Large (1922) is one of the better novels by Czechoslovakian writer Karl Capek. An inventor builds a "Karburetor" which can convert matter completely into energy. Unfortunately, he discovers that the pantheistic doctrine that "God is all things" is literally true; therefore, when matter is destroyed, a certain amount of divine principle ("the absolute") is released. Persons who get a dose of this holy radiation become highly religious, begin preaching, and in extreme cases, heal the sick and perform miracles. Undaunted, an unscrupulous industrialist mass-produces the Karburetors and the cataclysm that results is farcical, satirical, and highly amusing.

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