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Even Animals Are Machines


When the great French philosopher, René Descartes, died in 1650, a strange rumour took hold.

Fact: in 1649, Descartes was travelling by ship across the North Sea to start a new life in Sweden. Rumour: one night, the crew discovered a bizarre contraption in his cabin. It was a mechanical replica of Francine, the philosopher’s dead daughter. Fearing black magic, they tossed the android overboard, plunging Descartes into despair.

That’s where this tale begins: at the birth of a legend.

As the machine sinks into the sea, it awakens in an extravagant afterlife. Guided by the mysterious sorcerer, Rêver, the android girl slips in and out of Descartes’s dying brain. Exploring the philosopher’s life and intellectual world, this odd couple sees far into the future, heralding the birth of artificial intelligence in a time stream parallel to our own.

Set at the mythical birth of modernity, Even Animals Are Machines is a Baroque-punk gem that explores the limits of intelligence and the outer limits of technology.

It’s about the struggle between reason and passion—and about robots, seventeenth-century style.

Even Animals Are Machines by Andrés Vaccari will be published by Wanton Sun in July 2024. Sign up to our newsletter for updates and more.

ISBN: 978-0-6456543-0-1

Cover: Matthew Revert.



Andrés Vaccari lives in Patagonia, Argentina. He’s the author of Robotomy (Saturn Press, 1997), Smoky: Relato de Muerte, Exilio y terror (Borde Perdido, 2022) and the short story collection El Enjambre y las Sombras (EMB, 2018, Regional Narrative Award). He obtained his Doctorate in Philosophy from Macquarie University with a thesis on Descartes and the links between posthumanism and mechanistic biology. Currently, he’s Adjunct Researcher for the National Council of Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET), Argentina, and Lecturer in Epistemology at the National University of Río Negro, Bariloche. His academic papers and short stories have appeared in various international journals and magazines.