Share via Email The summer reading I like best is either a lovely, long, fat novel to lie down with and get lost in, or a collection of stories, like a basket of summer fruit, to savour one or two at a time. Here, from Italo Calvino , is a great big basket of stories - nectarines, apricots, peaches, figs, everything. More than a third of the stories were entirely new to me, and will be to most readers in English; some of them are jewels. What was Italo Calvino? A prepostmodernist? A young resistance fighter for the communists during the Nazi occupation of Italy, Calvino became and remained a consistently original writer of intellectual fantasy.
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He has various difficulties. For a start, he cannot decide whether to focus on the stars with his spectacles off or on: off and he cannot easily switch to look at the astronomy guide that tells him what he is looking at; on and he feels a further barrier between himself and the heavens.
Cosmicomics, begun in the mids, was among the first expressions of that brilliance. Never a man to duck a grand scheme, the stories he wrote were direct attempts to assimilate new thinking in cosmology in recognisably human - and comic - dimensions. The effort sustained him on and off to the end of his life - though there were other dazzling diversions along the way.
Cosmicomics was first published in Britain in ; this new edition includes all the stories that Calvino subsequently added to the original idea volume - seven "new" tales, and four that appeared in the posthumous Numbers in the Dark Each chapter is a book of revelation.
Calvino prefaces his stories with a clip of the fact or hypothesis about the universe that each addresses: "According to the most recent theories, the Earth was originally a tiny cold body which later increased in size through the incorporation of meteorites and meteor dust" or: "The Sun, a yellow star of medium power which has already been shining for four or five billion years, has in front of it a time that is at least just as long again His narrator "old Qfwfq" is the animating spirit of all things - Qfwfq can inhabit the Big Bang and the moment when light arrived in the solar system as if it were yesterday.
The history of the universe becomes a discursive kind of family memoir, as if told to an impatient grandchild. We were underneath as if we had been tucked there by a layer of fluid, grainy matter He can put you inside a mollusc as it "decides", to fashion the first shell; he can make you understand the need for crystals before the idea of them is formed. The new stories add to these wonders - "The Stone Sky" imagines the Earth from within, while "Solar Storm" makes a tragicomedy of the volatility of gases: "There are people for whom the Sun provides a sense of security - said Qfwfq - stability, protection.
Not me It makes the argument that there is no corner of the cosmos that cannot be enlightened by human imagination, that even black holes can have wit. Richard Dawkins and his growing army of "brights" could do worse than adopt it as their apocryphal bible.
Into the cosmos with Qfwfq
His father, Mario, was a tropical agronomist and botanist who also taught agriculture and floriculture. In an autobiographical essay, Italo Calvino explained that his father "had been in his youth an anarchist, a follower of Kropotkin and then a Socialist Reformist". Born into a secular family, Eva was a pacifist educated in the "religion of civic duty and science". On this small working farm set in the hills behind Sanremo, Mario pioneered in the cultivation of then exotic fruits such as avocado and grapefruit , eventually obtaining an entry in the Dizionario biografico degli italiani for his achievements.
He has various difficulties. For a start, he cannot decide whether to focus on the stars with his spectacles off or on: off and he cannot easily switch to look at the astronomy guide that tells him what he is looking at; on and he feels a further barrier between himself and the heavens. Cosmicomics, begun in the mids, was among the first expressions of that brilliance. Never a man to duck a grand scheme, the stories he wrote were direct attempts to assimilate new thinking in cosmology in recognisably human - and comic - dimensions. The effort sustained him on and off to the end of his life - though there were other dazzling diversions along the way.
I became aware of two facts after reading this book -Sometime people can be way over-creative -And sometime this over-creativity can be real pain in the So, what is cosmicomics? I may say it is comics of the universe; it is book of twelve short stories, with setting in all across the universe and from time even before big-bang to present day, and telling us the story of evolution of the universe. But that is about something written on the pages of this book, but not what the book itself is. Where shall I begin? Maybe with the fact that, this book cannot be tied down to a particular genre. This book is everything ranging from magical-realism, science-fiction, and philosophy.