Take this book, and Moby Dick, and lay them in my arms as I lie in my casket Then cremate me It is only in ashes that we shall finally be one, forever and for eternity, and return to the universe the way we entered as atoms and particles and my how beautiful we shall be. Climb up on the Moon Of course we did All you had to do was row out to it in a boat and, when you were underneath, prop a ladder against her and scramble up This is what happens when you let a poet loose in a library full of science books he will turn everything on its head and take you sailing across the galactic plane watching suns coalesce from the primordial dust, he will hold a conversation across light years with neighboring galaxies, he will dance around a multicolored, sparkling crystal gardeen, play marbles with hydrogen atoms along the curvature of space and chase skirts down gravity wells, running on parallel lines that must somehow meet in the future of desireNow, you will ask me what in the world we went up on the Moon for I ll explain it to you We went to collect the milk, with a big spoon and a bucket Moon milk was very thick, like a kind of cream cheeseJoyful and energetic is how I would describe best this collection of strange and improbable stories, just like the newly spawned monocellular entity in Mitosis, ready to reach out of itself and go exploring the universe The narrator in most of the stories is Qfwfq an intelligent, self aware entity that witnessed everything at first hand the Big Bang, the Moon growing out of the Earth s core like a mushroom, the first spiral shell of a mollusk and the disappearance of dinosaurs, the death of the Universe from enthropy and its rebirth in the explosion of a giant black holeTo explode or to implode said Qfwfq that is the question whether tis nobler in the mind to expand one s energies in space without restraint, or to crush them into a dense inner concentration and, by ingesting, cherish themIn his own recollections, witnessing this universe journey in time is all a bit like growing up in one of those noisy extended Italian families, with weird uncles and cousins everywhere, with unruly offsprings vying for attention and embarrassing oneself at every stepThere was also a cleaning woman maintenance staff she was called only one, for the whole universe, since there was so little room To tell the truth, she had nothing to do all day long, not even dusting inside one point not even a grain of dust can enter so she spent all her time gossiping and complainingfrom All At One Point Started at the peak of the race to the Moon between 1963 and 1968, it is not surprising that space and planetary science are the favorite subjects of the tales Later stories get into time relativity, semiotics and genetics Considered from the point of view of science fiction, the major difference and obstacle in such categorizing Calvino comes from his focus on the distant past and on abstract concepts instead of on the future of humanity.The major themes I ve identified in this book assembling over two decades of Calvino returning to the adventures of Qfwfq The Moon The Distance to the Moon, The Mushroom Moon, The Soft Moon The Stars The Light Years, At Daybreak, Games without End The Earth Without Colours, Crystals, The Meteorites, The Stone Sky Evolution The Aquatic Uncle, Dinosaurs, The Spiral, The Origin of Birds Genetics Mitosis, Meiosis, Death from the Priscilla sequence, Blood Sea Time, mathematics and logic t zero, The Night Driver, The Count of Monte Cristo, The Chase Science is not the only inspiration for the author Every tale introduces a mythical element, a literary reference, a love triangle, an experimental approach to link the real with the fanciful, the esoteric, the subconscious The author will often set up to muddle things up and subvert the expectations of the reader, provoking him to look at the past of our world from a slanted perspectiveI ve used expressions that have the disadvantage of creating confusion with what is different nowadays while they have the advantage of bringing to light what is common between the two timesWorld Memory looks at what defines humanity and what is worth preserving for posterity It also gives a key to decoding the style used in all these cosmic comediesA mass of coldly objective and incontrovertible information would run the risk of presenting a far from truthful picture, of falsifying what is most specific in any situation Suppose we received from another planet a message made up of pure facts, facts of such clarity as to be merely obvious we wouldn t pay attention, we would hardly even notice only a message containing something unexpected, something doubtful and partially indecipherable, would break through the threshold of our consciousness and demand to be received and interpreted If I have a complaint about the collection, and I do as witnessed by my lower rating, it is that Calvino tends to get too enad of this deliberate obfuscation of facts, sliding into navel gazing His logical edifices look like fragile houses of cards ready to tumble at a closer inspection from a rigorous reader This is apparent especially in later stories, as the first set of twelve went down without a hitch, but the later ones needed a lot effort and concentration on my part to follow through Here s an example where the Chateau d If becomes an Escher etching, an absurd labyrinth from which there is no escape, a Looney Tunes cartoon, a mad game of PortalThe walls and the vaults have been pierced in every direction by the Abbe s pick, but his itineraries continue to wind around themselves like a ball of yarn, and he constantly goes through my cell as he follows, each time, a different course He has long since lost his sense of orientation Faria no longer recognizes the cardinal points, indeed he cannot recognize even the zenith and the nadir At times I hear scratching at the ceiling a rain of plaster falls on me a breach opens Faria head appears, upside down Upside down for me, not for him he crawls out of his tunnel, he walks head down, while nothing about his person is ruffled, not his white hair, nor his beard green with mold, nor the tatters of sackcloth that cover his emaciated loins He walks across the ceiling and the walls like a fly, he sinks his pick into a certain spot, a hole opens he dissapears All this flight of fancy used to illustrate what I m still musing about it, which is not a bad thing in itself, but might turn off a casual reader.I m trying to close, but I realize I ve forgotten to introduce the recurrent theme of love as an expression of desire for knowledge, for reaching out of the inner self, as the moving factor behind celestial mechanics and behind evolution of living cellsThe tension towards the outside, the elsewhere, the otherwise, which is what is then called a state of desirefrom Mitosis The move from asexual to sexual reproduction is seen as a process of alienation, of separating what was once whole and letting the halves of the sphere search for each other through eternity PlatoVoid, separation and waiting, that s what we arefrom Meiosis.As a road opener, Calvino s influence can be detected in the writers that came after him, in the effort to renew and experiment with the literary form, in breaking the rules and searching for new forms of expression To my joy, one of these parallels is to a Romanian poet from my own hometown Nichita Stanescu, and I look forward to re reading his poems from this new angle In Ode to Man I see a direct link to Calvino s Stone Sky Din punctul de vedere al pietrelor,soarele i o piatr c z toare,oamenii s o lin ap sareSunt mi care adaugat la mi care i lumina ce o z re ti, din soare sorry for lack of translation vsA stone sky rotated above our heads, one limpid than yours, but criss crossed, like yours, by clouds at those points where gatherings of chrome and magnesium collected Winged shadows rise up in flight the internal skies have their own birds, accretions of light rock describing spirals, scudding upwards until they disappear from sight There are sudden changes of weather when bursts of leaden rain shower down, or when we have a hail of zinc crystals, there is nowhere else to escape except to slip inside the porous holes of a spongy rock At times the darkness is split by a fiery zigzag not a lightning bolt, but incandescent metal slithering down a vein in the earth I ll finish with a quote Solar Storm , where Qfwfq falls in love with a being of pure energy, an incarnated Aurora Borealis that echoes in part Frankenstein by Mary ShelleySoon all the televisions in the area will start working again, the images of detergents and beautiful girls will occupy the screen again, these gangs of persecutors will disperse, everyone will go back to their ration of daily rationality Me too, I ll go back to my 9 to 5 job and and say goodbye for now to Qfwfq and his playful universe. FUCKING MINDFUCK 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 umm let s go with rear.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 This book is stupendous blast of creativity Well, creative is a word short of describing this book.Where shall I begin Maybe with the fact that, this book cannot be tied down to a particular genre Nope I don t think such trivial things such as, genre existed for Calvino This book is everything ranging from magical realism, science fiction, and philosophy Or maybe with the fact that, there are no humans in this book Yes, you got it right no humans and please, no aliens either.Well, we have old Qfwfq as our narrator of the stories And what is Qfwfq I don t know and looks like Calvino also never decided what is Qfwfq But collecting from the stories, he is some kind of anthropomorphized shape shifter He is dinosaur in one story and mollusc in another And he has been there even before universe came into existence Qfwfq What kind of name is that Let me tell you that Qfwfq is the least strange name How about Captain Vhd Vhd, Granny Bb b, Mr Hnw, Uncle N ba N ga, little Xlthlx, Dean k yK And there are many names, that look like mathematical formula and I don t even know how to type them.Have you started realising the strangeness of this book But the real deal of being strange begins with the stories.Each stories begins with a scientific fact followed by a story developed around that fact, narrated by our very own old Qfwfq.First story, The Distance of the Moon starts like this At one time, according to Sir George H Darwin, the Moon was very close to the Earth Then the tides gradually pushed her far away the tides that the Moon herself causes in the Earth s waters, where the Earth slowly loses energy. How well I know old Qfwfq cried, the rest of you can t remember, but I can We had her on top of us all the time, that enormous Moon when she was full nights as bright as day, but with a butter colored light it looked as if she were going to crush us And in the next page There were nights when the Moon was full and very, very low, and the tide was so high that the Moon missed a ducking in the sea by a hair s breadth well, let s say a few yards anyway Climb up on the Moon Of course we did All you had to do was row out to it in a boat and, when you were underneath, prop a ladder against her and scramble up.Climbed up on the moon like this Easy peasy, eh Not so easy What, you got a question Let Qfwfq complete that for you Now, you will ask me what in the world we went up on the Moon for I ll explain it to you We went to collect theIn simple words, Calvino leaves no stone unturned.But, a big but, these are the things that surround the story, at the center of this is a love triangle Yes a love triangle and this story has very sad and heart breaking end Powerful ending, that will not make you cry but make you think, what loving and being loved is about Calvino packs a good amount of humour in each story, and many underlying themes, one story is about a person who is too self conscious and many stories have characters who are laggards, who refuse to accept the change that occurs in the universe Now tell me, how much creativity, strangeness, humour, drama, philosophy can be packed in a 15 page story You will be surprised, that is all I can say.Now with so much ofeverythingin every story starts the problem of being pain in the umm rear.With so much richness in the stories and every story being completely different, it becomes hard to absorb the stories I read four stories on first day, and by the time I finished fourth, I did not have stamina to read a single word I was drained, I was puzzled I sat wondering, what was that I just read What the fuck was that different situation but the same question Second day, I thought I m ready to read any amount of story Well, thinking and reality are two different things, so it happened I was again wrong I somehow finished the book that day, but ended up missing all the fun Yeah, that is something like my reading experience of this book, that punch definitely signifies Calvino s over creativity What I m trying to say is that these stories took a little time to sink in, and can be enjoyed most if read slowly with wide gap between reading of two stories It will make a lot sense when I tell you that I rated this book with 3 stars on the day I finished it, 4 stars a week later and 5 stars after penning down this review.Pheww That s it Now that I m done, I guess that the first two words of my review will make a lot sense to you. Le cosmicomiche Cosmicomics, Italo CalvinoCosmicomics is a collection of twelve short stories by Italo Calvino first published in Italian in 1965 and in English in 1968 The stories were originally published between 1964 and 1965 in the Italian periodicals Il Caff and Il Giorno Each story takes a scientific fact though sometimes a falsehood by today s understanding , and builds an imaginative story around it An always extant being called Qfwfq narrates all of the stories save two, each of which is a memory of an event in the history of the universe Qfwfq also narrates some stories in Calvino s t zero 2003 1380 198 1382 1387 9647359152 20 1383 155 1965 1380 1383. Italo Calvino S Extraordinary Imagination And Intelligence Combine Here In An Enchanting Series Of Stories About The Evolution Of The Universe He Makes Characters Out Of Mathematical Formulae And Simple Cellular Structures They Disport Themselves Among Galaxies, Experience The Solidification Of Planets, Move From Aquatic To Terrestrial Existence, Play Games With Hydrogen Atoms, And Have A Love LifeDuring The Course Of These Stories Calvino Toys With Continuous Creation, The Transformation Of Matter, And The Expanding And Contracting Reaches Of Space And Time He Succeeds In Relating Complex Scientific Concepts To The Ordinary Reactions Of Common HumanityWilliam Weaver S Excellent Translation Won A National Book Award Naturally, We Were All There, Old Qfwfq Said, Where Else Could We Have Been Nobody Knew Then That There Could Be Space Or Time Either What Use Did We Have For Time, Packed In There Like Sardines BingBang BingBang Twelve dazzling stories from Calvino, where his ambition here was to create a ludic fiction that could reflect complex advances in science without losing his playful nature and sense of magic and lightness The stories he wrote were direct attempts to assimilate new thinking in cosmology in recognisably human and comic dimensions.Calvino prefaces his stories with a fact or hypothesis about the universe, then he moves on to get inside these vast abstractions, with his trademark qualities that give them a recognisable voice, which twists around the reader with a nimble and often humorous plot Through his frequent fumbling narrator the unpronounceable Qfwfq, Calvino makes the argument that there is no corner of the cosmos that cannot be enlightened by human imagination And as imaginative writers go, Calvino was up there with the bestof them Trying to describe such a diverse and entertaining mix, in which he wrestles with chaos and order, the profound and the absurd, is enough to send ones head spinning full of stars Who else could have come up with idea of scooping milk from the moon, and grumbling even before theBig Bang Calvino simply had no boundaries, he could go off in all directions, crossing the literary frontier into uncharted places to show anything is possible, if one simply opens the flood gates of the mind How does one simply lump Calvino into a single category it s almost impossible.Although this wasn t the Complete Cosmicomics which features stories plucked from other Calvino books , these original 12 tales were than enough to enter Calvino s Universe and come out the other side with sheer delight Even though this was my 8th Calvino, he s like a jack in the box that never gets boring, no matter how many times you open the lid Faves A Sign in SpaceWithout ColorsThe Aquatic UncleThe Light Years This one pretty much floored me The scope and the way this was written kinda blew my mind.What do I mean Well, it s one hell of an accomplished SF encompassing all time and space from a single viewpoint in what may as well be god but isn t It s a love story with a very complicated relationship of an alien with another alien, it s a love story with time, physics, genetics, and all sorts of real math I will admit that a very great deal of my enjoyment of this novel stems from the fact that I m conversant with real science in a big way and this book incorporates it all very heavily in the narrative.The book is kinda like this think of five or six hella great popular science writers, turn them into short story writers, let it have the feel of Marvel or DC cosmic stage stories, and then have it feel right at home with Neil Gaiman s Sandman.I m not joking It s really that good and that odd And while the science bits and how it s written is very heavy in a way, I don t think it overwhelms the actual stories at all It s unusual and it s very smart, but I wouldn t let that deter you from reading it Indeed, I think everyone should read this and have it be a solid staple of the mind.My only complaint might be a bit idiotic I really think these stories would translate perfectly into a real comic I know it s kinda implied in the title, but still I think it would be improved, making it even readable and brilliant that is, assuming that the artist is up to snuff. ,.
Italo Calvino was born in Cuba and grew up in Italy He was a journalist and writer of short stories and novels His best known works include the Our Ancestors trilogy 1952 1959 , the Cosmicomics collection of short stories 1965 , and the novels Invisible Cities 1972 and If On a Winter s Night a Traveler 1979.His style is not easy to classify much of his writing has an air reminiscent to th
- 232 pages
- Le cosmicomiche
- Italo Calvino
- 04 December 2018 Italo Calvino