Cosmicomics

Cosmicomics

Paperback(First Edition)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780156226004
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 10/28/1976
Series: Harbrace Paperbound Library
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 168
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.43(d)

About the Author

ITALO CALVINO (1923–1985) attained worldwide renown as one of the twentieth century’s greatest storytellers. Born in Cuba, he was raised in San Remo, Italy, and later lived in Turin, Paris, Rome, and elsewhere. Among his many works are Invisible Cities, If on a winter's night a traveler, The Baron in the Trees, and other novels, as well as numerous collections of fiction, folktales, criticism, and essays. His works have been translated into dozens of languages.

Table of Contents

The Distance of the Moon
3(16)
At Daybreak
19(12)
A Sign in Space
31(12)
All at One Point
43(8)
Without Colors
51(12)
Games Without End
63(8)
The Aquatic Uncle
71(14)
How Much Shall We Bet?
85(12)
The Dinosaurs
97(18)
The Form of Space
115(12)
The Light-Years
127(14)
The Spiral
141

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Cosmicomics 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
gonzobrarian on LibraryThing 8 months ago
A perfect exposition of science fiction, Italo Calvino's Cosmicomics is a tender and dreamlike weaving of stories that touch upon the sheer wonder both the universe and consciousness itself. Calvino begins each story with an established scientific conjecture, thereafter placing an anthropomorphic and wildly fictitious annotation of the universe at various stages or for lack of a better word, times. Narrating from entities personified through equations and representations, predominantly through the central character Qfwfq, Calvino wistfully describes the universe through fleeting instances of love, attraction, loss, creation and change.The stories range from the concrete to the fluid, including a time when reaching the moon is as simple as climbing a ladder, the astronomical paranoia induced from simple messages sent from distant observers and millennia, where a dinosaur ponders the significance, perhaps even the power of its own extinction, to the familial colloid particles, uncertain of their new inertia, being torn apart in the creation of matter and planets. Though all have a human feel, it is a joyous exposition of the unfathomable, alien events we cannot ponder enough. The sentience that Calvino gives to the entities persisting and changing throughout Cosmicomics is an appreciation not only of the scientific beauty of the universe, but of the beauty of his fiction.
magooles on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Cosmicomics is one of my all-time favorites. It was required reading for a class in college and I have read it numerous times since. It has pushed me to read many of Calvino¿s other works, which I have greatly enjoyed as well. Nothing quite compares to my first read of Cosmicomics, though.
LadyLeitzen on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Overly pedantic and lacking the usual intrigue in Calvino's books (such as the second-person narration of "if on a winter's night a traveler"). Perhaps a more scientific mind would appreciate it more. All said, while individual tidbits and stories were amusing, the piece lacked coherency as a whole. Normally one would not say that a collection of short stories 'should' connect as a whole, but Cosmicomics has the singularity of all the stories having the same narrator, leading to a disjointed felling of the narrator's identity and the flow of time.
justine on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Great stories illustrating scientific principles.
shanth on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Brilliant writing which is spoiled by the jarring way in which it tries to reconcile with, and clashes with scientific fact. Most of the stories try to base their premise on scientific fact but botch it up with bad physics. The first story for example is based on the fact that the moon was nearer to the earth in the past, and it bases the story on a tribe which jumps onto the moon on fullmoon nights and recovers moon-milk. This is just ruined by the fact that if the moon were as close to the earth as the story has it, it would be orbiting the earth in around an hour and a half, making all this impossible. It also has crazy stuff like lighter objects floating up to the moon, which again is not how gravity works. I am not opposed to creative license and fantasy, but then it should be like Douglas Adams, and not try to depend on a scientific crutch. However, there are three stories in the collection which I liked: `All at One Point', `The Aquatic Uncle', & `What shall we bet?'
jaemaree on LibraryThing 11 months ago
woot! what a fab set of short stories. the characters are sometimes particles. the settings are various stages of the cosmos and evolution in general. this is truly a gem.
abirdman on LibraryThing 11 months ago
The opening short story, about men who climb ladders and use long handled scoops to harvest cheese from the surface of the moon is a masterpiece.
ablueidol on LibraryThing 11 months ago
Anthropomorphism of different scientific concepts into characters or incidents whose story is then followed to its natural conclusion which is often funny and at times moving. Very clever stuff yet strangely readable.
xollo on LibraryThing 11 months ago
What a marvelous book. Calvino has an amazing knack for illuminating the most basic and complex of human emotions¿jealousy, pride, embarrassment, love¿via crazy stories of planetary births, evolution and galaxy formation. Who knew falling through space, or jumping onto the moon, or being a dinosaur could be explained in such an every-day, shoulder-shrugging, oddly profound way.I read the last story to a lover last night.
bexaplex on LibraryThing 11 months ago
Calvino is a smart and playful writer. Cosmicomics' stories all take place at the boundaries of scientific epochs: the formation of atoms, galaxies, earth's atmosphere, the extinction of dinosaurs. Their characters all describe, light-heartedly, the difficulty of trying to describe something in comparison to the yet-unexperienced future. What exists before light and time and matter? What does earth look like without the current light spectrum? The answer is something like: "Visible? What a question! Who had eyes to see with in those days? Nothing had ever been seen by anything, the question never even arose."There's just something about the female characters in this compilation that irritates me. Perhaps it's the ultimate expressions of the earth mother - a woman causing the Big Bang, or a women's mass causing the curvature of space. Or maybe it's because the narrator is so often motivated by jealously, which doesn't engender warm fuzzy feelings for his objects of attention.
sullenboy on LibraryThing 11 months ago
this collection of short stories revolves around theories of the evolution of the universe. calvino weaves fiction into fact and comes up with a masterpiece.appetizer: the first short story is about the orbit of the moon. a long time ago, the moon's perigee brought it to within climbing distance and that's what people did - they climbed on the moon using a ladder. the story is about unrequited love.if i could write like this, i'd quit my day job.
Tunguz More than 1 year ago
Ever since our ancestors started looking into the night sky, the saw patterns and connections between the stars, moons and planets, and used stories and myths to imbue those patterns with meaning and structure. With the big hindsight of the scientific worldview, all those ancient stories may seem quaint and naïve. And indeed, the advent of modern astronomy and astrophysics has greatly enriched and deepened our understanding of the Cosmos. But these wonderful new insights should not be taken in opposition to our imagination when we stare in the sky. And this is the starting point of Italo Calvino's wonderful book "Cosmicomics." It is in a sense a variation on the theme of Cosmos. Each one of the chapters in the book takes a certain scientific fact about the Cosmos, its evolution and the present state, and turns it into an imaginative story with a deeply personal theme. The main protagonist, whimsically named Qfwfq, is present in many forms throughout history of the Cosmos and he narrates its main events through very personal eyes. Many of the stories are love stories of the most imaginative kind, which is not surprising since Calvino is known and excels at that genre. Overall this is a wonderful book that tries to reestablish a very human face of the Cosmos. I highly recommend it.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I fell head over heels in love with the first story, The Distance of the Moon. In Cosmicomics, Calvino writes with magic and beauty. For anyone who grew up completely immersed in Aesop's Fables and the fantasy and mere aesthetic pleasure of it, read this!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Could anyone but Calvino write compelling romances centered around things like the beginnings of color on Earth or the proximity of the moon? Or, best of all, the unforgettable final story, which implies that all of the variety of life on Earth was created as a spontaneous act of love?