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The Complete Cosmicomics
by Italo Calvino and Martin McLaughlin and Tim Parks and William Weaver


Overview -

The definitive edition of Calvino's cosmicomics, bringing together all of these enchanting stories--including some never before translated--in one volume for the first time

In Italo Calvino's cosmicomics, primordial beings cavort on the nearby surface of the moon, play marbles with atoms, and bear ecstatic witness to Earth's first dawn.  Read more...


 
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More About The Complete Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino; Martin McLaughlin; Tim Parks; William Weaver
 
 
 
Overview

The definitive edition of Calvino's cosmicomics, bringing together all of these enchanting stories--including some never before translated--in one volume for the first time

In Italo Calvino's cosmicomics, primordial beings cavort on the nearby surface of the moon, play marbles with atoms, and bear ecstatic witness to Earth's first dawn. Exploring natural phenomena and the origins of the universe, these beloved tales relate complex scientific concepts to our common sensory, emotional, human world.

Now, The Complete Cosmicomics brings together all of the cosmicomic stories for the first time. Containing works previously published in Cosmicomics, t zero, and Numbers in the Dark, this single volume also includes seven previously uncollected stories, four of which have never been published in translation in the United States. This "complete and definitive collection" (Evening Standard) reconfirms the cosmicomics as a crowning literary achievement and makes them available to new generations of readers.

"It's a joy to have all the cosmicomics within one cover . . . A landmark in fiction, the work of a master."--Ursula K. Le Guin, Guardian

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780544146440
  • ISBN-10: 0544146441
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
  • Publish Date: September 2014
  • Page Count: 432
  • Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.6 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Literary
Books > Fiction > Science Fiction - Collections & Anthologies

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2014-09-29
  • Reviewer: Staff

. Nearly 50 years after the publication of the original Cosmicomics, Calvino's 34 connected tales—spanning three separate collections—are finally together for the first time in English. The majority of the stories begin with a scientific assertion (reasonable or far-fetched) and feature the omnipresent narrator Qfwfq, cosmological guide and witness to the origins and formation of the universe. The first section (Calvino's initial collection of 12 stories) sticks closely to this script. The infinitely dense, infinitely hot moment just before the Big Bang is the subject of "All at One Point." In "A Sign in Space," Calvino imagines "the first ever sign," the very origin of language, as a marker Qfwfq invents to calculate his revolutions around the galaxy. Although the stories all feature such grandiose conceits, most also take up Qfwfq's human (if that adjective applies) passions and desires. The most well-known of the stories, "The Aquatic Uncle," concerns a stubborn sea creature who refuses to make the evolutionary transition to land. And in "The Spiral," a mollusk, having no visual perception of the outside world, constructs a beautiful shell for his potential mates and, in that process, comes to grips with the concept of time. Where the section of early stories feels very immediate—a young Calvino experimenting with style and narrative—stories from his later collections feel more derivative, as they build on the early stories and pay homage to Calvino's vast array of influences. "The Origin of Birds" and "The Mushroom Moon," for instance, incorporate the structure of cartoons. And Calvino's interest in mixing logic into his writing—he was a member of the OULIPO collective of writers and mathematicians—comes through in stories like "t zero," a rewriting of Zeno's paradoxes, and "The Chase," which uses deductive reasoning to build tension around a car chase on traffic-jammed streets. In "The Count of Monte Cristo," Abbe Faria and Edmond Dante consider the best strategy for escaping Chateau d'If, weighing the merits of theory versus practice as they try to understand the labyrinthine prison. While the stories often read like word problems, Calvino helps the medicine go down with playful intros and lighthearted tangents away from his weighty scientific reasoning. Where these stories are intentionally formulaic, the characters are all very human. In total, seven stories are translated here for the first time in English. Of these, two that were written specifically for a 1984 edition display the evolution of Calvino's literary interests. Using the same basic structure as the earlier Cosmicomics, these stories approach their scientific assertions with a more overtly philosophical bent. In "Nothing and Not Much," Calvino takes up the moment just before the Big Bang for the second time in the collection. Instead of simply playing with the assumptions of the theory as before, in this version he considers the totalizing consequences of believing in a universe spawned from nothing. While history has been unkind to some of the book's more outlandish conceits, stories like "Nothing and Not Much" show the prescience of Calvino's undertaking. As the known world becomes increasingly complex, storytelling must take the same path—to the very edges of the universe. (Sept.)

 
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