01 December 2007

Archival Review: Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino

Trade paperback, 168 pages
Published 1976 (originally 1965)
Acquired December 2006
Read November 2007
by Italo Calvino

I first read this in high school, having enjoyed Calvino's Mr. Palomar, and I found this book even more to my liking. Taking a class fall semester where we read If on a winter's night a traveler rekindled my desire to read more Calvino, and I picked up this as well as his Invisible Cities, which I haven't yet gotten around to.

Though I suspect no one would classify this book as science fiction, it reminds me of nothing so much as the robot fables of Stanislaw Lem, as depicted in The Cyberiad and Mortal Engines-- Calvino uses ostensibly scientific jumping-off points to tell stories that, despite usually being about strange creatures from the dawn of the universe, are actually about people and all their quirks and foibles writ large. My favorite in the collection remains "The Light-Years", which I once read aloud in Science Fiction Club, a highly amusing look at the lengths one man takes to preserve his reputation with observers in distant galaxies.

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