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Cosmicomics

4.19  ·  Rating Details  ·  10,230 Ratings  ·  647 Reviews
This is an account of the universe as a cosmic joke, surreal random fiction. Ofwfq is like matter - he can be neither created nor destroyed. In 1000 diverse shapes and peculiar forms he has fitted, spiralled and plodded through every strange change or evolution. This is his account.
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Published March 4th 1994 by Picador (first published 1965)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Nilesh Kashyap
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 th
...more
Garima

Qfwfq : Been there, Seen that, done that.

Been where? Where the distance of the moon from the ocean was just a ladder away.

Seen what? The formation of galaxies, A colorless world, A time when there was no concept of time.

Done what? Lived on the nebulae, Lived as a dinosaur, fallen in love with a tadpole.

A literary cosmos made up of staggering imagination, Calvino’s Cosmicomics exceeded the expectations I always have before reading any of his books and it makes me even more proud of declaring him
...more
Stephen M
This is a wonderful set of short stories which comes as no surprise from the Cuban born, Italian Italo Calvino. I had previously read If on a Winter’s Night A Traveler and Invisible Cities, both I highly recommend, and enjoyed both of them immensely. I once heard about the vast differences between all of Calvino’s novels; that certainly seems true, each one of those books bare vague resemblances to one another; the similarities residing in minor things like, short story format, magical realist e ...more
K.D. Absolutely
Jun 28, 2011 K.D. Absolutely rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books (Science Fiction)
Shelves: 501, sci-fi
Twelve totally enchanting tales about the evolution of the universe. This book is a good set of fanciful stories that a father can use to answer his son’s never-ending questions about the moon, the sun and everything up in the sky.

This is my third book by Italo Calvino and he still to disappoint me. Like Milan Kundera, he also does not re-write himself. He was a league of his own - writing about a unfinished manuscript being read by you, the reader - in If on a winter’s night a traveler. He loo
...more
Madeleine
Calvino opened this beautiful little collection with "The Distance of the Moon," a tale from the days when the lunar landscape could be reached with nothing more than a ladder and some well-timed gymnastics, so it struck me as appropriate that I began reading “Cosmicomics” on the night of a full moon.

I had its richly resonant first two stories running through my head while driving home from work that evening. The first half of my commute is a journey illuminated by the artificial lights of both
...more
Ellen
Italo Calvino, in Cosmicomics, writes a philosophical, pseudo-scientific fantasy that attempts, somewhat whimsically, to answer the kind of questions a child might pose: How did the earth begin? Where do we come from? How did language begin? The book charts the path of a character named Qfwfq who roams through emerging galaxies, romps with hydrogen atoms, and, in general, makes observations about an evolving universe.

Calvino’s book, a landmark of postmodern fiction, depicts a common postmoderni
...more
Paul Bryant
I guess if there was nothing on tv and you were bored your mind might start wandering and you might possibly conceive that a civilisation of very tiny unicorns called Gzz and Tjsdfh might live up my arse but you wouldn't want to write a damn book about it, would you. However thin the book might be.
Tom
Jan 28, 2008 Tom rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The concept is simple: take an abstract scientific concept and bring it to life through the art of the short story. Yet what Calvino achieves in Cosmicomics is unparalleled.

The collection contains twelve short stories, each beginning with a short statement describing a scientific theory, a dry, explanatory piece of writing that feels like it could've been pulled out of an introductory astronomy (or biology) textbook. For example, the first story, "The Distance of the Moon," begins with the follo
...more
Rowena
Dec 06, 2012 Rowena rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
Storytelling at its best. I rarely read anything as creative as this, I mean the book's narrator is someone (or something?) called Qfwfq, and other characters in the book include (k)yK, Kgwgk and Mrs. Ph(i)NKѲ! It's a collection of stories about the formation of the universe using scientific terminology and ideas so I guess to fully understand Calvino's genius, some knowledge of science (especially Physics, astronomy and Earth Science) is a good idea.
Andrea
Dec 21, 2012 Andrea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Andrea by: Kris
Shelves: science
I read this on route to Vietnam, sad to leave my half-read but weighty Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid at home. It was strangely a related interlude, a different look at the laws underpinning our universe and our reality. However the motivation of both authors was very similar - how do we as humans try to understand the complexity and wonder of the constraints and possibilities inherent in the structure of our reality? How does physics translate to our human experience, and how does ...more
Christopher Klein
Jul 27, 2015 Christopher Klein rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a strange and creative work. The briefest of descriptions about Calvino say something like "he's one of the world's greatest fabulists". So, generally people know what they are getting into when they crack the cover. But I'm not sure that I know what I experienced, even now.

So, the set up is easy--a bunch of stories about the evolution of the universe. But what the hell does that even mean?

For one, each story begins with an italicized blurb that reads like something out of a science te
...more
Simona Bartolotta
Nov 11, 2015 Simona Bartolotta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1900, collections
«Così incominciai a fare la prima cosa che mi venne, ed era una conchiglia. [...] Non mi veniva mica di farla perché mi serviva, ma al contrario come a uno gli viene di fare un’esclamazione che potrebbe benissimo anche non fare eppure la fa, come uno che dice “bah!” oppure “mah!”, così io facevo la conchiglia, cioè solo per esprimermi».

Una delle cose che amo di più, delle storie, è il fatto che si mettano a raccontare di un mollusco, un insignificante mollusco, o di un segno nello spazio impreci
...more
Kirstin
May 24, 2015 Kirstin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Cosmicomics is just what it says it is, a series of short comedies about the cosmos. The opening story, The Distance of the Moon, is so wonderful, I smiled the enitre time I read it. Calvino takes scientific facts and theories and gives them a human perspective(without any human characters), and does it all in the most simple, quirky way you could imagine. I loved every one of them. The Aquatic Uncle and The Spiral do deserve a special mention for being so lovely. How appropriate, to give this b ...more
Sakura87
Solo un appunto: questo libro ha il sapore del liceo, ma non un sapore aspro né sgradevole; la professoressa d’italiano lesse in classe uno di questi racconti, Tutto in un punto. E lo fece in maniera così graziosa, spiegandoci in modo così arguto la varietà di miti in esso sapientemente mischiati, primo tra tutti quello dell’indimenticabile Grande Madre con la sua vestaglia arancione e le sue tagliatelle, che adesso, a distanza di quattro anni, ho deciso di comprarlo - ritrovandoci dentro tutta ...more
Greg
Jan 24, 2009 Greg rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading these stories by Calvino I couldn't help but think of Borges constantly. Maybe it was the character names that all sounded like they came from titles of Borges stories. Actually the whole collection felt like Borges to me, but if Borges had decided to write his stories based on science instead of about books, history and arcane knowledge. Since I don't really have much interest in science I never really got into these stories, although they are fun to read.
Hanne
The Cosmicomics are a set of short stories published in the sixties by Italo Calvino. All of them follow the same structure: it starts with a sentence from a scientific publication, usually about the creation of our universe and planets. And then our narrator Qfwfq tells us he remembers that period in time, and takes us back in time on his train of thought.

These stories are dreamy, philosophical and funny at the same time. I think of them as bedtime stories for adults – they have the enchanted f
...more
Daniel Villines
May 26, 2014 Daniel Villines rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I look at space from the safety and confines of our Earth I always look at that vast illumined expanse with more wonder than knowledge. Sure I know a few things about the speed of light, planets around other stars, and the composition of comets, but what I don't know is so immense within the context of my view, that I become a believer of my own imagination. In addition to the bright points of nuclear fusion, I also see life on other worlds, the destruction of other planets, and the foresee ...more
Nate D
Jan 31, 2011 Nate D rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: dozing nebula, gatherers of moon-milk
Recommended to Nate D by: it was too cramped in the singularity to tell who
Calvino at his most Borgesian, perhaps, playfully mythic yet distilling broad complex theory on art and life from simple (here, astronomical) concepts run to distant, unforeseen extents. For instance, in the one I just finished, the eternal protagonist sees a sign placed on a star 100 million light years away reading I SAW YOU, and realizes it refers to an incident in his own life 200 million years before (time for the light to go out and back). Embarrassed to find that actions he'd hoped had be ...more
Shahin Ghaeminejad
نشاندهنده ى كيفيت بالاى علف ايتاليايى.
Henry Martin
Cosmicomics...my third Calvino. And there I was, the book freshly in my hand, thinking that I had a vague idea of what journey I was about to embark upon. I was wrong.

Borges messed with my mind. Calvino ripped it apart, fucked with it, and gave it back to me. So now, the final page turned and the cover slammed shut, here I am, contemplating what was it that I just finished reading. I know now not to wait too long - Calvino's stories have the tendency to sink deeper, to become more intriguing and
...more
Mateo R.
Intertextualidad

Menciones directas:
* Illusions perdues (1837) de Honoré de Balzac (en "Cuánto apostamos").
* Le Père Goriot (1835) de Honoré de Balzac (en "Cuánto apostamos").
* Mención a los escritores George H. Darwin, Gerard Kuiper y Edwin Hubble.

Indirecta:
* Calvino afirma en una autoentrevista que se realizó al publicar el libro que Las cosmicómicas están inspiradas en las obras de Giacomo Leopardi, Samuel Beckett, Giordano Bruno, Lewis Carroll, los cómics de Popeye creados por Elzie Crisler S
...more
Gülayzer
It was very joyful reading! the stories started from before the big-bang and goes on. it is kind of prehistoric science fiction (before the invention of time and history:)).
Majo
Mi ha sembrato troppa fantascienza, al mio parere... Quindi Calvino piace nel "senso" del suo racconto, ma no nel modo in qui lui riesce a raccontarlo, a scriverlo
Brady
Literature seems pretty deplorably biased towards one little section of the universe, doesn't it? Thirteen point eight billion years and a universe as good as infinite and nearly everybody sticks to the little slit of time and speck of space where humans are around, or else jumps to a fantasy world that's functionally a facsimile of our own.

Yeah, there might be wild typhoons and howling deserts and grinning, churning volcanoes in your land of Er'gzzzgl'gdah, but the air is still breathable, the
...more
David
Nov 22, 2012 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, evolution
This book is a series of short stories that tell about evolution of the universe and of life. It is a sort of allegorical fantasy, entertaining, humorous, and thought-provoking. What is it like to be a sentient being, afloat in the universe? How could you restore your reputation, when someone who is 100 million light years distant, directs a sign toward you, saying "I SAW YOU"? What sort of signpost would you build, to figure out the rotation period of the galaxy? What would you do if you were t ...more
Rob
Aug 11, 2007 Rob rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
this was a huge disappointment after If on a Winter's Night a Traveler. a few of the stories might be perfect for a bed-time story for a very precocious 9-year-old, if the parent had the background to explain the science. but not enough good science for a science nerd(me), and i think too much science for a normal person. too much fairy-tale language for an adult(me), but too much technical language for a kid. some of the ideas were great, and i would enjoy the first page or two, but quickly got ...more
Elisa
Jan 04, 2016 Elisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Son 5 stelle ma in realtà sono 465476595, non saprei da dove cominciare per parlare di questa meraviglia.
Panagiotis
Μια συλλογή διηγημάτων του αγαπημένου Italo. Όπως σε όλες τις συλλογές κάποια είναι καλά άλλα πολύ καλά και δυο τρία είναι ποίηση. Ποίηση σε πεζό λόγο. Μέτρια στον Calvino δεν θα βρεις. Έτσι κι αλλιώς είναι από τους συγγραφείς που ή τους ερωτεύεσαι με την πρώτη ματιά ή τους σιχαίνεσαι. Ναι μεν αλλά δεν χωράει εδώ. Το βιβλίο αυτό δεν είναι για να το διαβάσει ο αμύητος στην ιδιαίτερη γραφή του Calvino, είναι το πιο πειραματικό του βιβλίο. Ο ήρωας που μας διηγείται τις περιπέτειες της ζωής του δεν ...more
Sophia
Jan 28, 2016 Sophia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sophia by: Alexandra
Περίεργο κείμενο, σαν παραμύθι. Έτσι θέλησα να το απολαύσω. Δύσκολο με κάποιες περιγραφές που χανόσουν, αλλά παρόλα αυτά είχε μια μαγεία, σαν να χανόσουν στο σύμπαν κι εσύ.
απόλαυσα ιδιαίτερα τις ιστορίες "Η απόσταση της Σελήνης" και " Τα έτη φωτός".
Eka
Jan 12, 2016 Eka rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, my-shelf
Книгава беше љубов на прв поглед. И името и корицата и фактот што сѐ тргнува од еден научен факт и што се работи за вселената. Да почнеш да читаш книга со таква радост и нетрпеливост и на крај да не се разочараш, значи дека книгата е стварно многу добра! :)

Како љубител на астрономијата и пишувањето, се заљубив во креативниот мозок на Калвино. Не ми се веруваше дека некој може да смисли толку убави приказни за различни моменти околу настанокот на светот. Некои едноставни, други забавни, трети дл
...more
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کتاب 1 28 Dec 09, 2008 02:26AM  
  • Collected Stories and Later Writings
  • The Complete Short Prose, 1929-1989
  • Sixty Stories
  • Vintage Baldwin
  • The Stories (So Far)
  • Stories in an Almost Classical Mode
  • To Each His Own
  • Collected Fictions
  • Searches and Seizures
  • Selected Stories
  • The Street of Crocodiles
  • Pricksongs and Descants
  • A Life in Letters
  • La cognizione del dolore
  • Sleepwalker in a Fog
  • Doting
  • L'isola di Arturo
  • I Sailed with Magellan
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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 easily classified; much of his writing has an air of the fantastic
...more
More about Italo Calvino...

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“I had fallen in love. What I mean is: I had begun to recognize, to isolate the signs of one of those from the others, in fact I waited for these signs I had begun to recognize, I sought them, responded to those signs I awaited with other signs I made myself, or rather it was I who aroused them, these signs from her, which I answered with other signs of my own . . . ” 40 likes
“I could distinguish the shape of her bosom, her arms, her thighs, just as I remember them now, just as now, when the Moon has become that flat, remote circle, I still look for her as soon as the first sliver appears in the sky, and the more it waxes, the more clearly I imagine I can see her, her or something of her, but only her, in a hundred, a thousand different vistas, she who makes the Moon the Moon and, whenever she is full, sets the dogs to howling all night long, and me with them.” 22 likes
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