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The Complete Cosmicomics

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4.20  ·  Rating details ·  15,704 ratings  ·  1,108 reviews
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 ori
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Hardcover, Penguin Modern Classics, 402 pages
Published May 28th 2009 by Penguin Books (first published 1965)
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4.20  · 
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 ·  15,704 ratings  ·  1,108 reviews


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Cinzia DuBois
Feb 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourite-books
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.
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
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Ahmad Sharabiani
Le cosmicomiche = Cosmicomics, Italo Calvino
Cosmicomics 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 Caffè 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 o
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Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Apr 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
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.
from Pixar - La Luna

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 cry
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Steven Godin
Nov 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Bradley
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 th
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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
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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
Megan Baxter
Apr 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
I'm trying to find just the right word to describe these stories. Science fables isn't quite right - there isn't a moral at the end of each one. I'm torn between science myths and science legends. I think I'm leaning towards myths, in the sense of "stories that tell how something came to be." Let's go with that.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the recent changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.

In the meantime, you can read
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Stuart
The Complete Cosmicomics: Cosmic Tales of the Universe’s Origins
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature
Along with his brilliant Invisible Cities(1972 in Italian, 1974 in English), one of Italo Calvino’s most enduring creations was his series of whimsical and erudite stories inspired by the origins of the universe and scientific principles, labeled Cosmicomics (1965 in Italian, 1968 in English). They are narrated by a mysterious being called Qfwfq, who tells of the Big Bang and the time before th
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K.D. Absolutely
Jun 09, 2011 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
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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
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Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
Disclaimer :: Everything that follows is a lie. The book was received by me direct from the publisher for no charge, via that goodreads first reads giveaway.


What was greatest here was the opportunity to reread the original set of Calvino’s cosmicomics collected as Cosmicomics. These little things are simply gems, some of the best fabulist writing you’ll ever come across. Frankly, I prefer them to what Coover does with the fabulation.

All told, this recent publication of The Complete Cosmicomics
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Andrea
Dec 12, 2012 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
Paul Bryant
Sep 27, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
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.
Rowena
Jul 30, 2012 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.
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
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MJ Nicholls
Penguin Classics rounded up the entire output from Italo Calvino’s Cosmicomics series in 2009 and collected them into this impressive and expensive hardback book, The Complete Cosmicomics.

The edition I read contains all the stories from the original Cosmicomics, Time & the Hunter, World Memory & Other Cosmicomic Stories, and Cosmicomics Old & New collections, plus one rewritten marvel, The Other Eurydice.

I made the mistake of devouring these stories in one quick glut and probably did
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Tom
Oct 03, 2007 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
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Christopher
Aug 30, 2014 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
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Nick Craske
Mar 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Reading this was one of the most rewarding reading experiences I've ever had. Enchanting, fantastical and enlightening. A beautiful book with beautiful wordplay and language. 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.
Jim
Why, oh why can't I read in six different languages?

I've been a fan of Calvino for many years and have just finished the Cosmicomics for the first time. I read them one per evening and let them sink in slowly. There is a lot here to absorb and meditate on, and I would definitely suggest reading each of the stories separately, as they were written. One of my favorites in the collection is 'The Count of Monte Cristo'. An excellent brain twister!

I have one criticism/concern, and it is about the tra
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Junta
Jun 05, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who are interested in the Universe
Recommended to Junta by: A Winter's Night's Traveler
A collection of short stories I like for its creativity. I should probably take more time with my short story collections since you're bound to appreciate them more that way, letting the ideas from each story seep into your subconscious over a course of weeks, if not months.

Calvino's 34 stories each focus on some entity or event through the history of the Universe, often from the very beginning . I especially liked the first collection in the compilation, Cosmicomics. I had some friends ask abou
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jeremy
Feb 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
collecting all of calvino's cosmicomics writings, the complete cosmicomics features 34 stories spanning some twenty years (or rather, billions, really). included are the dozen tales that make up 1965's cosmicomics, the eleven in 1967's t zero (published in the uk as time and the hunter), four from the posthumous numbers in the dark, and seven stories not previously rendered into english. never released in the united states, the complete cosmicomics is four hundred pages of rich, imaginative fict ...more
Girish
Sep 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
5 stars despite the fact I totally didn't like a few chapters and I took roughly an year to complete it! You will never read anything like this that calling it a book seems a misnomer. Or to be more precise, nothing like this can ever be accomplished by a writer. This pseudo absurd leap of creativity explores science like never before.

Calvino's collection of stories have as characters 'entities'(for the lack of better word) which morph into characters in a story to explore a science fact. The m
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Hanne
Dec 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
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
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Ian "Marvin" Graye
REVIEW:

Otherwise Whimsical Science

Most of the stories in this comprehensive collection start with a scientific quote and extrapolate its scientific premise into the universe of abstract reality and fiction.

The narrator - Qfwfq - is variously a dinosaur, a mollusc, a camel or a mammoth, sometimes possibly just a unicellular organism, a cell ("there was a cell, and the cell was me, and that was that...[even if it had a sense of spiritual fullness, the awareness that this cell was me, this sense of
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Linda
Jul 01, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
My second try at reading Calvino and I definitely liked this one more than Invisible Cities.

Cosmicomics has an interesting structure where each story is prefaced with a scientific hypothesis. The story is then set within that hypothesis where our narrator, Qfwfq, relates the story from the time he experienced each particular event in time. I enjoyed the humor, and also just the wackiness of imagining Qfwfq and his friends and family living before the universe had expanded (it was quite crowded!
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Andrew
I fell massively in love with the Harvest edition of Cosmicomics when I was a scared 16 year old who hated school, my parents' house, my hometown, and the American political system in varying ratios depending from day to day, and found these weird, serene little fables that escaped time.

And it was damn good to revisit those stories from my youth, as well as the cosmicomiche that I hadn't read yet. I often say that the poetry of science is hidden to artsy folks, because even when popularized, it'
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Amanda
I really didn't get on with Calvino's writing style in this collection. I found the stories read more as essays or philosophical musings than narratives. I found the stories often confusing and over-elaborate. The treatment of female characters really bothered me in this collection. The main character was overly concerned with possessing, in some way or another, the women in the story, a theme repeated far too often. This is, however, prompt many good discussion between myself and Victoria from ...more
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4,997 followers
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
...more
“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 . . . ” 52 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.” 30 likes
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