The Complete Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino

It’s not enough to think of Italo Calvino as an avid science-fiction writer. Nor is it enough to think of him as a magical realism philosopher that his writing so eloquently verifies. It’s not enough to think of him as a writer forced into a dimension that his literary diction so effortlessly surpasses. You want to read him as you would want to get to know a person – slowly, searchingly, and devotedly.

The Complete Cosmicomics is an Odyssey that is organic and diverse. It’s a collection of short stories featuring the Big Bang in all its perplexities, the movement of time, the shrinkage of space, the undying effect of perception, the birth and death of an atom, the memory of the world. Calvino was adamant to bring forth realistic narratives concerning cosmos’s most telluric elements: wind, sea, air, dust, terrestrial planets, and us, the “outsiders.”

His writing wakes you not out of a deep sleep, but into a dream, suffused with layers one on top of another, extending into a labyrinth of truly impressive and imaginative concepts. These stories are scientific and philosophical. The book, in substance and essence, is a library. Each of his stories are narrated by an animate object, Qfwfq, who exists in one story as a dinosaur, in another as an atom, and in others as inhabiting so many other universes.

Only a few books, like The Complete Cosmicomics, allow you to travel over into the soul of the characters that inhabit the stories. You’re not bringing these characters to life by reading them. These stories, as they are, function as heartbeats, rhythms of the mind and body that pulsate in their celestial and alluring presence. You, the reader, continue on their journeys only to join their breaths to yours.