Cosmicomics

Cosmicomics - Italo Calvino I've ranted before about the star system here on Goodreads (all the more appropriate à propos 'Cosmicomics' with its cosmological concerns). Compared to much else out there, this is a five-star read - the sheer inventiveness, the humour, the liveliness of the prose... But how else to indicate that these stories weren't quite in the same league as 'Invisible Cities', say, or the novellas that comprise the trilogy, 'Our Ancestors'?

Anyway, here 'old Qwfwq' informs us about the origins of the universe and of life, events to which he has personally borne witness. The scenarios allow Calvino to indulge in a series of surrealist cosmic jokes. The very best of the stories did show the great man at the peak of his form. I enjoyed particularly 'The Light Years' in which messages are sent across the universe over a million centuries and 'The Aquatic Uncle' where Qwfwq's love interest falls in love with his mother's brother who happens to be a coelacanth-like fish.

No doubt, there's a philosophical point being made here about our smallness in relation to the vastness of time and the universe, but this being Calvino, he delivers it in as flippant a manner as possible. And its lineage is clear to see in Douglas Adams' 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' and his many imitators.