Cosmicomics

What is the author's style in Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino?

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Each of Calvino's stories in Cosmicomics begins with a fact or idea about science, which sets up the events that the story will tell. This scientific idea is related in the straightforward tone of an encyclopedia. Then, Qfwfq, or, in the case of two stories, an unnamed narrator, begins telling a fantastical tale relating somehow to that scientific tidbit. In these stories, impossible characters relate to each other as typical human beings, even though they live in fantastical settings. The stories, therefore, move from the solid, factual reality of science into the fantastical and personal reality of human nature.

The structures of Calvino's stories are typically chronological; however, since they are narrated from the future by Qfwfq, the stories sometimes jump forward or backward. The only story that is formally divided, except for the scientific fact at the beginning, is "The Spiral." This story is divided into three parts. The center part of this story, set off in italics, contrasts the blind and nearly senseless world of the mollusk with an impression of the future world with all its interconnected elements, in which the narrator searches for his love in the images of all women.

The consistent character of Qfwfq ties all of the stories in Cosmicomics together into a single narrative. Qfwfq persists in all places and times, and he faces similar conflicts in vastly different circumstances. While he may be an abstract being at one moment and a mollusk the next, he always faces problems of love, rivalry and change. This enforces the idea that the human condition is universal, throughout space and time.

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