Book picks similar to
Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino


fiction
short-stories
fantasy
science-fiction

Ficciones


Jorge Luis Borges - 1994
    Borges sends us on a journey into a compelling, bizarre, and profoundly resonant realm; we enter the fearful sphere of Pascal's abyss, the surreal and literal labyrinth of books, and the iconography of eternal return. To enter the worlds in Ficciones is to enter the mind of Jorge Luis Borges, wherein lies Heaven, Hell, and everything else in between. Part One: The Garden of Forking Paths Prologue Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius (1940) The Approach to Al-Mu'tasim (1936, not included in the 1941 edition) Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote (1939) The Circular Ruins (1940) The Lottery in Babylon (1941) An Examination of the Work of Herbert Quain (1941) The Library of Babel (1941) The Garden of Forking Paths (1941) Part Two: Artifices Prologue Funes the Memorious (1942) The Form of the Sword (1942) Theme of the Traitor and the Hero (1944) Death and the Compass (1942) The Secret Miracle (1943) Three Versions of Judas (1944) The End (1953, 2nd edition only) The Sect of the Phoenix (1952, 2nd edition only) The South (1953, 2nd edition only)

The Atrocity Exhibition


J.G. Ballard - 1970
    G. Ballard lived far ahead of his time. Called his "prophetic masterpiece" by many, The Atrocity Exhibition practically lies outside of any literary tradition. Part science fiction, part eerie historical fiction, part pornography, its characters adhere to no rules of linearity or stability. This reissued edition features an introduction by William S. Burroughs, extensive text commentary by Ballard, and four additional stories. Of specific interest are the illustrations by underground cartoonist and professional medical illustrator Phoebe Gloeckner. Her ultrarealistic images of eroticism and destruction add an important dimension to Ballard's text.

The Island of the Day Before


Umberto Eco - 1994
    Swept from the Amaryllis, he has managed to pull himself aboard the Daphne, anchored in the bay of a beautiful island. The ship is fully provisioned, he discovers, but the crew is missing. As Roberto explores the different cabinets in the hold, he remembers chapters from his youth: Ferrante, his imaginary evil brother; the siege of Casale, that meaningless chess move in the Thirty Years' War in which he lost his father and his illusions; and the lessons given him on Reasons of State, fencing, the writing of love letters, and blasphemy.In this fascinating, lyrical tale, Umberto Eco tells of a young dreamer searching for love and meaning; and of a most amazing old Jesuit who, with his clocks and maps, has plumbed the secrets of longitudes, the four moons of Jupiter, and the Flood.

Some Rain Must Fall: And Other Stories


Michel Faber - 1981
    But Faber's radically inventive style fastens all fifteen stories into a compelling collection deserving of the high praise it garnered in the United Kingdom. One surreal story, "Fish," projects a futuristic world populated with fish swimming in the air. As sharks hover in abandoned corners and human zealots of the Church of the Armageddon loose their fanaticism on the innocent, it's a mother's full-time job to protect her young daughter. The title story, "Some Rain Must Fall," tells of a substitute schoolteacher called on in a crisis, and as she encourages her pupils to express their feelings, we learn the source of the class's trouble: a devastating act that resonates with contemporary America. As Garth Morris wrote in the Mail on Sunday (London), "these are well-crafted pieces of quiet forlorn intensity in a very real world."

The Cyberiad


Stanisław Lem - 2002
    Ranging from the prophetic to the surreal, these stories demonstrate Stanislaw Lem's vast talent and remarkable ability to blend meaning and magic into a wholly entertaining and captivating work.

The Third Policeman


Flann O'Brien - 1967
    Told by a narrator who has committed a botched robbery and brutal murder, the novel follows him and his adventures in a two-dimensional police station where, through the theories of the scientist/philosopher de Selby, he is introduced to "Atomic Theory" and its relation to bicycles, the existence of eternity (which turns out to be just down the road), and de Selby's view that the earth is not round but "sausage-shaped." With the help of his newly found soul named "Joe," he grapples with the riddles and contradictions that three eccentric policeman present to him.The last of O'Brien's novels to be published, The Third Policeman joins O'Brien's other fiction (At Swim-Two-Birds, The Poor Mouth, The Hard Life, The Best of Myles, The Dalkey Archive) to ensure his place, along with James Joyce and Samuel Beckett, as one of Ireland's great comic geniuses.

Kalpa Imperial: The Greatest Empire That Never Was


Angélica Gorodischer - 2003
    In eleven chapters, Kalpa Imperial's multiple storytellers relate the story of a fabled nameless empire which has risen and fallen innumerable times. Fairy tales, oral histories and political commentaries are all woven tapestry-style into Kalpa Imperial: beggars become emperors, democracies become dictatorships, and history becomes legends and stories.    But this is much more than a simple political allegory or fable. It is also a celebration of the power of storytelling. Gorodischer and translator Ursula K. Le Guin are a well-matched, sly and delightful team of magician-storytellers. Rarely have author and translator been such an effortless pairing. Kalpa Imperial is a powerful introduction to the writing of Angélica Gorodischer, a novel which will enthrall readers already familiar with the worlds of Le Guin.Selected for the New York Times Summer Reading list.* "The dreamy, ancient voice is not unlike Le Guin's, and this collection should appeal to her fans as well as to those of literary fantasy and Latin American fiction."—Library Journal (Starred Review)"There's a very modern undercurrent to the Kalpa empire, with tales focusing on power (in a political sense) rather than generic moral lessons. Her mythology is consistent—wide in scope, yet not overwhelming. The myriad names of places and people can be confusing, almost Tolkeinesque in their linguistic originality. But the stories constantly move and keep the book from becoming overwhelming. Gorodischer has a sizeable body of work to be discovered, with eighteen books yet to reach English readers, and this is an impressive introduction."—Review of Contemporary Fiction"Borges and Cortázar are alive and well."—Bridge Magazine"Those looking for offbeat literary fantasy will welcome Kalpa Imperial: The Greatest Empire That Never Was, by Argentinean writer Angélica Gorodischer. Translated from the Spanish by Ursula Le Guin, this is the first appearance in English of this prize-winning South American fantasist."—Publishers Weekly"It's always difficult to wrap up a rave review without babbling redundant praises. This time I'll simply say "Buy this Book!""—Locus"The elaborate history of an imaginary country...is Nabokovian in its accretion of strange and rich detail, making the story seem at once scientific and dreamlike."—Time Out New YorkKalpa Imperial has been awarded the Prize "Más Allá" (1984), the Prize "Sigfrido Radaelli" (1985) and also the Prize Poblet (1986). It has had four editions in Spanish: Minotauro (Buenos Aires), Alcor (Barcelona), Gigamesh (Barcelona), and Planeta Emecé Editions (Buenos Aires).Praise for the Spanish-language editions of Kalpa Imperial:"Angélica Gorodischer, both from without and within the novel, accomplishes the indispensable function Salman Rushdie says the storyteller must have: not to let the old tales die out; to constantly renew them. And she well knows, as does that one who met the Great Empress, that storytellers are nothing more and nothing less than free men and women. And even though their freedom might be dangerous, they have to get the total attention of their listeners and, therefore, put the proper value on the art of storytelling, an art that usually gets in the way of those who foster a forceful oblivion and prevent the winds of change."—Carmen Perilli, La Gaceta, Tucuman"At a time when books are conceived and published to be read quickly, with divided attention in the din of the subway or the car, this novel is to be tasted with relish, in peace, in moderation, chewing slowly each and every one of the stories that make it up, and digesting it equally slowly so as to properly assimilate it all."—Rodolfo Martinez"A vast, cyclical filigree . . . Gorodischer reaches much farther than the common run of stories about huge empires, maybe because she wasn't interested in them to begin with, and enters the realm of fable, legend, and allegory."—Luis G. Prado, Gigamesh, Barcelona

Player Piano


Kurt Vonnegut - 1952
    Paul’s rebellion is vintage Vonnegut—wildly funny, deadly serious, and terrifyingly close to reality.Alternate cover edition here

The Life of Insects


Victor Pelevin - 1993
    With consummate literary skill Pelevin creates a satirical bestiary which is as realistic as it is delirious - a bitter parable of contemporary Russia, full of the probing, disenchanted comedy that makes Pelevin a vital and altogether surprising writer.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: A Trilogy in Four Parts


Douglas Adams - 1986
    For Arthur Dent, who has only just had his house demolished that morning, this seems already to be more than he can cope with. Sadly, however, the weekend has only just begun, and the Galaxy is a very very very large and startling place.THE RESTAURANT AT THE END OF THE UNIVERSE.When all questions of space, time, matter and the nature of being have been resolved, only one question remains --- "Where shall we have dinner?" The Restaurant at the End of the Universe provides the ultimate gastronomic experience, and for once there is no morning after to worry about.LIFE, THE UNIVERSE AND EVERYTHING.In consequence of a number of stunning catastrophes, Arthur Dent is surprised to find himself living in a hideously miserable cave on prehistoric Earth. However, just as he thinks that things cannot possibly get any worse, they suddenly do. He discovers that the Galaxy is not only mind-boggling big and bewildering but also that most of the things that happen in it are staggeringly unfair.SO LONG, AND THANKS FOR ALL THE FISH.Just as Arthur Dent's sense of reality is in its dickiest state he suddenly finds the girl of his dreams. He finds her in the last place in the Universe in which he would expect to find anything at all, but which 3,976,000 people will find oddly familiar. They go in search of God's Final Message to His Creation and, in a dramatic break with tradition, actually find it.

The Compass Rose


Ursula K. Le Guin - 1982
    Twenty astonishing stories from acclaimed author Ursula K. Le Guin that carry us to worlds of wonder and horror, desire and destiny, enchantment and doom.

Autobiography of a Corpse


Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky - 2013
    This new collection of eleven mind-bending and spellbinding tales includes some of Krzhizhanovsky's most dazzling conceits: a provincial journalist who moves to Moscow finds his existence consumed by the autobiography of his room's previous occupant; the fingers of a celebrated pianist's right hand run away to spend a night alone on the city streets; a man's lifelong quest to bite his own elbow inspires both a hugely popular circus act and a new refutation of Kant. Ordinary reality cracks open before our eyes in the pages of Autobiography of a Corpse, and the extraordinary spills out.An NYRB Classics Original

Maya


Jostein Gaarder - 2011
    Why does Ana bear such a close resemblance to the model for Goya's famous Maja paintings? What is the significance of the Joker as he steps out of his pack of cards? As the action moves from Fiji to Spain, from the present to the past, unfolding further stories within the stories, the novel reveals an astonishing richness and complexity. As bold and imaginative in its sweep as Sophie's World, it shows again that Jostein Gaarder's unique and special gift is to make us wonder at the awe-inspiring mystery of the universe.

The Complete Stories, Vol 1


Isaac Asimov - 1990
    The first book of the definitive three-volume collection of short stories by the prolific Isaac Asimov, whose tales have delighted countless fans for over half a century--a must for every science fiction bookshelf.

Diaboliad


Mikhail Bulgakov - 1925
    Full of invention, they display Bulgakov's breathtaking stylistic range, moving at dizzying speed from grotesque satire to science fiction, from the plainest realism to the most madcap of fantasies. Diaboliad is a wonderful introduction to literature's most uncategorisable and subversive genius.