Sean Conaway on time, space, and why we should all read (or reread) Calvinoby Fringe Magazine • 04.09.2012
Some folks consider this notion bleak, that it reduces time to meaninglessness, but taking a long view, that it took two generations of stars to create conditions suitable for life—creatures able to look back to the beginning and peer into the future—is something awesome and humbling. At least, Italo Calvino thought so, and spent the last half of his life playfully fusing science to human (and not so human) desire and folly, proving that, whether intended or not, our capacity to question and imagine, to marvel, is a rich creation indeed.
Calvino understood modern science as a continuation of the way our ancestors attached myths to stars, told time by them, used them to explain how the world began and how it will end. His Cosmicomics illustrate how physics and literature are two manifestations of the same impulse—to observe and attempt to explain, to reel out our imaginations until they travel between galaxies. It’s with a certain amount of embarrassment that I introduce my story, “All Towards One Point.” Who am I to write a sequel to “All at One Point?” A hack, I fear, but a humble one, trying only to offer a respectful (if clumsy) homage rather than cheap knock-off to a writer I consider a master and sage. At the very least, I hope it encourages readers to revisit the real deal, and explore with him the strange wonders of the universe.