Monday, February 16, 2009

Italo Calvino's "The Daughters of the Moon" (short story, fantasy, consumerism, free)

Illustration accompanying the English translation by Martin McLaughlin of Italian short story titled The Daughters of the Moon by Italo CalvinoReason for this post is the source: genre fiction is not too common at The New Yorker; I would not have posted it otherwise. This story didn't work for me - but then most fantasy fiction doesn't work for me. Your take will likely vary if you like fantasy.

Story summary.

On a parallel earth that is too similar to ours, consumerism is rampant: people discarding used products too quickly & going for new ones.

Now the moon of this world has withered too. It has lost mass, orbit, & is on its way down to earth. But likely holocaust is not the issue - issue is the ugly sight in the skies!

On a certain day, when moon is hanging low in the skies, it seems to have a group of naked girl worshipers in New York City who seem to be guiding it to gently land somewhere. But "authorities" have other ideas. They pick it up out of skies with a huge crane & dump it in a garbage yard to rot!

Various things happen next day, resulting in both moon & earth magically reinventing themselves as a new green worlds. In an instant, earth's cities die & are taken over by vegetation, & moon becomes habitable & rises up in the skies to occupy it normal perch!

Fact sheet.

First published: 1968 (where?). Translation from original Italian by Martin McLaughlin, & this English translation reprinted in The New Yorker, 23 February 2009.
Rating: C.
Download full text of English translation.
Related: Fiction about environment, consumerism, or moon.


Anonymous said...

What is the overall moral of the story? That a consumerist society is not tenable and will always result in natural extinction? Or that evolution itself is naturally cyclical with humans going back to being mammoths and cities going back to being jungles eventually?

I didnt get it. Any thoughts?

Tinkoo said...

"That a consumerist society is not tenable" is obviously a theme, but I'm as clueless about the moral of the story - assuming there is one.