Umberto Eco: the Three AstronautsBy Winterthorn
"ONCE UPON A TIME THERE WAS EARTH.
"And once upon a time there was Mars."
The people of Earth want to explore Mars. They send up rockets that fall back to the ground. Then they send up rockets that go out into space. Then they send up a dog in a rocket, "but the dogs couldn't talk, and the only message they sent was 'bow wow.'" So they finally send up a man.
"One fine morning three rockets took off from three different places on Earth," an American, a Russian, and a Chinese. They all want to be the first person to set foot on Mars, and none of them liked one another.
"Since all three of them were very smart, they landed on Mars at almost the same time." They get out to explore the alien landscape, but "They looked at each other distrustfully. And each kept his distance."
Then in the dead of night, afraid and alone, they each utter their word for "Mommy," which sounds almost the same in each of their languages. So they realize they're all feeling the same thing, and choose to camp together, singing songs and learning about one another.
First thing in the morning, a Martian shows up, and he's so scary looking that all three humans band together, and point their "atomic disintegrators" at him, ready to kill him. He, for his part, finds the humans to be "horrible creatures."
Then a baby bird falls from its nest, and the astronauts and the Martian all pause, and shed a tear for such a heartbreaking sight. The Martian picks up the bird and tries to shelter it, and the humans realize he's feeling the same thing they are, and they go over and shake his hands and all of them decide to return to Earth together.
"And so the visitors realized that on Earth, and on other planets, too, each one has his ways, and it's simply a matter of reaching an understanding."
WHILE THE SUBJECT IN THE THREE ASTRONAUTS feels somewhat dated, its message is not, which is why the Family Opera Initiative is currently developing an opera based on the book. A composer from each of the three countries--America, Russia, and China--is composing music, with words by American poet Nikki Giovanni. (They're looking for donations, so do click through.)
In my post on The Bomb and the General, I went into some depth raising the question, what does Eco's text say about Eco's concept of children's literature, without offering any kind of answer. It's not often that you get an answer from the artist himself, but Eugenio Carmi sat for an interview in conjunction with the opera, which provides insight into the way in which the book was created, and how he and Eco thought about children's literature.
Coming soon: Umberto Eco and Eugenio Carmi's The Gnomes of Gnu.
All images are copyrighted © and owned by their respective holders.
These articles might interest you :
So here I am, flogging my Georgette Heyer Film Petition again. However, since we now have over 1000 names from all over the world on the petition (and lots of... Read moreThe 08 July 2014 by Jennyallworthy
BOOKS, CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT
Some Words on Gay Pride. by Paul J. Pelkonen OK, they're not really there but they look cool. Rainbow flags over Lincoln Center. Photo alteration by the author. Read moreThe 29 June 2014 by Superconductor
CULTURE, THEATRE & OPERA
What’s it all about?:The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great... Read moreThe 26 June 2014 by Bibliobeth
Why I picked it: In the last two years, I have become obsessed with cookbooks. I enjoy reading personal stories, and find it amazing to discover how a list of... Read moreThe 24 June 2014 by Mpartyka
Well, it wasn’t a bar; it was a synagogue. And the synagogue wasn’t in Russia; it was in New Jersey. But there were ten of them; they are Russian, and they are... Read moreThe 19 June 2014 by Bbenzon
CULTURE, PHILOSOPHY, SOCIETY
This was such an exciting week. When Delia and I decided to host an Angela Carter Week we couldn’t foresee such a great success. So many fascinating posts and... Read moreThe 16 June 2014 by Caroline
It was Malcolm Hardee Comedy Award winning performer Gareth Ellis - one of those people who seems to know everyone – who told me that writer Alex Oates was goin... Read moreThe 11 June 2014 by Thejohnfleming
MOST POPULAR FROM BOOKS
- 14 Things I Saw At Latitude 2014 by Ashleylister
- SUMMER IS FOR READING: THE FAULT IN OUR STARS & OTHER LOVE STORIES by Mariagrazia
- Why We Need to Save Wildlife to Save Ourselves by Garry Rogers
- BOOK REVIEW: THE QUARRY BY JOHAN THEORIN by Pamelascott
Apple World Cup 2014 Apps Samsung Climate Change Turkey European Union X-Factor True Blood North Korea Barack Obama The Box Office Mali Halloween Economy Christmas Michelle Rodriguez Egypt The Olympics Father's Day Nuclear Energy China Charlie Sheen Rick Perry The Papacy Kony Lady Gaga Lance Armstrong Harry Potter Russia
ON THE BOOKS FORUM
- Sunday Serenade Is Back! Ashley from ... Reviewed by Malik