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 :
If you pass by Prague, do not miss Mucha’s Slav Epic at the Museum of Modern and contemporary Art. Aphonse Mucha was one of the major Art Nouveau representative... Read moreThe 11 August 2014 by Artborghi
Recently I attended the Taos Summer Writers Conference. It was fabulous and I urge everyone to check it out. I taught a class in which the participants... Read moreThe 05 August 2014 by Andyross
The war began with Austria-Hungary opening fire on Serbia on July 28. The UK entered the war on August 4.Stephen Evans on 'World War One: Germany's forgotten... Read moreThe 03 August 2014 by Praymont
To some, the need for a UN human rights commission is self-evident. To others, the role amounts to impertinent meddling in internal affairs. I know where I stan... Read moreThe 01 August 2014 by Colin Randall
Source: RobertScribbler Running the world on renewable energy. “If you listen to the fossil fuel cheerleaders, the possibility is more remote than ever. Read moreThe 30 July 2014 by Garry Rogers
ANIMALS & WILDLIFE, BOOKS, ENVIRONMENT
Politics: Israel launched a ground invasion of Gaza, causing a widely critisized high number of Palestinian civilian casualties and a discussion on whether... Read moreThe 29 July 2014 by Cathy Leaves
BOOKS, ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIES, TV & VIDEO
BOOK INFORMATIONTITLE – Snow in JulyAUTHOR – Kim Iverson HeadleeGENRE – Young Adult Paranormal Historical RomancePUBLICATION DATE – July 2014LENTH (Pages/#... Read moreThe 24 July 2014 by Lauriej
MOST POPULAR FROM BOOKS
- Crime and Science Radio This Saturday: An Interview With Barry A.J. Fisher, Past President of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences by Dplylemd
- FLY HIGH HAS A FACEBOOK PAGE, RICHARD ARMITAGE HAS A TWITTER by Mariagrazia
- Friday Finds (August 22) by Cleopatralovesbooks
- DP Lyle on Investigation Discovery’s Deadly Affairs by Dplylemd
Apple Harry Potter Barack Obama Father's Day X-Factor The Box Office Climate Change Egypt Economy World Cup 2014 True Blood North Korea China Halloween Kony Thanksgiving Apps Rick Perry Lance Armstrong Christmas Lady Gaga Mali Michelle Rodriguez Hurricane Sandy Russia Nuclear Energy European Union Samsung Rupert Murdoch Turkey