Invisible Cities

Invisible Cities - William Weaver, Italo Calvino The book includes Marco Polo's descriptions to Kublai Khan of faraway places (though it's unclear if these parts are fictional, true, or fiction-based-on-truth). It's poetic, heart-warming, and soul moving. There is more to be felt in these short, simple descriptions of settings than many authors convey or achieve with entire novels. I urge any writer struggling with settings to study this book. The philosophy included in these pages is on par with Socrates.

Modern descriptions are woven in with the ancient ones. The underground trains of Zirma are mentioned, when trains did not exist until 500 years after Marco Polo. That is the first clue that this book means to transcend time, to travel back and forth through it without regard. Sophronia has a rollercoaster, carousel, Ferris wheel, motorcycles, and factories — all of which were, obviously, never encountered by Marco Polo. Leonia, a city with refrigerators, radio, toothpaste, and light bulbs— is a city that sounds like the whole of America.

I find myself wishing there was a videogame with the objectives of building and maintaining the cites described in this book. Something along the lines of Sid Meier's Civilization series, or the Anno games, or even another version of The Sims and Sim City would be wonderful to bring this book to life.