I finally got round to reading Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino. Amazon.com’s editorial review describes it as
An enchanting series of stories about the evolution of the universe. Calvino makes characters out of mathematical formulae and simple cellular structures. They disport themselves amongst galaxies, experience the solidification of planets, move from aquatic to terrestrial existence, play games with hydrogen atoms — and have time for a love life.
which is pretty fair, though it possibly makes it sound even frothier than it is. Key words would be – surreal, whimsical, intellectually playful, that kind of thing. Which I found wore thin pretty quickly. It’s clever, it’s well-written, it’s often funny, if not belly-laugh funny; but in the end it just seemed a bit silly. Rather than engage with the science in a really interesting way, it just used semi-digested fragments as a kicking-off point.