June 10, 2019: Good Reads
Have you ever wondered what would happen if the ground gave in when you walked? Or if the Moon was only a few feet away? Or where you and those you love go after death? In this hour or Radiolab, we turn to the power of the written word and explore three separate tales that take us out of this universe…and into another.
We begin with a story excerpted from an essay by Berton Roueché, which first appeared in the New Yorker in 1958 and was later published by Dutton in a book called “The Medical Detectives.” Read for us by the actress Hope Davis, it tells the true tale of a woman named Rosemary Morton, who had a little, um, trouble with gravity.
Next, we turn to space. According to one theory, the moon formed when a Mars-sized chunk of rock collided with Earth. After the moon coalesced out of the debris from that impact, it was much closer to Earth than it is today. This idea is taken to it’s fanciful limit in Italo Calvino’s story “The Distance of the Moon” (from his collection Cosmicomics, translated by William Weaver). The story, narrated by a character with the impossible-to-pronounce name Qfwfq, tells of a strange crew who jump between Earth and moon, and sometimes hover in the nether reaches of gravity between the two.
Finally, we have a reading from David Eagleman’s book Sum. It’s a vision of the after life that’s both playful and… horrifying. Sum is read by actor Jeffrey Tambor.