CASANOVA’S ICOSAMERON OR THE STORY OF EDWARD AND ELIZABETH WHO SPENT EIGHTY-ONE YEARS IN THE LAND OF THE MEGA-MICRES, ORIGINAL INHABITANTS OF PROTOCOSMOS IN THE INTERIOR OF OUR GLOBE (1788) – Yes, that IS the actual, complete title of this obscure item and yes, it was written by THE Giovanni Giacomo Casanova, the legendary ladies’ man and adventurer.
This work of vintage science fiction begins with a prologue in which Casanova fuses Biblical mythology with his fictional inner-Earth realm Protocosmos. The author pretended that God – on the 6th Day – created the inner world, which was the paradise that Adam and Eve were supposedly banished from. On the 8th day God created the “lesser” surface world of the Earth in Casanova’s cosmology.
In 1615 England a young couple – Elizabeth and Edward – claim to be the long-lost children of a VERY elderly couple named Wilhelmina and James. The young couple were presumed dead in their teens due to a shipwreck 81 years earlier but reveal that they have spent that time in the land of the Mega-Micres, where the aging process is slowed down considerably.
The pair of twenty-somethings prove their identity through that beloved fictional trope of birthmarks and scars, then proceed to tell their tale. When the ship that Elizabeth and Edward were aboard sank at sea the then-children climbed into an empty, water-tight coffin in the cargo hold.
The air-bubble within said coffin kept the pair alive long enough for the coffin to drift away from the submerged ship and happened to cross a “reverse-gravity stream” on the ocean floor. When Elizabeth and Edward emerged from the coffin they were surrounded by 18-inch tall hairless humanoids with skin colored blue or red or green or some combination of those colors.
The beings identified themselves as Mega-Micres and welcomed Liz and Ed to Protocosmos, the world inside of the hollow Earth. In this story the Earth’s core is really just an “inner sun” which provides light and warmth to the Mega-Micres and the various plant and animal life in Protocosmos.
The skin color of each Mega-Micres establishes their caste, with the red-skinned beings the top-most rank. The reds are the only Mega-Micres capable of giving birth, with their children emerging from eggs already sporting their differing skin colors. These creatures are hermaphrodites, and only their red-skinned offspring share the parents’ capacity for laying eggs.
Each of the hermaphroditic Mega-Micres have large breasts which secrete a crimson fluid which is both milk AND an intoxicant for the creatures. The Mega-Micres drink each other’s milk-wine when they marry their mate. The mating is permanent and the couples are so bonded that they even die simultaneously.
The red-skinned couples discharge their eggs orally with each partner “laying” theirs at the same time. Those two hatchlings – who will always share the same skin color – are married as a life-couple when old enough.
The Mega-Micres never need to sleep, they hear through their skin, making their entire bodies auditory organs, and when they eat they ingest the smells as well as the solid forms of the food.
The total population of Protocosmos was around 10 billion, spread around among multiple kingdoms and republics. The shared religion was similar to the Roman Catholicism that Casanova would have been familiar with. The clergy of this religion had a pyramidal rank system, with lesser priests at the bottom, bishops next, then cardinals with one Great Soul at the top as their “pope.”
The god they worshipped was the “sun” at the Earth’s core. There were oracles who produced obscure “prophecies” under the influence of the Mega-Micran milk-wine.
Sacred groves were scattered throughout Protocosmos, and in those groves were trees which bore fruit similar to figs. Those figs were guarded by poisonous serpents and were considered taboo to the Mega-Micres. Casanova implies a link to the story of the Garden of Eden, the serpent and the Forbidden Fruit.
Language-wise the Mega-Micres had 6 vowels and 7 consonontal sounds that corresponded to musical notes.
Horses like those on the surface world were used by these beings while enormous trained birds with four legs flew passengers and freight from place to place in Protocosmos.
Elizabeth and Edward – when they first arrived – were taught the language, history, religion and culture of Protocosmos. They were fed for a time on the breast-milk/wine of their hosts. They were informed that they would eventually be required to earn their own living and fend for themselves.
Liz and Ed proved very resourceful as they reached adulthood, and as they began to revolutionize the economy and society of Protocosmos the Mega-Micres considered them to be the personification of one of the bizarre prophecies that the oracles spouted while intoxicated.
Edward eventually steals some of the forbidden figs in the sacred groves and even invents weapons to kill the poisonous serpents – guns that fire soundlessly and darts that release arsenic poison.
While the years go by the siblings Elizabeth and Edward mate with each other since no other humans are around, an interesting story development if you believe the legend that Casanova himself once had a threesome with one of his former mistresses and the adult daughter he sired with her.
The story gets trippier and trippier since the air breathed in Protocosmos drastically slows down Liz and Ed’s aging. Due to their previous ingesting of the Mega-Micran milk/wine the brother and sister produce two human children per year, one male, one female, with those quick-growing children eventually mating with each other and so on for a few generations.
Trippiness turns to tedium, however, as the siblings’ children and grand-children and great-grand-children ultimately number in the millions. Liz and Ed settle in as a royal couple and eventually transform the political and religious systems of Protocosmos.
SPOILER: In the end a blasting accident during royal construction projects results in Elizabeth and Edward being hurled back to the surface world with no way of returning. From there they sought out their elderly parents and related this tale. The siblings aged rapidly from then on and were dead in about 15 years. ++
FOR TEN MORE EXAMPLES OF ANCIENT SCIENCE FICTION CLICK HERE: https://glitternight.com/2014/03/03/ten-neglected-examples-of-ancient-science-fiction/
FOR WASHINGTON IRVING’S 1809 depiction of an invasion from the moon click here: https://glitternight.com/2014/05/05/ancient-science-fiction-the-men-of-the-moon-1809-by-washington-irving/
© Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.