Primo Levi and Science fiction

Primo Levi, an internationally recognized Piedmontese writer, wrote many science fiction stories, a genre of which he was an admirer and a regular user.

The MUFANT hosts a permanent section dedicated to Primo Levi’s science fiction stories.

Primo Levi, unlike other Italian writers of his generation, did not have class prejudices and did not hesitate to define himself as a “science fiction writer“. In his stories Levi describes ecological catastrophes (Ottima è l’acqua/Excellent is Water), anticipation of intelligent machines (A fin di bene/For Good Purpose, Il versificatore/The Versifier), he tells stories about robots and androids (I sintetici/The Synthetics, Il servo/The Servant), relationships with other life forms (Visto di lontano/Seen from Afar, L’intervista/The interview), post-human representations (Protezione/Protection, Lumini rossi/Small Red Lights).

Levi always wanted to reaffirm that science fiction was an essential component of his identity as a writer, so he used to exploit the image of the centaur, which perfectly describes his two cultures: the humanistic-literary and the technical-scientific ones.

Science fiction reader from his youth, he loved the classics of the genre such as H.G. Wells, Aldous Huxley, Ray Bradbury. In his personal anthology – La ricerca delle radici / The Search for Roots (1981) – a prominent place belonged to the forerunner J. Swift and the 20th century’s writers A. Clarke and Fredric Brown.

Primo Levi’s relationship with science fiction is at the center of an important interview he gave to the Rai channel in 1971 on the occasion of the broadcasting of a TV adaptation of his short story Il Versificatore / The Versifier.

The exhibition presents the author’s contribution to the science fiction genre, highlighting the minimum common denominator with the 20th century’s popular science fiction, including comics, pulp magazines, cinema, and TV series.