The thing with science fiction

Tags

, , , , ,

Over the years, and very much by trial and error, my rather difficult relationship with science fiction has come to work essentially like this: I give a very, very wide berth to everything dystopian and pre/post/apocalyptic; I’ll let myself be tempted by some carefully chosen, strictly past-bound time travel* now and then – and that’s it.

Now, please, let’s not go into whether time travel is proper sci-fi or something else or its own genre, shall we? Let us just observe that my last foray, Murray Leinster’s Time Tunnel,** was published and marketed as such in 1964 – and leave it at that. Continue reading

The Clara Box

Tags

, , , , , ,

So they’ve been tidying up the Company’s extensive collection of books, plays and whatnots over the summer – and, as has become the case these past few years, everything and anything that isn’t in Italian has been set aside for me.

And I really mean anything: I once ended up with a book of plays in Serbian. Nobody had an inkling of when, how or, more relevantly, why on earth it had landed in the Company’s library – but, quite regardless, it went in the “Clara” box. That I don’t know a single word of Serbian didn’t seem to matter much. For the record, the book is still somewhere in my shelves – obviously unread but there… Continue reading

History and/or art (and all the rest)

Tags

, , ,

Like most people in Italy, I studied some Art History for three years, back in Grammar School. A couple of hours a week or so, starting on the third year…. and I remember that I’d been looking forward to it – if in a rather hazy way. I didn’t quite know what to expect – but, at fifteen, I had no doubts that a subject with “history” in its name just had to be wonderful.

Still perhaps some little doubt would have been in order… Continue reading

Song for the Rainy Season

Tags

, , ,

It’s raining.

For the first time in forever, it rains. Nothing dramatic: a rather gentle, grey, whispering thing. Most Septemberish – the sort that begs for poetry…

And because I had this very, very hazy memory of blind drops crawling on roofs – with no earthly idea of what it could be from, I made good use of the power of the Net, and discovered Elizabeth Bishop’s Song for the Rainy Season.

Continue reading

You really should write this…

Tags

, , , ,

They come to you, and say that they have a story, a really good story that you should really write.

In time you learn to recognize this, a certain gleam in their eyes from the very first moment someone mentions that you write. Then they sit on it, they observe you, sometimes they ask questions, trying to determine whether you might be the right person… Continue reading

There was an elephant from Cremona…

Tags

, , , ,

And it is World Elephant Day, so… Elephants!

Last year I wrote a post about the general lack of fictional elephants, in which I mentioned the historical but nameless elephant given by the Sultan of Egypt to Emperor Frederick II, and gone down in the chronicles as the Elephant of Cremona… * Continue reading