September 2017

An article published in the journal “Nature” describes a research on the human Microbiome, the whole group of microorganisms that live in the human body, sometimes in symbiosis with it but sometimes as parasites. A team of researchers from various American institutions analyzed a lot of microbes discovering millions of genes so far unknown. This will allow to take a leap forward in understanding their role in human’s health and in diseases.

Stephen King in 2007

Stephen Edwin King was born on September 21, 1947 in Portland, Maine, USA.

In 1974 Stephen King published his first novel, “Carrie”, which had little success with only 13,000 copies sold in its hardback edition but then surpassed the million copies sold in the first year in its paperback edition. The novel was adapted for cinema for the first time in 1976, followed by a king of sequel in 1999 and two further adaptations, one in 2002 and one in 2013.

On June 19, 1999, Stephen King was seriously injured after being hit by a minivan. The writer was forced to limit his activity for some time but over the years he still managed to publish various novels, including “Blaze” written in the 1970s but remained unpublished for a long time, which was published under the pen name Richard Bachman in 2007.

In recent years, Stephen King has resumed writing steadfastly, for example the Mr. Mercedes trilogy. In the first phase of his career he was snubbed but over time even critics got convinced by Stephen King’s works’ literary value so today he’s considered much more than the king of horror but simply a great writer.

The Hi-SEAS V mission crew (Photo courtesy Hi-SEAS)

Sunday, September 17, 2017 the Hi-SEAS (Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation) V mission ended. It’s a simulation of a Mars mission conducted on the slopes of the volcano Mauna Loa. Six people spent 8 months in conditions similar to those the astronauts would face on Mars with a dome-shaped habitat as their home.

Tanith Lee in 2011

Tanith Lee was born on September 19, 1947 in London, England.

Tanith Lee’s debut as a writer took place in 1968 with a very short story, of only 90 words, published in an anthology. For some years she wrote in her free time because her novels were regularly rejected by publishers. The first novel she managed to publish was “The Dragon Hoard” in 1971, a work for children. Only in 1975 she was able to publish “The Birthgrave”, the first book of the series of the same name, which gave her fame.

For years, Tanith Lee was a prolific writer, occasionally working as a screenwriter when she wrote two episodes of the TV show “Blake’s 7”. Over time, however, her ability to write for many hours a day and even night declined and was forced to progressively limit her activity.

Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi

The novel “Fuzzy Nation” by John Scalzi was published for the first time in 2011.

Jack Holloway is a sunstone prospector on the planet Zaratustra XXIII, Zara XXIII for simplicity, on behalf of the Zaratustra Corporation, ZaraCorp for simplicity. During his work, he discovers a trove of sunstone of really great value that could even give him more than he thought because of a legal loophole deriving from his complex relationships with ZaraCorp.

Shortly after, Jack Holloway stumbles into small creatures he decides to call Fuzzies and shows them to his ex-girlfriend Isabel, a biologist who works for ZaraCorp. The two of them start suspecting that the Fuzzies are intelligent creatures, an event that can dramatically change the status of the planet. ZaraCorp has a charter based on the fact that it’s not inhabited by sentient creatures, if the Fuzzies’ level of intelligence was established, the company would lose part of the control of the planet’s resources.