January 2019

Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky

The novel “Children of Time” by Adrian Tchaikovsky was published for the first time in 2015. It won the Arthur C. Clarke Award.

The starship Gilgamesh carries a group of human beings fleeing the dying Earth, perhaps the last survivors of humanity. In their long journey among the stars looking for a new home, they head for a planet that, according to their information, was terraformed but when they get near it they are warned that they’re not welcome not to stop if they don’t want to face the consequences.

A scientific experiment was aimed at modifying the DNA of a group of monkeys to increase their intelligence but the plans are upset and the nanovirus released on the planet ends up modifying the DNA of various species of arthropods. Over the course of centuries, a species of spider emerges as the most intelligent and starts developing a civilization while influencing its surrounding environment.

Edgar Allan Poe in 1848

Edgar Poe, this was his birth name, was born on January 19, 1809 in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Edgar Allan Poe’s life was complex since he was very young since his father abandoned his family in 1810 and his mother died of tuberculosis in 1811. Little Edgar was entrusted to the merchant John Allan, hence the change of his name. His new family was wealthy and had him study in Great Britain.

Initially, Edgar Allan Poe’s works were partially successful because some were successful but others received a lot of criticism. Stories that today we would call detective fiction such as “The Gold-Bug” (1843) gave him more fame in the short term than his horror stories. For the author luck was evanescent and his personal situation got worse when, in 1842, his wife Virginia started manifesting serious symptoms of tuberculosis, which got worse until her death, which occurred in 1847.

For years Edgar Allan Poe had problems with alcoholism and the last years of his life were particularly tough. His death seemed one of his stories because on October 3, 1849 he was found in delirium in Baltimore and was taken to a hospital, where he died on October 7. The exact cause of his death is still the subject of discussions.

Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount) and Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) in Brother (Image courtesy CBS / Netflix. All rights reserved)

“Brother” is the 1st episode of the 2nd season of the TV show “Star Trek: Discovery”, which starts again after “Will You Take My Hand?”.

The USS Discovery reaches the USS Enterprise, which suffered severe system failures, and commander Saru (Doug Jones) offers his help. Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount) gets on board the Discovery and announces that his orders are to take command to investigate a series of powerful cosmic signals. Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) tries to meet Spock.

The short story “The Night Train” by Lavie Tidhar was published for the first time in 2010.

Mulan Rouge – but that’s only an old stage name that got stuck to her – is a former mercenary and now bodyguard of the Old Man, also known as Boss Gui, the head and bigfalla bos of the Kunming Toads. The Old Man has to leave for a train journey and Mulan must check that no other passenger is a danger to him. Being the Old Man’s bodyguard is a dangerous job but for Mulan there’s not only the risk in her life and she thinks of Darwin’s Choice, an Other she had a relationship with.

Saturn Run by John Sandford and Ctein (Italian edition)

The novel “Saturn Run” by John Sandford and Ctein was published for the first time in 2015.

At Caltech everyone has little consideration for Sandy because they think he was hired only because his family is very rich but when he’s the one who realizes that in astronomical observations an object that is approaching Saturn and is slowing down has appeared, he ends up involved in the investigation on it. There’s no doubt that this is an artificial object and the American authorities want to send a mission hoping to contact anyone who’s traveling on that starship and at the same time to keep their discovery secret.

China has been organizing for years a manned mission to Mars but the Chinese also end up discovering the presence of an alien starship in the solar system. The Chinese plans get changed in a hurry to send their mission to Saturn with the goal of arriving there before the Americans. Between the two nations a new phase of their rivalry begins and the prize for the winner could consist in obtaining from the aliens technologies that are much more advanced than those developed by humans.