August 2020

Ivory: A Legend of Past and Future by Mike Resnick

The novel “Ivory: A Legend of Past and Future” by Mike Resnick was published for the first time in 1988.

Duncan Rojas is an expert on rare historical artifacts who works for a big corporation that publishes guides on the subject. His experience leads him to search for lost artifacts and authenticate the ones that are found, but even by his standards Bukoba Mandaka’s request is out of the ordinary. The man who calls himself the last of the Maasai asks him to find the tusks of the Kilimanjaro Elephant after their traces were lost millennia earlier.

To find that unique trophy, Duncan Rojas starts examining all available interplanetary archives. Gradually, he manages to reconstruct the history of the tusks and at the same time realizes how closely they were connected to the Maasai. Bukoba Mandaka promises to explain to him the reasons why he absolutely wants to get his hands on the tusks only after he finds them.

David Duchovny in 2013

David William Duchovny was born on August 7, 1960 in New York, USA. In 1993, David Duchovny became a big hit when he started playing Special Agent Fox Mulder in the the TV show “The X-Files”. He’s also famous as the protagonist of the TV shows “Californication”, which aired between 2007 and 2014, and “Aquarius”, which aired between 2015 and 2016. Duchovny also worked as executive producer on both shows.

Bacteria sample (Image courtesy JAMSTEC. All rights reserved)

An article published in the journal “Nature Communications” reports the discovery of living colonies of bacteria in sediment layers up to 101.5 million years old in the depths of the Pacific Ocean area called the South Pacific Gyre. A team of researchers led by JAMSTEC’s Dr. Yuki Morono drilled the ocean floor in an area where it’s nearly 6 kilometers deep to collect many sediment samples up to 100 meters below the ocean floor. This is the Pacific area with the lowest productivity and the least amount of nutrients available, yet the researchers found bacteria in the sediments that are millions of years old and managed to bring them back to full metabolic activity.

The Shrinking Man aka The Incredible Shrinking Man by Richard Matheson (Italian edition)

The novel “The Shrinking Man”, later published as “The Incredible Shrinking Man”, by Richard Matheson was published for the first time in 1956.

Scott Carey is enjoying what looks like a normal vacation day on a boat when a strange cloud hits him. Initially, the cloud appears to have had no effect on him, but after a few days Scott realizes that he’s getting smaller, slowly but with no end to it. He undergoes a series of medical tests, but nobody can find a cure for his condition.

When he’s less than two centimeters tall, Scott risks becoming the victim of a spider that becomes his increasingly mortal enemy. His struggle for survival becomes increasingly difficult because of the spider that seems relentless in trying to make him its meal. Even if he defeats it, he has little time left before his height drops to zero.

Sinlhouette of Lusovenator santosi with the available bones

An article published in the “Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology” reports the identification of a carnivorous dinosaur that lived in today’s Portugal between 153 and 145 million years ago, in the Jurassic period. A team of researchers led by Dr. Elisabete Malafaia of the Portuguese University of Lisbon named it Lusovenator santosi and attributed it to the Carcharodontosauria group, part of the larger group of allosaurs, carnivorous dinosaurs that were superpredators in their ecosystems. This species is very ancient within its group and its discovery offers some new information on the first phase of these dinosaurs’ diversification, which is currently poorly known due to the scarcity of fossils.