Literature

The Stone Rose by Jacqueline Rayner

The novel “The Stone Rose” by Jacqueline Rayner was published for the first time in 2006.

Mickey brings the Tenth Doctor, Rose and Jackie to the British Museum after discovering that there’s a Roman statue of the goddess Fortuna dating back to 120 A.D. whose face is absolutely identical to Rose’s. Feeling that it’s not a coincidence, the Doctor brings Rose to the Rome of that time.

When they arrive in Rome, Doctor and Rose quickly become involved in the problems of the family of Gracilis, whose son mysteriously disappeared. That leads them to meet the sculptor Ursus and a strange girl who seems to be able to predict the future for real.

Robert Ludlum was born on May 25, 1927 in New York. Only in 1971 Robert Ludlum made his debut as a writer with the novel “The Scarlatti Inheritance”. It contains some elements that became typical of this author’s spy novels with the presence of a wealthy and powerful group of people trying to manipulate a series of events without hesitating to commit murders to prevent secrets dangerous to them from being disclosed.

After several other successes, in 1980 Robert Ludlum published the novel “A Bourne Identity”, the first about the character of Jason Bourne, a secret agent who loses his memory after being severely wounded. This novel in which the psychological thriller element is very important was adapted into the 1988 TV movie with the same name and in the 2002 movie with the same name. However, apart from the original concept the movie has a plot very different from the novel’s.

Robert Ludlum died on March 12, 2001 for the consequences of wounds suffered in a fire burst in his villa on February 10. The circumstances of that event are worthy of one of his stories, so much that years later Kenneth Kearns, the author’s nephew, openly accused Ludlum’s wife of killing him.

Some novels were posthumously published as written by Robert Ludlum only or in collaboration with other writers. In the following years Eric Van Lustbader resumed the Jason Bourne series and has so far published 10 more novels about the famous secret agent’s adventures.

Robert Ludlum’s novels have been published in 40 countries in 33 languages. Their success is due to the author’s ability to tell international conspiracies with diabolical masterminds and sometimes unexpected heroes because in some cases they’re common people rather than secret agents who have to fight against apparently overwhelming forces. These heroes have to travel, sometimes run, all over the world, sometimes coming to little-known places underlined by local people who speak in even less known languages.

The plots that are developed in Robert Ludlum’s novels have elements over the top for the big conspiracies but sometimes seem even too realistic for the motivations of members of governments, armed forces, and various government agencies interested in controlling their citizens rather than serving them. On these occasions terrorists are also used for shadowy purposes that have nothing to do with the ideologies they are acting on. It’s a mixture of elements that for decades have captured the interest of millions of readers around the world.

The Time Machine, The Island of Doctor Moreau and The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells (Italian edition)

The novel “The Time Machine” by H.G. Wells was published for the first time in 1895. It’s freely available on Project Gutenberg’s website.

The Time Traveller tells his friends that he has built a machine that can travel in time as if it were a space-like dimension. He’s not believed but a few days later he arrives to a dinner at his home with very messy clothes, various wounds and looking very upset.

His friends ask the Time Traveller what happened to him and he starts telling the story of his journey in the year 802,701, made thanks to the machine he invented. At that time so far in the future he met little human beings called the Eloi, who spend their time playing, but also the Morlock, ape-like creatures who live in the underground.

2010: Odyssey Two by Arthur C. Clarke (Italian edition)

The novel “2010: Odyssey Two” by Arthur C. Clarke was published for the first time in 1982. It’s the second book of the Odyssey series in space and the sequel to “2001: A Space Odyssey”.

Nine years have passed since the Discovery spaceship’s disaster and on Earth no one yet knows what really happened. The observations indicate that its orbit has become unstable with the prospect that it might falls to Jupiter. Its destruction would mean losing any hope of finding out what happened to the expedition.

For the USA it’s impossible to set up a rescue mission that could arrive in time while the USSR has already been setting one up for some time. Heywood Floyd and Dr. Chandra, the creator of HAL 9000, leave on the spaceship Leonov to Jupiter, where the Discovery is waiting for them but also the version of the monolith larger than that discovered on the Moon.

Roger Joseph Zelazny was born on May 13, 1937 in Euclid, Ohio, USA. Initially, his career as a writer was part time writing short fiction and only in 1965 a cut version of his novel “.. . And Call Me Conrad ” was published in “The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction”. In 1966 the novel was published as an integral version as a book with the title “This Immortal”. The novel won the Hugo Award.

In 1965 Roger Zelazny also published the novella “He Who Shapes”, winner of the Nebula Award, which was expanded into the novel “The Dream Master” in 1966. In 1967 Roger Zelazny published the novel “Lord of Light”, who won the Hugo Award.

In 1970 Roger Zelazny published the first book of his fantasy cycle of the Chronicles of Amber “Nine Princes in Amber”. The first five books, published in the 1970s, describe the adventures of Prince Corwin of Amber and are for this reason also called the Corwin series.

Roger Zelazny died on June 14, 1995 because of a cancer that also caused him kidney failure. Some works were published posthumously such as “Psycoshop” in 1998, a novel started by Alfred Bester.