Science Fiction

John Herbert Varley was born on August 9, 1947 in Austin, Texas, USA. In the mid-1970s, John Varley started publishing science fiction stories and among them there were the first of the Eight Worlds series, a future history of the solar system marked by the invasion of Earth by an alien species. These invaders intend to protect the Earth’s cetaceans from the effects of human activities and for this reason destroy the infrastructures built on Earth. Most humans flee to colonize the rest of the solar system and only a few tribes remain on Earth living as primitives.

In the late 1970s, John Varley also began the Gaea trilogy, composed of “Titan” (1979), “Wizard” (1980) and “Demon” (1984). The story is focused on a gigantic wheel-shaped artificial habitat populated by strange living species created by an alien intelligence. In this series, the author used various elements of the fantasy genre but all have a scientific explanation.

Often John Varley has been compared to Robert A. Heinlein for the themes of many of his stories such as personal freedom and sexuality. The resemblances are particularly visible in novels such as “The Steel Beach” and the Thunder and Lightning series, inspired by Heinlein’s juveniles.

Lest Darkness Fall by L. Sprague de Camp (Italian edition)

The novel “Lest Darkness Fall” by L. Sprague de Camp was published for the first time in 1941.

Martin Padway is an American archeologist visiting Rome. One day in 1938 he’s visiting the Pantheon when a strong storm starts and is almost hit by a lightning strike. Stunned, he slowly becomes aware that the people around him are strangely dressed and speak in an almost incomprehensible manner in a language other than Italian.

Recovered from dizziness, Martin Padway tries to figure out what happened and, asking for the date in the Latin spoken by the people he meets, finds out he’s in Rome in 535 A.D. during the reign of King Thiudahad. He has no way of returning to his time so he has to try to survive by exploiting his modern knowledge with the awareness that Italy is about to be invaded by Emperor Justinian’s army.

Kiteworld by Keith Roberts (Italian edition)

The novel “Kiteworld” by Keith Roberts was published for the first time in 1985 by fixing-up some stories published previously.

The Badlands are watched by the Corps of the Observers, who uses Kites to address the possible dangers that might threaten the Realm. There are many legends about who or what lives in the Badlands and it’s difficult to understand what’s true about them. Airships patrol those areas but encounters with their inhabitants are rare.

According to the Church Variant, the Badlands are inhabited by demons and not conforming to the will of the priests constitutes a sin. The relationships between Kite Pilots and the Church Variant are not always easy and there are religious fundamentalist factions that make the situation more complicated.

In 1982, Keith Roberts published the short story “Kitemaster”, which won the British Science Fiction Award as the best short story of the year. It introduced Kiteworld and in subsequent years the author added other stories that he then fixed-up to form the novel “Kiteworld”.

Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2015

Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger was born on July 30, 1947 in Thal, Austria. Driven by his father, Arnold Schwarzenegger started practicing various sports since his childhood and when he was 14 years old he started practicing bodybuilding but also powerlifting. After a few years he started winning titles in the field of bodybuilding up to the first of seven titles of Mr. Olympia in 1970.

After some roles in movie productions and in some TV shows, Arnold Schwarzenegger gained great success as the protagonist of the 1982 film “Conan the Barbarian”. The film had a sequel in 1984, “Conan the Destroyer”. The great success was repeated again in 1984 playing the cyborg in the movie “Terminator” after director James Cameron initially cast him to interpret Kyle Reese. Despite the limited budget, success resulted in the creation of a franchise with various sequels and a TV show.

In 2003 Arnold Schwarzenegger temporarily withdrew from the scenes when he won the California election becoming the state governor. Arnold Schwarzenegger changed the world of bodybuilding and with some iconic roles has become a big movie star. He has some movie projects under development, including reprising the role as Conan that has contributed so much to his fame.

Richard Dean Anderson in 2004

On July 27, 1997 the TV show “Stargate SG-1” made its debut.

In 1994, the movie “Stargate” was released, which was a box office success and also received some awards such as the Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film but also received negative reviews. Personally, when I heard about it, I saw it as a variant of the story of the classic “Doctor Who” serial “Pyramids of Mars” and after watching it my impression was pretty negative.

Producer Dean Devlin and director Roland Emmerich initially conceived a trilogy but at the time nothing more was produced. The rights were given to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which decided to carry out the project differently by creating a TV show. Brad Wright and Jonathan Glassner proposed different ideas and were commissioned to work together at the project that became “Stargate SG-1”.

The TV show begins a year after the events of the movie making it its direct continuation. Some of the protagonists are the same (though in the movie O’Neill has only one “l” in his surname) but played by different actors and in my opinion a positive element of the first episodes is a definite improvement in their characterization over the movie.