Goodbye, Arthur, and thanks for those magic moments

lo scrittore di fantascienza Arthur C. ClarkeBBC on-line is one of the many Web sites announcing, today, the depart of Arthur C. Clarke, one of the greatest SciFi writers ever lived on Planet Earth. Those of you who, like me, got lost in the worlds and scenarios depicted and summoned into our mind and heart by novels like Childhood’s End, Earthlight or The Songs of Distant Earth will never forget the precious gift of such a great novelist. Arthur C. Clarke inspired Kubrik’s unforgettable 2001: A Space Odissey with his short novel The Sentinel, too, and the following episodes in writing and on screen. I would like to say my personal goodbye to a man who filled our brains and souls with such beautiful stories, bringing our hearts in a magical flight far into the realm of fantasy and helping us grow up with a broader vision and enriched creativity. Thanks, Arthur, we won’t forget what you’ve done for SciFi and for us readers.
I would also like to send a public message to Mr Ray Bradbury, one of my all-time favourite SciFi writer, to beg his pardon for the journalists who’ve written, in their articles about Clarke’s depart, “the last great old man of SciFi dies“. Even a popular SciFi Italian portal seems to indulge in the same error, together with other sites and blogs. Yes, Ray himself has described himself as a non-SciFi writer, and the legendary Martial Chronicles themselves as Fantasy, not Science Fiction. Nonetheless, who would say that many his works are not pillars of this literary genre? It would be like affirming that Matheson or Heinlein or Herber are not SciFi writers as their novels delve deep into the Horror genre.
Ray, please forgive these ‘journalists’, and please stay well and live long, maybe I will have a chance to meet you and thank you personally for the great works of genius and wit you’ve brought into our lives since we were kids if you come to visit us together with your great friend Ray Harryhausen here at the places where his great Jason and The Argonauts was filmed, Palinuro. After all, we have great expectations and good hopes about your longevity, since Mr Electro said ‘Live for ever!’ touching you with his magicl sword icon smile Goodbye, Arthur, and thanks for those magic moments
P.P.S. You can read Clarke’s last interview on IEEE Spectrum and also listen to the related podcast

Italian Analog Divide

Il digital divide e il progressoThis is the first in a series of translated posts from the previous entries in my blog. They will be seleceted for the topics that may prove of major interest to a wider audience, thus translated into English. Well, let’s start.

There a lot of debate about ‘digital divide’, but the reasons for which so many people live at the fringe of society in Italy are of a deeper ‘analog’ nature.
Italy is, still today, a rural Country, let’s admit it, with all the technological disadvantages deriving from it. People living in cities and principal towns aren’t aware of the frightening size of ‘human mass’ spread into smaller built-up areas where everybody suffers for a shortage of jobs, technology, prospects… it’s true, the big cities’ stress and pollution are also missing in those places, but their inhabitants suffer for a different kind of stress factors. For example, the miles (sometimes several dozens) they must travel to reach public offices and obtain documents made necessary by the abnormal Italian bureaucracy or the miles needed to attend a higher school, the weak (or even missing) signal for mobile phones or television (satellite dishes are a must), or the absence of broadband Internet connections or even difficulties in obtaining a simple phone line at home.
Statistics are very clear: on a totalof 8.101 Italian municipalities there are over 6.000 of them counting less than 5.000 ‘citizens’, while 3.644 of them host about 2.000 ‘souls’ (we’re talking about almost half of Italian municipalities!). But there’s more, because these few thousands of citizens don’t even really exist: yes, it’s true, and it’s because nobody’s taking the trouble of counting the citizens really residing in those municipalities where they ‘officially’ live (for a reason or another). If you don’t know about these ‘rural’ (a very suitable definition, in this case) Italian communities there’s a solid chance you’re asking where are the ‘missing citizens’ resulting in the official counting. Leggi tutto “Italian Analog Divide”