2 Things May Not Make a Post, but They’re What I’ve Got

1. My daughter graduated from high school on Friday and immediately robbed her first bank, so I figure my work there is done. Later we took her out for a celebratory supper at perhaps the best teppanyaki place in or around the Great Black Swamp. (In my ignorance I would have called it a hibachi grill, but apparently that’s not what those-who-know call it.)

Urania-IlVagabondoDelloSpazio-Brown2. I watched Divorzio all’ Italiana last night, for maybe the third or fourth time. Some great moments in there, though as comedies go it’s pretty dark. One thing that struck me this time was a book the wife in the story, Rosalie, was reading (or pretending to read) as her oily, treacherous husband slipped back into bed with her. It was an issue of Urania, the venerable Italian magazine of fantascienza. The lead story on the cover was Il Vagabondo dello Spazio. It looks like this was Urania 170; the cover story was a translation of Fredric Brown’s Rogue in Space; the second story was “Le acque di Saturno” by Asimov–no doubt a translation of “The Martian Way.”

I don’t know why I think it’s hilarious that 1960-vintage Sicilian aristocrats living in 17th century mansions should be reading science fiction novels in bed, as recreation from their long days and nights of sneaking around on each other. I’m sure Brown and Asimov approved, if they knew: they both liked crime stories (which this is). But I think the director meant it to be incongruous, a clashing of worlds. The hero/villain worms his way toward the happy ending of his choice, using all the traditional rules he knows. But his happiness is doomed because he’s already living in the future; he just doesn’t know it yet.

Because Everything is Better with Latin™ I feel compelled to mention that the name of this screwed-up family is Cefalu, a pretty clear reference to the equally screwed-up marriage of Cephalus and Procris. And their story forms a subplot of Cavalli’s opera Gli Amori d’Apollo e di Dafne. And I find that Divorzio all’ Italiana has since been made into an opera itself. So there you go. Everything is connected, except my train of thought.

About JE

James Enge is the author of the World-Fantasy-Award-nominated novel Blood of Ambrose (Pyr, April 2009). His latest book is The Wide World's End. His short fiction has appeared in Swords and Dark Magic (Harper Collins, 2010), Black Gate, the Stabby-Award-winning anthology Blackguards and elsewhere.
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