Novella Review (Italian SF in translation): “Cancerqueen” (1950), Tommaso Landolfi

DkVqsjsUwAEDHqm[1].jpg(Colin Hay’s cover for the 1984 Italian edition of Cancerqueen (1950), Tommaso Landolfi)

4.75/5 (Near Masterpiece)

The fiction of Tommaso Landolfi—an Italian author, translator, and critic—dabbled at speculative edges. Those far more knowledgeable about Italian SF consider Landolfi’s novella “Cancerqueen” (1950), translated in 1971 by Raymond Rosenthal, an important work in the history of Italian SF as it resonated with later “New Wave sensibilities” and “went against the realist grain of Italian high culture” (Salvatore Proietti, “The Field of Italian Science Fiction,” Science Fiction Studies, July 2015).

Redolent with gothic overtones, “Cancerqueen” tells the transfixing tale of a possibly insane narrator (N) relating his voyage into space, and into the womb of a manipulative spaceship. Writing as an act of self-delusion—“perhaps I should pretend I have a reader, I shall be less alone, and that is enough” (50)—N relates how, in a disconsolate state of mind, he agreed to an outrageous proposition put forth by Filano, an escapee from a nearby asylum.  The proposition: Deep in the mountains Filano has a spaceship named Cancerqueen and he wants to take N to the moon! For N, “she was my liberator, whose wings (wholly metaphorical) would transport me (not metaphorically) beyond my  disagreeable Continue reading

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The Recumbent Figures and Constructing Cities of Alberto Cavallari

(Alberto Cavallari’s cover for 1972 edition (Galassia 178) of the anthology The Dark of the Soul (1970), ed. Don Ward)

As my 60s/70s Italian SF art explorations continue on both my site (here and here) and on twitter (@SFRuminations), I’ve come to the conclusion that Italy’s SF easily ranks among the most appealing (at least to me) graphic explorations of the dynamic genre. For most fans of SF art, one name will immediately spring to mind (in part because he created a few covers for American editions)—the masterful Karel Thole. However, I am increasingly impressed by less known Italian artists brought in for shorter periods of time by the Italian press Galassia. This post will focus on one of those figures—Alberto Continue reading