Italian SF

This page focuses on the many award-winning works of contemporary Italian speculative fiction that need to be translated and published in English. Translators, publishers, editors: you know what to do!

(Synopsis translations are my own, unless otherwise noted)


 

Cuori strappati (Torn Hearts) by Glauco De Bona (Mondadori, 2014)

Winner of the Urania Award, 2013

“An man armed with scalpels is on the streets of Ambrosia, looking for the homes of patients who hope to never meet him, or at least not today. He is a surgeon who disappears after each operation, but he’ll return soon because he has an even more ambitious project in the works. Few know that the patients (even the most frightened) are actually “casualties,” or that a disturbing theory about the end of time has to do with the exploits of a criminal; and yet, after the umpteenth “torn heart,” someone has come to seek the truth. A woman starts to investigate, even though the experiment seems to have come to an end, and she’s so close to the time of the Worthy Hour….”

 

 L’uomo a un grado Kelvin (The Man at One Kelvin Degree) by Piero Schiavo Campo (Arnoldo Mondadori Editore, 2013)

Winner of the Urania Award, 2012

“Milan, 2061. CEPS, the leading European research institute, holds a public experiment of quantum teleportation. The demonstration fails, and the frozen body of professor Jan De Ruiter, Director of CEPS, is found inside one of the quantum machines. The case is assigned to European Police Detective Dick Watson. After various predicaments, Watson discovers that strategically important scientific information is being smuggled out of CEPS to a mysterious Chinese mob boss. Evidence suggests that one of CEPS’ scientists is using a quantum computer to personal ends. All Watson knows about his adversary is his online avatar: a faceless monk who signs himself Behemoth. In order to solve the case, Watson is forced to seek the support of John Silver, a doyen among computer hackers worldwide.”- Sarah Jane Webb

 

Stella Cadente (Shooting Star) by Alberto Costantini (Mondadori, 2006)

Winner of the Urania Award, 2005

“Ever since the Middle Ages, a dark menace has lain in the swamp. According to the rumors, ‘something’ has fallen from the sky into the black waters. The task of shedding light on the mystery is entrusted to four men. In the face of an inexplicable fact, it is always possible to deny the evidence or take refuge in superstition, but to fight back against that which comes from an unimaginable “other space” requires cleverness and courage. Thus, while the truth unsettles their most basic convictions, the four men don’t give up, and the fight between the Visitor and the visited begins…A duel seven-centuries long to seize an old secret and a last, desperate weapon.”

 

Il corpo e il sangue di Eymerich (The Body and Blood of Eymerich) by Valerio Evangelisti (Mondadori, 1996)

Winner of the Urania Award, 1993

“Nicholas Eymerich, the chilling character invented by Valerio Evangelisti, returns in this new novel charged with unprecedented wickedness and terror. As an inquisitor, a necromancer, ambiguous and believable as few anti-heroes of fantasy, he’s also liked by readers because he is a tormented soul. Eternally suspended between different and conflicting historical epochs, masterfully summoned by the special talent of the Evangelists, he will also have to use his deadly arts this time to follow through on his plans…”


Nes
sun uomo è mio fratello (No Man is My Brother) by Clelia Farris (Delos, 2009)

Winner of Il Premio Letterario Odissea, 2009

“In a futuristic Indonesia, where progress remains far off, a young resettler named Enki Tath Minh must face the imbalances that govern a society made up of Executioners and Victims. Everyone at the age of twelve comes to know whether they belong to one or the other category through a sign that is manifested on the body. A sign that, from that moment, they keep jealously hidden in an attempt to keep their secret. In fact, every Executioner has a Victim that is predestined for him: homicides cannot be pursued by law. And Enki is a victim. Nevertheless, while fearful of the ghosts of a bloody and painful past, he will struggle to change a society that otherwise has no hope of a better future.”

 

Sezione π² (Section π²) by Giovanni De Matteo (Mondadori, 2007)

Winner of the Urania Award, 2007

” ‘This is a story collected from the dead, in direct contact with the Singularity.’ It’s the middle of the 21st century, technological development has skyrocketed. One thing, though, is certain- the world is on the brink of the abyss. In a familiar Italian metropolis, violence and homicides have reached unimaginable proportions. That’s why there are men like Vincenzo Briganti, a classic hard-boiled detective, and that’s why the most horrible cases are entrusted to him- so he can question the dead. Only victims can reveal the secrets of those who have destroyed them- assuming the Blue-K can do it. But it’s not a game for everyone: to play it, you must be a necromancer with the Special Investigative Section of the π²  Psychic Police.”

 

Il cuore finto di DR (DR’s Fake Heart) by Nicoletta Vallorani (Mondadori, 1993)

Winner of the Urania Award, 1992

“The story takes place in a nightmarish, but still recognizable, Milan, among singing alien plants, foolish “hunters,” an old and disillusioned dreamer, and a deal involving lots of money. This is a work of science fiction that focuses on the feelings and ties that are created between characters, rather than plot twists or special effects.”

 

e-Doll by Francesco Verso (Mondadori, 2009)

Winner of the Urania Award, 2008

“For some time, the sexual habits of humans have been undergoing a momentous change, thanks to creation of e-Dolls: more sophisticated than regular androids, replicants known as “e-Dolls” represent the ultimate answer to unrestrained sexuality for a wise yet decadent humanity. Maya, a restless teenager from Moscow, pretends to be an e-Doll and leads a double life. She is at once a lazy student and a prostitute selling herself to feel loved. Angel, a hermaphroditic e-Doll with an expertise in amateur art, meditates on how to become human. The two protagonists will meet in the “sex-brary” and exchange something that will bring them each closer to self-realization. e-Doll is a work of sci-fi noir that invites us to reflect upon the limits of “human nature.

 

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