“If only I could manage to bring to this blog a bit of that brisk air that filled the sails of Agonews!” These were my words, written at the end of April 2010, on the occasion of the birth of Il Tredicesimo Cavaliere 1.0. The debut was quite difficult, but marked by the encounter with Paul Gilster, editor of Centauri Dreams and our true spiritual father. Paul’s motto is: “Imagining and Planning Interstellar Exploration”. Concise but complete, beautifully it defines the strategic goal: the space exploration, NOT its conquest. “Planning” is basically a wish: “Let’s try, maybe we can make it.” And finally “Imagining,” that is – to imagine, to create with your imagination, therefore SF: cinema, literature, games, and much more because it is now given for granted that SF is not only an art form useful to express the talent of a growing number of researchers, but it also has an important function in the early stages of the creative process, which the Anglo-Saxons call with a single, magnificent word: brainstorming. We are in total agreement, here.
But if Paul gives us the strategy, tactics is our business, so this is how, bit by bit, we put together an editorial team. To join me come, in order of appearance: Gianfranco de Turris, Massimo Mongai, Simonetta Ercoli, Luca di Bitonto, and Fausto Mescolini. Gianfranco and Massimo, true professionals, take care of SF and Futurology, the “philosophical” and social section of the blog (with some non-invasive slip-over to Fantasy), while others cooperate to the one that relates to dissemination and scientific information, directed to the majority of our readers – typically amateur astronomers and space-enthusiasts. And here we need to mention the name of our ally in the UK: Steph P. Bianchini, blogger Earthian Hivenmind who inspired, among other things, the successful series about extra-solar planets.
And many others, who gave sporadic but significant contributions. I can’t acknowledge them all, but I want to thank a few: Gianvittorio Fedele in the first place, and with him Valentina Bozzolan, Beatrice Parisi, Sergio Valzania, Christian Weidemann, Andrea “Liga” Ligabue, Alberto Panicucci, Fabrizio Bernardini, Lalla Merlo, Stephen Ashworth, and of course Connie Radar ! A warm thank you goes to our principal sources: Centauri Dreams, The Space Review, The Planetary Society and The British Interplanetary Society, from which we draw daily news and materials to be translated. Finally, Donatella Levi, my personal guardian angel, which works for the blog as an expert copy-editor and translator. And, of course, Tommaso Grenga, young software engineer, who, with his infinite patience and multiple skill, has made possible the transition to version 2.0 of our blog. It is also thanks to their contribution that we can daily define the tactical profile of Il Tredicesimo Cavaliere and his route on the uncertain border between Science and Science-Fiction.
“You were not made to live like beasts, but to follow virtue and knowledge” says Ulysses to overcome the resistance of his companions and to venture beyond the Pillars of Hercules, in the vast unknown ocean. This will be our new motto. Appropriate, isn’t it?
Roberto Flaibani and the editorial team of Il Tredicesimo Cavaliere
(translation from Italian by Stephen P. Bianchini)