TODAY is an important day for Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst, composer John Adams, jazzman Henry Threadgill — and that’s just the musicians. Throw in Susan B. Anthony and Galileo, and I think it’s about as good a day as there is, especially lodged as it is in the middle of the dreary month of February. (And I insist I am totally unbiased on the matter despite my Feb. 15 birthday.)
Galileo was one of my idols as a kid, coming before even, I think, John Lennon and Kurt Vonnegut. I responded not only the man’s polymath genius, but his courage and resistance to the Catholic Church, which persecuted him until the very end despite his continued piety; he was an important early shaper of my religious beliefs. And just a hair over 400 years ago, Galileo discovered the moons of Jupiter.
One way I’m marking the day is to post my interview with Kim Stanley Robinson, whose Galileo’s Dream, a historical novel of the future, you might say, has just come out. HERE is that piece. Robinson, of course, is the environmentalist and Central California science-fiction writer with much fine work to his credit; his Mars trilogy is considered the best example of world-building since Dune.
In any case I will hoist a glass of Cava tonight to the great Florentine and the others.