14 June 2014

Leonardo Cerebelli: Gadfly scientist and man about town

In preparation for an upcoming release of a deluxe omnibus edition of The Magnetron Chronicles, I've finally gotten round to finishing the biographical sketch of the redoubtable Leonardo Cerebelli....

Although no official written documents remain, credible accounts indicate that Leonardo Cerebelli was born in 1830 in New York’s Flatbush community to grocers Enzo and Aurora Cerebelli.  Nevertheless, Cerebelli was dogged for much of his life by rumors he was truly the son of notorious Cosa Nostra mafioso Nunzo “Il Capo” Tosto, fearsome patron of a post-feudal Sicilian cosca, or crime family.  Il Capo had reputedly sired dozens of illegitimate children and sent them abroad to appease his domineering spouse.  Anecdotal evidence suggests that Leonardo was spirited out of Sicily as an infant, hidden in a shipment of castelvetrano olives bound for New York.

Clever and industrious, young Leonardo excelled in his schoolwork but chafed at his duties in the family business.  This fractious state of affairs was typified by one of Leonardo’s earliest experiments, an inquiry into chaos theory in which the eight-year-old prodigy dropped hundreds of fragile inventory items to the floor and took detailed notes.  His father was horrified, as was his instructor, who labelled Leonardo’s pioneering work “unadulterated rubbish.”  Leonardo’s wry humor began to emerge as he coined derogatory Latin nicknames for regular customers, until his sly linguistic indiscretions were detected by one of his father’s business associates, after which time Leonardo took up Ancient Greek.

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