East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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Wan ghosts of Baker Street

sherlock-holmes-greg-joensThe man living at 221B, Baker Street, keeps haunting my life.
I was talking to a friend, a few nights ago, and found out he never read the Holmes stories, nor watched to movies. This was a hard blow for my conviction that Holmes is one of the most immediately recognizable characters on the planet.
But two things soon emerged.
My friend had indeed watched the Robert Downey Jr movies, and he knew of the character, in a very nebulous way (and I guess the Robert Downey Jr movies did not help).
What caused my friend to steer clear of the Canon was his inability to get Holmes’ motivation.
Why the heck is this guy solving crimes anyway? Continue reading

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Rather weird

61-DVAP4xlL._SY445_QL70_I have just finished a fun novel called Rotherweird, written by a gentleman called Andrew Caldecott.
First in a trilogy, I got me the ebook in one of my recent sprees, while stacking up for the winter.
I was curious, and I was lucky – the novel is a blast.

The blurbs compare it to Harry Potter, which is obvious (it’s a story set in England but not in London, and it features magic and a school, so it obviously compares to HP) and absolutely misleading.
Rotherweird is fun, fast and built on such a complex bundle of weirdness that poor Harry would get a terrible headache out of it. Continue reading

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Hope & Glory – Talk Like a Pirate!

Ahoy, mateys!
Today it’s Talk Like a Pirate Day, but I’d rather talk about pirates and other assorted ship-based scoundrels and adventurers.
And because I am still promoting like hell my game Hope & Glory, why not give a look at piracy in the skies.251845
After all, Hope & Glory is a game that features airships.
And indeed, the scenario The Man that would be Quinn includes piracy in the sky lanes, the piracy in question being loosely based on South Cina Sea piracy.
And Emilio Salgari.
We’ve been there already, and you know the Tigers of Mompracem did have an influence on my game.

But really, let’s talk about pirates and adventurers, and Hope & Glory. Continue reading

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The Hound of ’59

vMy friend Lucy published today a nice lengthy piece about the 1939 adaptation of The Hound of the Baskervilles, featuring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce.
You can find the post here, and read it through the usual Google Translate thingy. It’s excellent, and it raises an interesting question, by noting that The Hound of the Baskervilles is treated as a proper Gothic story, an old dark house film.
This got me thinking about the connection between the Canon and the Horror genre, and so while clouds gathered and the storm approached, heralded by thunder and lightning, I brew myself a cup of hot tea, and I took a look at the other Hound, the one that was unleashed on the moors, in the full shocking splendor of Technicolor, by Terence Fisher, with the assistance of the fine gentlemen of Hammer Films.
The first Holmes movie in color.
Another Gothic adaptation, featuring Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee.
It was, if you recall, the year 1959. Continue reading

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Hope & Glory – the criminal mind

Here is where a few topics we discussed in the last few weeks collide and then we download a free ebook.

6778502A reader of mine (thank you!!) just sent me a book – a wonderful copy of The Sherlock Holmes Handbook, by Ransom Riggs.
The volume is a beautiful compact hardbound book, sturdy and very “Victorian looking”, and it covers the whole of the Holmesian lore concerning the Great Detective’s methods, tools and practices.
I am reading it very slowly to make it last, but it’s a perfect complement for a Sherlockian shelf, and it’s also the sort of handy reference one might need to check when writing.
Beautiful, and (hopefully) not too expensive.
I’ll do a full review as soon as I’m finished, but right now on my first impression, I feel like recommending it.
It might also be a good tool for roleplayer playing Victoria settings.
Just saying.

But there is another handbook I’ve been browsing that is worth mentioning.
I used it marginally as part of my research for Hope & Glory, at the very beginning – and maybe because of this I think it is not listed in the suggested reading list in the handbook.  Continue reading