Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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Two weeks into my (first?) crowdfunding

I mentioned a while back that I was starting a crowdfunding for a story I’d be writing – the idea came from a few friends, and it sounded like an interesting experiment.
Two weeks have gone by as I write this,since the beginning of this experiment, and I thought some of you might be interested in a quick overview.

I’m currently 8000 words into a story tentatively called Santi & Fattucchiere – that is, Saints & Witches.
A thriller with some occult elements.
My friends offered as a story seed the idea of writing something set here in Astigianistan, and just as I was digesting the idea, something happened that offered me a story idea on a silver platter: somebody stole the holy relic of St. John Bosco from the church in which it was kept, a few kms from where I live.
The holy relic being the saint’s brain.

Sort of gives you ideas, right?
It certainly did give me ideas.
Continue reading


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A Waiting Game – the wait is over

And so it’s out, my friend Shanmei’s A Waiting Game, which I translated in the past weeks.
If you like mysteries and the east and the early 20th century, this might be your cup of tea.
The story is very loosely based on a real character, but the story is entirely fictional – a small mystery, with a touch of espionage.
Hopefully, more is to come, with Shanmei already working on a new story, and plotting a full-blown novel.

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In the meantime, A Waiting Game goes for one buck and a half, and it reads like a breeze.
Check it out.


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Rubbing ideas together to get a spark

And the question is, can I write a science fiction story, in Italian, in 48 hours, considering my publisher asked for it?
It’s always a good idea to keep our publishers happy.
And from a strictly mechanical point of view, yes I can – 6000 words in two days, first draft, in Italian, is not a special feat.
The problem is, with science fiction one has to be careful.
SF needs idea, and needs precision, and research.

The obvious way out: work on some stuff I have already researched.

  • Mars, but I did that to death.
  • Titan and Mimas (the moons of Daturn)
  • Sterling engines.
  • Artificial tornadoes used as energy source.

Yes, I do research some weird stuff, in my spare time.

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Mimas crossing Saturn

This is a good opportunity to finally write that story I mentioned I wanted to write.
Now I need a main character, a voice, and a story.
And then fire Scrivener up and pour my brains on the page.

It’s gonna be a wild two-days.


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Other People’s Pulps: Lassiter (1984)

51QCMFGb+bLThere’s a movie I’ve been planning to¬†cover on this blog for a while now, and finally two days back I mentioned it on Derrick Ferguson’s blog post I shared.
The movie is called Lassiter, and it’s from 1984, a time when Hollywood (or thereabouts) rediscovered the old pulp genre. Blame it on Indiana Jones.

 

A straightforward caper movie with an espionage twist, Lassiter is set in London, 1939.
American cat burglar/cracksman Nick Lassiter (Tom Selleck) is blackmailed by the Yard and the FBI into burglarizing the German embassy, in order to retrieve 10 millions in uncut diamonds.
Add t the mix Lassiter’s ballerina girlfriend (Jane Seymour), a seductive and debauched Nazi femme fatale (Lauren Hutton), and a Scotland Yard inspector (Bob Hoskins) hell bent on seeing Lassiter in the can no matter what, and the whole set-up suddenly gets very complicated. Continue reading


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Rough & Cheap

I’ve just left a conversation in which the works of Robert E. Howard, and his Conan stories in particular were described as rough and cheap.
Now, I beg to differ.
Granted, at his worst Howard was basically a competent storyteller, compensating with darkness and pathos his lack of a good story. But at his best, Howard’s Conan was not cheap, and was not rough.

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Being notoriously incapable of letting a matter rest when it peeves me, I’ll summarize my points here. Continue reading