East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Look at the sky!


Cloudspotter_060523112839278_wideweb__300x457One never knows what can turn into reference for a story.
I’m re-reading Gavin Pretor-Pinney‘s delightful The Cloudspotter’s Guide, hunting for bits to add color to the story I’m writing – which features hot air balloons and people drifting through the sky, so it’s fitting.

The guide is not a meteorology handbook, but rather a book about cloud culture – teaches you to recognize and name different cloud formations, gives you a rundown of their behavior, plus lots and lots of other fun facts, folklore and assorted whatnots.
It is an excellent book to have handy when hiking, or when idling in the courtyard, in the summer, watching the clouds as they run through the blue sky.
Or something.

Reading through the relevant chapters of the guide, making a few notes on a post-it, will be an interesting and useful break in my current writing binge (I’m lagging, and I’ve just hit 8.500/20.000… I’m a hopeless slob), and maybe will set the creative juices flowing in different directions.

And it’s starting already – I realized how little attention we pay to what happens in the sky, here and now, in the 21st century.
But thinking about my stories, that are often set in ancient times or pre-technological societies… would not the observation and recognition of natural events like the evolution of the cloudscape be an important part of – for instance – traveling?
I guess my characters will have to look more often at the sky, in their forthcoming adventures.
Without making it an obsession, but it might be a nice tool to add texture to my stories.

In the meantime, interested parties might be delighted to know that a Cloud Appreciation Society does exist, and has a website.


Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

2 thoughts on “Look at the sky!

  1. This is really a great book!
    I have it in italian.
    I still remember when I found it.
    I couldn’t believe that they had translated such a strange and interesting book!


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