East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Thinking in lifespans

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So I have a new idea for my next novel
This writing thing is going to my head.
But anyway – thanks to a sleepless night during a thunderstorm, I set down the basic premise, placed two or three ideas on the map, have a few scenes rather vividly painted in my mind, and I’ve started collecting references and stuff.


And a funny thing happened.
The story I’m planning will be a historical fantasy – looks like that’s my game, these days – set in the 18th century.
The exact time frame is somewhat problematic, and I’ll have to make some hard choices – choosing a certain year instead of another means my characters will be dealing with different historical characters and events.
Anyway… As I’m evaluating different choices, the thought came – why not set the story in 1767?
A rather dull year, history-wise, but actually two hundred years before my birth.

And then it struck me – only two hundred years before my birth!

Now this probably comes from the fact that a lot of fantasy is set in earlier times – or in secondary worlds based on earlier times.
But then no – I can think of an awful lot of good or not-so-good novels set in the baroque age.

No, I think this is because of my own age.
Back when I was 20, “200 years ago” meant “ten times my lifespan”.
Quite a long time.
But now it means five times my lifespan… and the perspective changes.

And I wonder, should I be lucky enough to come to a healthy old age and keep writing, how it will feel writing when I’m 80, and the French Revolution will be little more than two or three lifetimes ago.

Anyway – there’s a new novel in the works… and I like the premise very much.
Thank my supercaffeinated muse for sleepless nights and thunderstorms.


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.

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