East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Storms at Sea

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My brother had my Christmas gift delivered yesterday.
It’s Storms at Sea by Mike Schultz, and it’s gorgeous.
So I devoured it, read it twice during the night, and here’s a review of sort.


Storms at Sea is a sturdy hardback, deceptively thin, and presented in landscape/album format.
Which is suiting, as the volume includes 31 full-page illustrations, that are simply gorgeous, and complement the 31 double column pages of narrative.


Storms at Sea is a science fantasy novella, set in a dark, noirish future world plagued by a terminal energy crisis.
In a narrative-within-the-narrative, main character Griff is told by the beautiful Asha the secret history of the world – a history filled with conspiracies, mysteries, strangecreatures and monsters.
As it usually happens, the true history of the world has been hidden from us, and it holds the key tonot only the resolution of the crisis and the revivification of the world, but also a new meaning for the future of humanity.
Now all Griff and Asha have to do is survive their knowledge (and escape those that want to suppress it).


As a fan of Schultz’ previous work (Xenozoic Tales first of all, but lots of other titles, too), I can only say that I am impressed.
The worlds imagined by the great pulp writers of the past, and by movie legends such as ray Harryhausen are an obvious inspiration, and yet this is an original, fascinating work that stands on its own merits. The artwork, as expected, is absolutely stunning, rich in details and deeply suggestive. Each of thes 31 plates carries a story in itself, and I could spend hours gazing at them.


The story would probably be accused of the dread crime of infodump, but I frankly can’t give a damn: it’s great, a wonderful romp through millennia of secret history concentrated in few pages.
The world of Griff and Asha comes alive through text and artwork, and it’s really seductive.
As a reader I want more stories set in this universe, as a roleplaying gamer I want to set my future games in it.


But right now I have Storms at Sea here with me, and it is enough for the time being.

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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