East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Three Devils in Faustus

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I just delivered a new 5000-words story to the editor of a forthcoming anthology.
It’s supposed to be sword & sorcery, and indeed it features a sword, and some sorcery.
The Devil itself plays a part in it – quite literally.
It will be first published in Italian (if, that is, it turns out to be good enough), and then hopefully also in English.

11936-004-4F8FBD3DThe story is called “Three Devils in Faustus” – and yes, this is a wink at Leiber’s masterful “Four Ghosts in Hamlet”.
I’ll never be as good as Leiber, but my story strives to be somewhat Leiberian in tone, as there is little violence, much talk, some drunkenness and a striking woman in a green dress.
But there is also some bit of Anderson’s “A Midsummer Tempest” – that is, it looks like it takes place in our world, but actually it does not.

The story did take indeed some curious work of bricolage.
The setting is a secondary world I had devised back when I was in high school, and never really used.
A world in which a character would say “I’ve been reading the Macbeth”, and mean a book on politics, sort of a Machiavellian handbook for usurpers written by the Scottish king himself.
It was that sort of thing – an idea that remained floating for three decades.

As for the plot, it is based on what is supposed to be a true story – in London, in the 17th century, as a company of actors was performing Marlowe’s “Faustus”, the Devil himself appeared on the stage, causing much fear and panic.
Or so they say.

About one year ago, maybe a little more, I had discussed this story with my friend Claire, that has a sort of obsession with Marlowe, but as usual nothing came out of our idea of writing something as a team.
So I recycled it for my anthology submission.

Now I’ll wait for the editor to tell me he really hates it, and then I’ll try and figure out a way to salvage it.
But right now, I’m quite happy for a well-done job, if I do say so myself.

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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