East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Art crimes and story ideas

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One of the questions you should not ask a writer is

where do you get your ideas

And yes, I am about to start an Idea Club (you pay one buck a month, I send you an idea per week)… no, OK, joking.

Back to the post – ideas are everywhere.
Just to give you an example…

I am a subscriber to a wonderful mailing list that is called Culture Crime News – I found out about it when I followed a MOOC about art crimes.
The mailing list is maintained by professor Donna Yates, that teaches Antiquities Trafficking and Art Crime at the University of Glasgow, and writes a wonderful blog called Anonymous Swiss Collector.


Culture Crime News drops in your mailbox weekly, with stories about art and antiques crimes: looting, trafficking, theft, swindles and what else, with links at the pertinent news clips, from all over the world.
And it’s a treasure trove of ideas.

For instance, from today’s issue:

3 sentenced to prison for looting Mississippi Indian mound (USA)
(30 September 2017; The Republic)
For looting at Doskie Indian Mound in 2014.

This one has Lovecraftian Horror written all over.

Handyman wanted in Sparta art theft (USA)
(8 October 2017; New Jersey Herald)
The missing artwork is valued at about $239,000 but no details about it are offered

… and now I have this idea for an international art thief known as “The Handyman” – an anonymous-looking individual, he joins the staff of the museum in order to steal.

1,000 African Skulls Stolen for Racist Research in Germany Discovered in a Museum Basement (Germany, Rwanda, Tanzania, Burundi)
(6 October 2017; Newsweek)
“It seems like [von Luschan] got them from some burial places”

Once again, Lovecraftian vibes are strong in this one, with possible hints of Delta Green – I’ll have to research this von Luschan chap… he’s the one who invented the chromatic scale… or maybe a relative.

The government must bring the stolen Indigenous dead home (Australia)
(4 October 2017; The Guardian)
When will Australia have a proper keeping place for Indigenous remains?

Australian zombies. Enough said.

After Tip-Off, Police Roll Up Nationwide Tomb Raiding Gangs (China)
(3 October 2017; Sixth Tone)
34 suspects in rounded up for antiquities looting related crime

“Nationwide Tomb Raiding Gangs” in China.
If this isn’t a good starting point for a pulp story… your mission, should you accept it, is to infiltrate a nationwide tomb raiding gang, and then tip us off on their next heist.

4 try to steal idol from temple, land in villagers’ net (India)
(2 October 2017; The Times of India)
Villagers caught the failed idol thieves after being woken up by the break in.

… and this one will become a short story set in the Hope & Glory universe.

So, as you see, I’m well supplied about story ideas.
I might really give it a serious thought, about that Idea Club

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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