East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Two hours in another world


A few days back, a contact of mine posted on his Facebook a sign that read “Say no to fantasy”.
I wondered why, but I did not feel like starting a discussion that would be, ultimately, pointless. It’s certainly a fact that a lot of drivel is published in the fantasy genre, but there’s exactly the same amount of drivel published in any other field.
Theodore Sturgeon had something to say about that.

Anyway I’ve just spent two hours reading a beautiful fantasy novella – part of my shopping spree last Christmas. It’s called Thief of War, by Beth Bernobich, an author I had never read before, but that I will certainly read again. Great story, great sense of place, a poignant story without being saccharine. An intriguing world I’ll be happy to explore further in the future.

I went through it in two hours, because after dinner I was feeling bad – physically, because of my rickety health, but most importantly psychologically.
One of my usual black moods, a general sense of defeat that has no true reason. That sense of existential void when you need some chocolate, and there’s no chocolate in your house.

An upbeat, light read would have been in order, but I brewed me a tisane and sat down to read Thief of War – that has some pretty tense action, but it is also melancholy and in many ways sad.

But it worked anyway. The author transported me for two hours in a different world, and gave my mind something to handle and to play with, and helped dissolve my depression, if not my physical fatigue.

I tend to be rather lucky, in my explorations – I usually find good books.
There is a lot of excellent genre fiction out there, being published. Very high standards are being set both by authors and publishers.
And this also goes for fantasy.
That allows me to take a brief vacation once in a while, no matter what some post on their Facebook wall.

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.

4 thoughts on “Two hours in another world

  1. Might have to grab this one. I am outraged by your friend’s post “say no to fantasy” and hope one day when you have the energy you will challenge him on it.
    However, sadly, I have had the opposite problem recently with books. I’ve read some absolute garbage (well started and ditched). And even more sadly, the majority have been self-published. This makes me really blue as it tends to cement the notion that self-pubbed books are, in fact, garbage. The dreck that can’t get published traditionally. As someone who will be self-publishing my debut in a few months, this makes me very uneasy. I don’t want to be viewed in this same light. So, I’m really looking for something good to read right now. Something to restore my faith a bit, so to speak.
    PS – hope you’re feeling a bit better now…


    • I do feel better.
      And there’s a lot of people that self-publishes rubbish, because they are not interested in being read and appreciated, they just want their name on a cover.

      Liked by 1 person

      • And think they’ll make a quick buck…


        • There’s a lot of scammers, people that translate public domain works with Google Translate and put them on Amazon and what else.
          But an awful lot are people that haven’t the slightest idea of where writing, not to mention publishing, begins, but they are so eager to have a book in their name, and they are so arrogant and sure of themselves (as all ignorant people are), that they don’t even care for money.
          It’s like a plague.

          Liked by 1 person

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