East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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Tits & Sand: The Thief of Bagdad (1940)

Let’s go back to Tits & Sand movies with the mother of them all – the 1940 version of The Thief of Baghdad.
And I know, there were Arabian Adventure movies before, but this one was and is, to me, the definitive item. Once again, this was a movie that was a staple of afternoon reruns on the telly in the ‘90s, and before that I saw it in a small parish cinema, and boy did it make an impression.
So be warned – I’ll wax nostalgic, or maybe not. But this is one of my favorite movies from way back when…

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More Sketches of China

246017After yesterday’s cover reveal, it’s time to write a little about Sketches of China, my fifth novelette in the Hope & Glory series that acts as an introduction/prequel for the game, that will be out very soon.

The plan for the novelettes was to try and show a different corner of the Hope & Glory world with each story.
So we’ve been through the Anglo-Indian Ray (Glass Houses), North Africa (Number the Brave), the Imperial court of Russia (Part of the Machine), on a flying ship belonging to the Republic of Iezo (Above the Clouds) and now, China.

Also, each novelette tackles a different genre, showcasing the different themes and gaming approaches the players will be able to adopt in the game.
So we’ve seen a spy story (Glass Houses), a war story (Number the Brave), a noir (Part of the Machine), a “big dumb object” SF story (Above the Clouds) and now… Continue reading

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At the feet of a giant

41T7fyFa80L._SX350_BO1,204,203,200_I discovered Harold Lamb pretty late in my life, about ten years ago.
I had retrieved, as a kid, a pair of biographies written by Lamb, I had found in my grandmother’s attic. They were from my mother’s collection of young girl’s reads. I think one was Tamburlane, and the other might have been Theodora.
I don’t know what happened to those books – I guess my mother gave them away. I was not overly interested in historical biographies, at the time I liked dinosaurs.
Only much, much later I found the collections published by Bison Books and edited by Howard Andrew Jones, and it was a delight.
“Who,” my friend Claire asked, “Lamb the one of the Cossack?”

I knew, through my readings, that Harold Lamb was a great author of historical adventure, “always the scholar first, the good fictionist second” as one of his editors said, and I associated his names with Adventure magazine, that to me was possibly more iconic than Weird Tales or Astounding.

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Sixteen Italians in Tientsin

There were sixteen Italians in Tietsin in 1901.

  • Two hairdressers
  • Six owners or staffers of two Italian restaurants
  • One mechanic
  • One miner
  • Two businessmen
  • One builder
  • Three artists: a singer, a musician and a painter.

These are the things one learns doing historical research.


And one can also get an article out of it, and sell it. Because bills won’t pay themselves. Continue reading

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Into the Badlands

My brother asked me why I never did a post about Into the Badlands. Because my memory is like a sieve, was the only possible answer.
But now that I have been reminded that I have been intending to do a post on the series, why wait?
Here we go.

Into the Badlands is an original TV series produced by AMC. It started in 2015, and it is currently in its third season. And I like it a lot, and I highly recommend it to anyone sharing my interest in adventure, science fiction, action, intrigue and a good solid entertainment, with a brain.

What are we talking about? Continue reading


Old and new dinos

It all started with a movie clip.
This movie clip.

It’s from the 1975 The Land That Time Forgot, based on the Edgar Rice Burroughs novel of the same title, and adapted for the screen by Michael Moorcock and Nigel Cawthorn.
I first saw this in the parish cinema the priests had put up to attract the kids that would not be hooked by the football field by the church.
In the end, I never became a good Catholic kid, but I did develop a passion for Edgar Rice Burroughs, dinosaurs and old movies. Continue reading