East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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The stories of Smoke

A few days ago I was told (once again) that I should find me an alias (as if…) to “differentiate my offer” and “avoid confusing my readers” – the poor creatures being of the sort, apparently, that might be shocked and confused to find I write historical fantasy, science fiction, occasionally horror, thrillers and adventure.
And confused readers apparently stop buying your stories.

Now, I usually assume my readers are strong-willed enough not to be scared off by the fact that a story of mine does not fall in the same genre as the previous. And indeed, I usually point out a number of excellent writers that wrote across all the spectrum of fiction without changing their names.
I usually mention C.J. Cherryh as a good example, or Tanith Lee, or Poul Anderson, or Jack Vance.

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Covers (that sell the books)

Today it was a good day, and it started good yesterday night, when over an excellent (and crazy expensive!) pizza with a friend and a colleague writer, we outlined a shared universe and decided we’ll have a go at it in the next few months.
Then today I did a lot of writing and translating, got a fer bills settled, and got good news for a few projects.

So I decided I deserved a small award, and went browsing on Amazon for something to read. Not that I lack books to read at the moment, but what the heck, ebooks do not have an expiration date, right?

And because I feel like reading science fiction (like a do, normally, in the summer) and because I am, after all, one of those guys that choose their reading matter because of the covers, I saw these, checked out a few reviews, and got them without any further hesitation.
Because sometimes the cover sells you the book, right?

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Dumarest #1: The Winds of Gath

Now, was this fast or what?
I started reading E.C. Tubb’s The Winds of Gath around lunchtime, and by tea time it was over. The novel is pretty slim – 240 pages, in fact, and it’s pretty fast reading, but all in all I’m well pleased, and I’ll go on reading the series as long as it manages to be this fun.

So, what’s this all about?

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The summer of Dumarest

Back when I was starting as a science fiction reader – as to say, in the late ’70s – I chanced upon an article in a magazine that basically quartered and killed E.C. Tubb and his Dumarest series. Cheap, repetitive, boring, bad bad bad. Oh, well, I took note and moved on – it’s not like there wasnt other stuff to read, right?

Fast forward to 2017 and the announcement that a TV series was in the works based on the Dumarest novels. Back then, a friend dropped on me the whole 33-books series, telling me it was a good opportunity for me to brush up on the plot before the series hit our screens.
The series never happened, I never read the books.

Then, this morning, two things happened.

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Get in, do it and get out

Let’s talk about crime, shall we? As those that have chanced to read my BUSCAFUSCO novellas probably know, I’m not that much into homicide. It was Agatha Christie, I believe, that said that a proper whodunnit should feature a homicide, but, really… c’mon, Agatha, there are so many crimes that are a lot more interesting!

And mind you, I like a good murder mystery just like the next guy, but having the possibility, I do prefer softer but trickier crimes.

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