East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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AMARNA, Episode 5 on Amazon

Amarna preview smallIt took us a while, but the 5th episode of AMARNA is finally available for kindle through the Amazon platform – for all those that prefer the direct download on the reader instead of the Gumroad zip file.




Vergil and Med Fantasy

51M68AP5CQL._SX303_BO1,204,203,200_The last time we met Avram Davidson we were visiting Scythia-Pannonia-Transbalkania in the company of Doctor Eszterhazy. True, we met him briefly, too briefly, when we crossed paths with Marco Polo, and that was it.
Avram Davidson was an excellent writer, one whose style was his and his alone. He is responsible for some of the most memorable short stories in the history of the genre – like the one in which he describes the life-cycle of bicycles, from larval paperclips to wire coat-hangers, to full bicycles.
It feels deeply unjust that Davidson and his works have somehow fallen off the public’s radar. Granted, Gollancz reprinted some of his best works as cheap ebooks, and Robert Silverberg and Grania Davis curated a collection of his short stories a few years back that should still be available, but it looks like there’s a few of us that remember. Continue reading


The Ministry of Thunder – an announcement

OK, drop everything you are doing and listen, because I have to make an announcement.
A big one.

The Ministry of ThunderI have just learned from my publisher, Acheron Books, that The Ministry of Thunder is their bestselling title on the international marketplace.
This makes me really proud.
The Ministry of Thunder was my first published novel and it helped me learn a lot about writing, and it was a fun ride, and I love the characters in it.
Felice Sabatini is like an old friend.
I am completely and unashamedly in love with Helena Saratova, but I also sort of fancy Pat Neil.
And Captain Asamatsu is such a wonderful antihero.
And LaFleur… ah, we go back a long time with Jacques LaFleur.

So, before we go on, I would like to thank all the readers that bought and enjoyed my novel and my characters.
Thank you, from the heart.

This said, there is a storm brewing over Shanghai.
And Sabatini is about to get back in town.

The Ministry of Lightning is going to happen.


Continue reading


World Ocean’s Day 2018

Today is the World Ocean’s Day, and I will celebrate it by sitting here, at the bottom of the ancient Tethys Ocean, writing a chapter of a book about a sea monster.


Tethys was ocean that occupied an east-west corridor between Gondwana and Laurasia during the Mesozoic. In the following two-hundred and fifty million years the Tethys basin and its sediments were involved in the breaking up of continents, in the opening of the Atlantic and the Indian oceans, and in the Alpine event that caused the formation of the highest mountain chains in the Old World.
Snippets are preserved, folded inside of the moutains, or as sedimentary rocks.
Here where I sit, this used to be a shallow water lagoon (probably), in which sharks swam. Continue reading

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AMARNA, episode 5

Amarna preview smallThe fifth episode of AMARNA is live on Gumroad, where you can download the ebook in mobi, epub and pdf format, as a handy zip file.

I hope everything works fine – in the last few days, thanks to the GPDR thingie the European Union implemented, I have been experiencing all sorts of troubles: basically there is a digital wall around Europe, and many service providers outside of the EU are simply discontinuing their support for European customers until they understand what exactly the GPDR means for them.

I hope everything’s fine.
In case of problems, please let me know.


A western with mummies, Indiana Jones-style

My own birthday gift to myself arrived this morning, one day earlier than expected.
It’s a novel, published by Angry Robot. It’s called Fury of the Dead, and it was written by S.A. Sidor. It is the first in a series of books about The Institute for Singular Antiquities.

The plot in a nutshell: 1888, an archaeologist loses his load of cursed mummies while crossing the United States by train from New York to Los Angeles,and has to go south of the border, with a back-up team including a Chinese boy, a gunslinger and a tough lady, to get his angry dead back again.


You can see why I wanted this book from the moment I set my sights on the cover.
Indeed, I do have a certain professional interest in mummies and Egyptian curses, and it feels all right, now that AMARNA is almost in the can1, to distract myself by reading some other cursed mummy book.
And then, it’s my birthday, right?

And I am really curious to see how the author handled certain issues.
I might post on the subject, later on.
Meanwhile, I’ll be spending this rainy afternoon under the porch, reading about cursed Egyptian mummies and gunslingers.

  1. Edpisode 5 is coming soon! 

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Gardner Dozois, 1947-2018

Six years ago, when I first self-published a science fiction story of mine, a guy on Facebook told me he would only read my work the day it would be selected by Gardner Dozois for one of his anthologies.
Then, and no sooner, he told me, he would be convinced my work was worth reading. Until then, he could not care less.

Gardner Dozois, one of the greatest editors ever to grace the field of science fiction, passed away yesterday. He was 71.
His output as an editor of anthologies is such that it will be impossible to summarize it here.
But check out this tidbit of information from Wikipedia:15849699

Stories selected by Gardner Dozois for the annual best-of-year volumes have won, as of December 2015, 44 Hugos, 41 Nebulas, 32 Locus, 10 World Fantasy and 18 Sturgeon Awards.

And he loved old space opera and adventure science fiction, which is the reason why I will remember him today by reading the last anthology of his that I purchased: Old Mars.
Gardner Dozois contributed to make me what I am.
He will be sorely missed.