East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Wrote about astronomy




Leave a comment

Spillane at 100

And so, while I was running up and down the local highways to go and sit on a panel in Turin on Friday and get lost at a con on Saturday, Mickey Spillane’s centenary came and went.
Let’s try and make up for that.


Mickey Spillane was born on March the 9th 1918. He fought in the Second World war and wrote for the comics before he started a very successful career as a crime writer, creating the character of Mike Hammer, and selling – to date – 225 million copies of his books. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Women’s Day and book suggestions

maudfealyHere we go.
It’s the International Woman’s Day, and I thought… why not do a post about women authors I love?
A post about those authors whose books have influenced my writing, setting a very high standard and making me go

“That’s what I want to write! That’s the way I want to write it!”

I did a post, a long time ago, about non-fiction women writers whose influence I felt and still feel.
This time, let’s go for fantasy and science fiction – a limited list, only five names, the ones that are at the top of my list, and without my disrespect for all the fine writers I’ll leave out.
Here’s my top five, in no particular order… Continue reading


Leave a comment

Folco Quilici, 1930-2018

I am deeply saddened by the news of the death of journalist, adventurer and film-maker Folco Quilici.


His documentary Sesto Continente (Sixth Continent), that he shot in 1954, at the age of 24, was the first underwater documentary shot entirely in color, and a staple of my early school days, back in the mid-70s. And I remember seeing Fratello Mare (Brother Sea) in the parish cinema, in what I think was 1977 or ‘78 – the movie had come out in ‘75. Continue reading



Leave a comment


Leave a comment

Twenty-one years without Emily Hahn

Writer, journalist, earth scientist, world traveler, opium smoker, primates expert, the self-proclaimed “bad girl” that started her autobiography with the phrase…

Not long after my family moved from St Louis to Chicago, I ran away from home.

… died on this day in 1997.

emily hahn

One of my projects for this year (and maybe the next two) is to read every one of Emily Hahn’s 50-odd books.



On Verne’s Birthday: Michael Strogoff

324_500_csupload_22715671And this being Jules Verne’s birthday, why not go and reread one of his books – or watch a movie basedon one of Verne’s books?
And KeithTaylor mentioned Michael Strogoff, and that’s quite a nice choice for Karavansara: an adventure yarn, set in the heart of Eurasia, and featuring chases, swashbuckling, heroics and derring-do.
All in a neat package, courtesy of one of the fathers of science fiction – but here applying his skills to a spy thriller of sorts.
It is also one of the titles on which my generation cut its teeth as readers. But we’ll get to that. Continue reading