East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


Earle Bergey

23490709-LlyrdisJust a gallery of wonderful covers from old pulps.
I always liked the covers of Startling stories, and one of them in particular, that you see here on the right, is the image that flashes in my mind when I think about pulp covers.
All these covers were created by a guy called Earle Bergey, and this post and this gallery dedicated to him.
He was specialised in something that was called “Bim, BEM, Bum!” – a beautiful woman menaced by a monster of some sort, with a hero ready to act heroic.


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80 years with and without Lovecraft

Today is the 80th anniversary of H.P. Lovecraft’s death.
I think I read all of the Gentleman’s stories, multiple times, and I liked them quite a bit.
I discovered HPL in high school, when I was reading all the fantasy and SF and horror (but not much horror) I could lay my hands on. Then I re-read it while in university, back when all of a sudden HPL was starting to make the news, to be critically appreciated. And I still read some of his better stories now and then, for nostalgia’s sake.
Now, according to a sort of scientific study I did with my old friend Fabrizio, the Lovecraftian reader’s evolution goes through three phases: Continue reading

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Getting re-acquainted with Yasmini

mundy-271x300I’m working on the final chapters of the Hope & Glory basic handbook, and at the same time I am preparing the new episode of the KaravanCast, and both activities, while taking very different times – no less that three hours of writing per day for the handbook, about ten minutes per day for the podcast – led me to an old acquaintance of mine: Talbot Mundy.

My creed is this: God is a gentleman.
And if God made the Universe, and made it well,
And since our duty is to be like God,
Therefore the things that common mortals do
Are better done; the thoughts the others think
Are better thought, by gentlemen.

Adventure's_Soul_of_a_RegimentMundy was one of the titans of imaginative and adventure fiction, a stalwart of Adventure magazine in its heyday and a distinctively anti-colonialist author.
And Hope & Glory being a universe in which British colonialism in India takes a very different and radical direction away from what history records, Mundy is certainly the most influential author for the project.

Mundy has been compared to Kipling, to Rider Haggard and sometimes to Lamb, even occasionally to Burroughs – but he remains very much his own man.

So I told myself, why not re-read a few Mundy books, and as I am at it, do a podcast on the subject? Continue reading


Pulp & Politics: Blake’s 7

The joys of Youtube.
I’ve spent the last few nights watching old episodes of the BBC’s Blake’s 7, a space opera series that aired between 1978 and 1981, and that was never distributed in my country.
And I must say I’m positively impressed.


Because it’s an old show, and produced on a very short and frail shoestring budget, but what the heck, it’s good fun and great storytelling. Continue reading

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Eye candy overload: League of Gods

During lunch break I spent some time watching League of Gods, a 2016 Hong Kong fantasy movie featuring Jet Li, the ubiquitous Tony Leung Ka-Fai and the absolutely gorgeous Fan Bingbing, among many others. I always liked Hong Kong movies, and it is nice to take a break from Western imagination once in a while.
The movie is – pretty loosely, I guess – based on a 16th century novel called Fangshen Yanyi (variously translated as Investiture of the Gods or The Creation of the Gods).

As you can see from the trailer, the movie is heavy on CGI, and has a strange mix of adult situations and somewhat of juvenile humor that can raise a few eyebrows among the audience.
I know my eyebrows did a little gymnastic while I was watching the film. Continue reading


The World Adventurers Club and the OTRR Group

I guess my friend Claire will love this one.
I recently discovered the Old Time Radio Research Group (aka OTRR Group), a band of old time radio enthusiasts that maintain what they describe as the most accurate archive of OTR series in the world.


Which is quite the thing – and in these evenings, while Italy was being besieged by the San Remo Music Festival, I slipped back into the past thanks to a pretty fun radio series from 1932, called World Adventurers Club. Continue reading