East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai



Pickwick was the brand of the tea my grandmother used to buy – over forty-five years ago. The brand, I find out checking on Amazon, is still around – but they no longer use the coach as a logo. That’s where I first heard the name, and associated it to… well, horse-drawn coaches.

Later, of course, I learned about the novel – through a very funny adaptation produced by the Italian state television – back when our TV aimed at educating the masses while entertaining them. before reality shows, in other words. And then in school – I was bored to death by a simplified version in English I was saddled with, one summer, when I was in middle school. When I finally made it to the novel proper, in the first year in high school, I was taught it was an inferior work, a juvenile effort from the genius that would later give us Oliver Twist and Great Expectations. Pickwick Papers? Rubbish.

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Strength is not just kicking ass (and vice-versa)

Something funny happened the other day – funny up to a point, as I will try and explain later.

One of the usual debates started, about reading and writing and what else, and the discussion turned to strong female characters, and we were given a brief lecture about how

a woman will never be stronger than a man – it’s a matter of muscular mass: the strongest woman warrior will always be at the same level of a mid-range male warrior, and she could never beat a stronger opponent


Now, this statement is – of course – mindboggingly asinine on two counts1
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The Story of Whatsisname

Book-titleOK, so I lost the race but I’m on my way to finishing my second novel.
There’s a catch – apart from a few bits that still grate a little, and that I’ll have to discuss with my editor and beta readers… there’s the matter of the title.

Because so far, I’ve worked on files codenamed Matter/Energy, but let’s admit it – as a title for a science fiction novel, Matter/Energy sucks.
And is sounds like some kind of slash fiction for horny trekkies, which might attract the wrong readers.

So, I’ll have to invent a title.
The publishing gurus talk about compelling titles – but a cool title would be enough.
Because a cool title is something that really sells the novel. Continue reading