East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Leave a comment

The Haunting of Pemberley House

pemberley-coversmallThere was only one man who could write a pulp homage to gothic romance, dragging in references from Jane Austen to Edgar Rice Burroughs, from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to Lester Dent, and beyond, while making it deliciously naughty.
And that man was, of course, the late lamented Philip José Farmer.
The Evil in Pemberley House by Farmer and Win Scott Eckert – who completed the novel based on Farmer’s outline and notes – is exactly that: a P.J. Farmer tour de force featuring subtle (and not-so-subtle) references and tongue-in-cheek plot twists, feeding both the old master and his readers’ obsession for the pulps and the icons of popular literature.

The plot in brief: Pat Wildman, daughter of world famous adventurer/crimefighter Doc Wildman, moves to England after the loss of her parents. She has inherited old Pemberley House, with its ghosts and its curses, and carries a number of unresolved issues herself.
But what is happening really in Pemberley House, and what connections have the events that Pat is witnessing with the history of her family? Continue reading


How I became a hack – part the first

LostHorizon-oldI wrote my first “lost city in the Himalayas” story when I was fourteen or fifteen.
I had not read James Hilton’s Lost Horizon* yet, but I was actually reading a lot of E.R. Burroughs and Rider-Haggard, and quite some Howard at the time.
Their style struck me as easily emulated.
Oh, and I also read a lot of Peter Kolosimo and some Von Daniken and other “mysterious archaeology” books back then.
Food for stories.

So I sat at my mother’s Olivetti Lettera typewriter (hey, it was 1982!) and started hammering away – no outline, no no plan, no nothing.
I was actually writing in the most unpractical way I can imagine, but I had never ever read a writing handbook, so I was winging it.
And I was painfully slow on the keyboard – which helped, actually, as it gave me more time to think the next paragraph.
Anyway, in two months flat I did put together 80 single spaced sheets.
Which strikes me as interesting, as it was very much in the “original novel” pulp format – not only in contents, but also in terms of word count. Continue reading