East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


Mapping India

As I think I mentioned I’m working on the last parts of the Hope & Glory handbook, and I’m checking out my resources and trying to turn two boxes of loose sheets, post-it notes and scrawled ideas into 45.000 words of highly playable gaming material.

Now, geography is important – and as the first Hope & Glory book will focus on the Anglo-Indian Raj, a good solid overview of the Indian sub-continent might be appreciated by the players.
And here’s the rub.

Selection_570Because Gordon Johnson’s Cultural Atlas of India is a wonderful read, but when it comes to the breakdown of the Indian sub continent into smaller chunks, of course uses the current political division – and it’s not just a matter of calling Uttar Pradesh what once was the United Provinces.
There’s lots of information in here, but it’s information about today’s India.
And what I need is India in 1850.
The best book I was able to find is the John Murray 1859 edition of A Handbook of India: being an account of the Three Presidencies and of the Overland Route; intended as a guide for Travelers, Officers and Civilians that is as lightweight, as amusing and as easily accessible as the title suggests. Continue reading

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A new toy!

I’ve been made aware of a cool thing called PlacingLiterature, which does… well, what I’m planning to do as part the Karavansara Reading Challenge 2016: make a map, plot book scenes on it.

Placing Literature is the global clearinghouse for location-based literary information, collecting crowdsourced information about books and the locations where they take placeā€”and displaying them all on an interactive world map. Since launching in June 2013, readers, educators, librarians and authors have mapped nearly 3,000 places from novels, short stories, poems and plays ranging from Shakespeare to Kerouac.

The site has been freshly relaunched, and while I still like the Google Earth because it has more features, functionalities, whistles and bells, it almost seems a pity not to use PlacingLiterature.
I mean, new launch two weeks before the beginning of the Challenge?
If this isn’t a sign…


On the other hand, it looks like they are chiefly interested in fiction.
But check out both the site and their blog – there’s lot of stuff in there.

I might start submitting scenes from pulp books1.
Anyone cares to join in?2

  1. starting with my own, of course 
  2. ok, you think about it, we’ll talk about it after the Challenge. 


Deep time and History

OK, so this is my blog, here I talk about my passions.
Now, passions are interesting, because once you start along a certain path, once you develop a deep interest in a certain subject, it starts popping up in the weirdest places.

Like this…

it2004In the august of 2004 I was in Florence for the 32nd International Geological Conference.
I had some research to show, some people to meet, it was my first big night on the town.
Held on the hottest days of the year in the most expensive town in Italy, the conference was an unmissable opportunity for a freelance researcher like me – well worth the expenses, and the less-than-confortable hotel room 50 kms from the seat of the conference.
My mother contributed with money from her pension to my trip and participation.

The 32nd IGC in Florence was seen by many as the first big international outing for Chinese geology – and certainly the Chinese presence was impressive.
Among the many show-pieces of the Chinese area at the conference, was a huge geological map of the Himalayas and Transhimalayas, a big colorful map taking up a whole wall. Continue reading