East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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Imperial plots: Devin Madson’s “In Shadow We Fall”

After too many weeks during which writing had felt like a lost art to me, writing a 3000-words historical article in one afternoon was a great way to clean the rust off the engines, and show I can still do it, and it’s fun. So while new projects shift and move around, I decided to celebrate my renewed energies, and bought myself an ebook.

One of the best things of the last few years is the increasing number of fantasies being published that break away from the standard European model, roughly Tolkienesque or Howardian, and choose an Eastern setting.

And I will not be the one that complains – first, because as an Orientalist Anonymous, I have always loved Eastern fantasies and have written some myself (and I hope to write more), but also, variety is always a sign of good health – and if the field is in good health, we have all reason to be happy.

Continue reading

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Just a quick heads up for a wonderful resource I just discovered: the place is called WuxiaWorld, and these guys are translating in English a number of wuxia (Chinese fantasy sword & sorcery novels) and light novels from the Far East.


This comes as a classic case of fuzzy serendipity, as I am currently planning an Oriental Fantasy of sorts, and this certainly qualifies as research.
And fun!
Check them out!

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Getting away from it all – sort of

So today it transpired I needed a LONG vacation.
I will not bother you with the details – let’s just say that periodically my unbound love for humanity sort of becomes less-unbound-than-usual.

And because I can’t afford a vacation right now – nor will I be able to afford it in the foreseeable future – the only way to do it is to drop everything and pick up a good book.
Two, actually.
One paper-bound and another in digital format.
Something different and good and diverting.
I always keep a good stock of “in case of need break the glass” books – and when depression and sadness reach the limit, that’s exactly what I do, and that’s where I go. Continue reading

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Circle of Iron/The Silent Flute (1978)

My friend Dalmazio reminded me yesterday of a movie that I re-watch usually once a year, and that would fit my highly hypothetical guide to sword & sorcery movies, despite the fact that it does not feature any sword that I can remember, nor is the sorcery so prominent.
The movie is called Circle of Iron, but is also known as The Silent Flute, and was originally written by Bruce Lee, that would have starred it.
The movie was planned for 1969, and should have featured James Coburn (who also had a hand in the original story) as a co-star, but then the project fizzed.

It was produced nine years later, with David carradine in the role that should have been Lee’s, and Jeff Cooper in the role that had been imagined for James Coburn or Steve McQueen.

The first mystical martial arts adventure… well, it is a way to put it. Continue reading

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E. Hoffmann Price

n19191As I explained a few days back, I set myself a series of rewards for completing various chunks of my story – sort of a bait to force me pour more words on the page.
It’s easy, innocuous, inexpensive – and it seems to work.

Having reached the 50.000 word mark, I awarded myself an ebook – the Wildside Press ebook edition of E. Hoffmann Price‘s The Jade Enchantress.
The book was originally published by Balantine/Del Rey (and you see the cover here on the right). Continue reading

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Weekend in Saramyr

c17344A short one.
Thanks to one of my readers’ gift of an Amazon voucher, I’m currently reading Chris Wooding’s excellent The Braided Path, which collects his three novels set in the Oriental-tinged, sort-of-China-by-way-of-Japan continent of Saramyr.
And I must say I’m very pleased with the story so far – the mix of fantasy elements, the Oriental flavor of the setting and the pace are just great.
Good old-fashioned fun, with a lot of new twists.
The only drawback is the weight of the omnibus volume – I guess I should have picked the ebook edition.
Just this – I thought I should let you guys know.