East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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A very Italian sort of fantasy

Admittedly, the title of Roy Kinnard and Tony Crnkovich’s Italian Sword and Sandal Films, 1908–1990 is misleading. The book does not cover only sword & sandal movies (aka peplums), but a whole selection of swashbucklers, historical and Biblical flicks. And I am not complaining at all.

The book, published by McFarland & Co in 2017 is really just a long check list of the most important movies in the broad category of sword & sandal as applied by the authors. Like in, say, Silver & Ward’s Noir Encyclopedia, we get details on every cast and crew member but alas not an extensive critical article for every film. This is really a pity.

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Asteria and the spirit of peplum

asteria khan engAnd so…
The first story of Asteria was a straightforward peplum, but with a strong influence from Go Nagai and Mazinger Z in particular.
The second Asteria adventure was a Harold Lambesque story of Mongol warriors, with a supernatural horror twist.
The third Asteria novelette, that’s coming out in the weekend, is a lace & steel sort of swashbuckler, with a side of clockpunk shenanigans.
It is fitting, I think, that the fourth story, that I started writing yesterday, will be a tits & sand adventure with Arabian Nights and Marco Polo references. Continue reading


The Return of Asteria

sun-kingDuring the coming weekend I will write a 12.000 words story, give or take 2000.
It will not be hard, at least the first draft – the story’s been outlined for two years, but I never got around to actually write it.
It’s called Asteria in the Court of the Sun King, and it’s the third in the series I started in 2014 about Asteria, a formerly dead amazon that is a pawn of forces beyond her comprehension.

It all started in 2014, with a discussion with a friend of mine, Italian indie author Alex Girola, about the old peplums, the sword & sandal movies that were the staple of Italian fantasy cinema in the 1950s and 1960s, and that gave us a lot of fun and even a few good movies.
What both Alex and I found fascinating – and promising from a writing point of view – was the mix of spurious Mythology, mismatched genre tropes and time periods the movies displayed. Continue reading

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Neo-mythology: Translating the peplums

The true problem, of course, is that I get mortally bored when I translate something I wrote. I think it is because I already know how the story is going, and so there’s no fun in translating it. But we’ll talk about this later. Maybe.

Because you see, considering that right now about 90% of my Amazon income comes from English-language sales, I’ve been thinking about translating some of the things I published in Italian, to see how they would work on the international market.
Right now I’d like to give it a try with my Asteria series of sword & sandal novelettes, but here I crash against two problems.
The first, as mentioned above, is the fact that I find translating myself mindbogglingly boring.
The second is the matter of the titles.
Which brings us to Maciste – or Samson,or The Son of Hercules, as it was sold in the US of A. Continue reading