East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Leave a comment

The Wonderman

But at the same time I am writing a story featuring the Count of St. Germain. The guy that Voltaire nicknamed The Wonderman.
The story is fully outlined but – for some strange reason – every time I sit down to start writing it, I get interrupted, usually by some nuisance that not only interferes with my writing work, but actually leaves me irritated and annoyed.
Go figure.

CITTADINI-DELLE-TENEBRE-di-Peter-Kolosimo-Oscar-Mondadori-1978-179-pagine-311575338279-500x710Now, I jumped at the idea of writing a story about St. Germain because he is one of the first mysterious characters I met as a kid, when I was reading books about mysteries and weirdness. I actually found him in a book I already mentioned in the past, Peter Kolosimo’s Cittadini delle Tenebre, sort of a young man’s primer on the occult, and a really fun book. Continue reading


Juggling dynamite

kolosimoAs I think I mentioned in the past, I was (and still am) a fan of Peter Kolosimo, the Italian answer to Von Daniken of Chariots of the Gods? fame. Kolosimo’s books, like Timeless Earth, were a gateway to wonders and mysteries for a generation of kids in the 70s.
I particularly love his Cittadini delle Tenebre (Citizens of Darkness, but alas never translated in English), a survey of the paranormal and the ghostly published in 1971, and that I read somewhere in 1976 or ‘77.
Apart for the nostalgia factor, Kolosimo’s books are a great resource for writing weird fantasy and adventure stories: ancient astronauts, archaeological mysteries, stone age flying saucers, you name it.
For the same reason I have in the past read far and wide on a number of subjects, always feeling wonder at the concepts, always making notes about what I could recycle in my writing, always remembering that it is a game. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Ancient Masters – Peter Kolosimo

KOLOSIMOMy generation was primed for adventure by Thor Heyerdahl and Folco Quilici, for space exploration by Carl Sagan and yes, for mystery and deep time by Peter Kolosimo.
We were the lucky ones.

So I thought I’ll do a series of posts on these maitres a’ penser of our own.
Books fitting in a pulp hero’s library.

And I’ll start with Peter Kolosimo.
I miss Peter Kolosimo. 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