Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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Just kids having fun

You really can’t take a moment off.
Back online, and people are bickering on facebook.
Big news, uh?
Only in this case is something that touches upon my job (for what it is), my livelihood (ditto), and something I like very much, and therefore I consider “my own”.

Now, I have mentioned in the past how Italian politics have been trying to polarize popular culture since at least the fifties – from music mags labelling prog rock as right wing and singer-songwriters as left wing, to the old classic SF is left, fantasy is right, to the opening of “Hobbit Camps” where like-minded individuals could debate the merits of J.R.R. Tolkien, Julius Evola and Mussolini.
It would be silly, and ridiculous, were it not that it creeps into the general perception, it becomes a filter, and you are labelled as a jackbooted right-winger because you listen to Jethro Tull, or a crazed communist because you read Arthur C. Clarke.
The first reaction is laughing, then you realize these people are skewing the general public’s perception of reality. That is always bad.

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Tracks in the Snowy Forest

41msnsIInOL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_I’ll ramble a bit, if you don’t mind.
I’ve been looking for Tracks in the Snowy Forest for a while, now, without any luck.
I read a lot about it, summaries, criticism… but I still miss the real thing.
The book, written by Chinese author Qu Bo and published in 1957, was apparently published in English in 1962 – and never reprinted1. Alas, I can’t read Chinese.
The book – a thick affair over 500 pages long – is a historical novel. Or maybe not.
Based on true fact – to wit, the operations of a small unit of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army against warlords and bandit chieftains in North-Eastern China in 1946-1947 – it is nonetheless a novel, a work of fiction, and it was published ten years after the events. The author Qu Bo, took part in that PLA campaign, and the story is therefore based on his first-hand experiences.
Does it count as historical fiction?
Or is it something else – fictionalized autobiography?
Non-fiction novel?
I don’t know.

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