East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


Enough of this

When this whole quarantine/lockdown started, I set out to write a mini-series of short stories, 4 stories in 8 days. It was fun, sort of a show of strength. I wrote and published the first three in less than a week, and then all of a sudden the body count started rising, and we were all locked up at home, and I decided the last of the series could wait.

Meanwhile, over my social networks, everybody tarted publishing post-apocalyptic stories about viruses, pandemics and assorted infections. And I sort of got tired of the game.

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All I needed to know I learned… somewhere

There’s a lot of articles being posted on blogs and things about how to work from home. In Italy, a country that was criminally behind in terms of telecommuting jobs, the possibility of working via the net is causing a small quake, but it looks like all over the world we are seeing a sudden “discovery” of remote working.

Another very popular topic on blogs and socials is what to read/watch/do while the country is in lockdown – huge to-read lists, playlists and what else. A lot of publishers and authors are giving away some of their books – I am doing it myself, because it’s nice to try and show some solidarity and manage to pass for human.
And then there’s the vast population of nerds and geeks and anoraks that keep patting each other on the back, because they were prepared all along, because they learned how to handle this situation watching Dawn of the Dead or playing Resident Evil.

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In the Red Zone

As of one hour ago, the Asti province – what I usually call Astigianistan – is Red Zone for the COVID-19 virus. Which basically means nothing is coming in or out of this place, we are invited to stay at home and not go around, because the infection is out of control.

All we can do is sit tight and wait – but really, if we have been infected already (I visited Asti twice in the last three weeks), there is little else we can do.
If nothing else, by staying put, if we are carrier of the virus, we will not spread it around.
For the rest, we have food for about ten days, and books to last us forever.

I’ll keep you posted.



So, we got a suspect Coronavirus case in our region, and Piedmont is locking up with a “preventive quarantine”, while the population is panicking. Here in Astigianistans, schools will be closed until the 2nd of March, and the same apparently will be true for museums, cinemas and theatres all over the region.
And we don’t know what next.

A few of my contacts talk about supermarkets being either empty, or being assaulted by shoppers eager to stock up before they lock themselves up in their homes.

And yesterday in a bar in Asti I heard a guy say “the only way to handle this” is to barricade ourselves up in our farmhouses, and shoot on sight anyone that comes closer.

Ten years ago, the N1H1 scare had a hundred times less impact, while being a lot more dangerous than Coronavirus.
But back then we did not have political propaganda to whip up panic and meaningless (and frankly racist) reactions all over.
Like, deserting Chinese restaurants or anything vaguely oriental – including “that supermarket where a lot of foreigners go”.
Or, really, seriously advocating shooting on sight of potential zombies, with a straight face, in a public place, while the people around you nod and say they’ll check their shotguns.

So, now the question is… what would a writer do, in such a situation?
OK, order a pizza for dinner, but then, what else…?
Ah! Watch this space for news…