Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


Leave a comment

Visions of the Apocalypse

Usually, I joke about the fat that I have a double identity, just like Bruce Wayne but without the money, the cool car and the cloak. I am an environmental scientist and a writer of imaginative fiction. I have enjoyed ample opportunities to tap my academical background for inspiration in my literary pursuits, but the chances to do the opposite are pretty non-existent.

Visioni dell’apocalisse. L’immaginario cinematografico della fine del mondo

I am therefore extremely grateful to doctor Stella Marega of the University of Trieste, that involved me in a nice volume that is just out now: Visioni dell’Apocalisse (Visions of the Apocalypse). As the subtitle reads, this is a book about “the imagination of cinema and the end of the world.”
The essays within range from the urban landscape of future Los Angeles in science fiction movies to the plague of zombies.
And I contributed an essay called No Marigolds in the Promised Land: the Ecology of the Apocalypse, about books and movies that deal with ecological and environmental disasters, from H.G. Wells to Mad Max: Fury Road.

This work was a blast, and I am really sorry the book is only available in Italian. But I am also damn proud.


Leave a comment

The 2018 Christmas Book Haul, a gallery

Is there anything better than receiving a few Amazon Gift Credits for Christmas? Well, yes, there’s the fact that a few publishers are doing a massive holiday sale on their ebooks. And so one can indulge in that most decadent of pleasures–browse the Amazon shelves and just throw stuff in the shopping basket, without a care in the world.
Add the books that friends and family give you for Christmas, and you end up with a HUGE book haul.

So, why not put up a gallery?

Continue reading


Leave a comment

Insomnia Movies: The Stone Tape

Yesterday my friend Lucy did a great post about Quatermass and the Pit (the article is in Italian, but you can use Google Translate) so I decided I’d like to watch it again. To me Quatermass and the Pit in color is always a strange experience because I first saw it on the telly, when I was a kid, and it was in black and white and I still remember it in black and white.

quatermassquadlarge1

But anyway, I was not able to find my copy, that lies buried somewhere. So, as I was going through a bout of insomnia and I was in a Quatermass kind of mood, I picked up another thing by Quatermass creator Nigel Kneale, and I re-watched The Stone Tape. And then I thought I’d do a post about it.
Here we go. Continue reading


Leave a comment

The Vizier’s Second Daughter

Travel back in time to kidnap historical figures for a few days, which then produce neural copies for the entertainment industry. It’s a job like any other, for “Bill” Billings.
A short orientation course, and then a jump in the past, to extract another subject. In Baghdad, in the ninth century, this time, to kidnap Scheherazade, the daughter of the Vizier, the greatest storyteller of her time.
Only, this time it does not work out as expected.
Not only does Bill kidnap the wrong girl, but a failure of his time machine deposits him and his unexpected companion… elsewhere.
Very much elsewhere.
Is it simply a post-human future, as Bill suggests, or is it the land of the Jinns, as claimed by the second-born of the Vizier? Continue reading


Leave a comment

Plans and changes thereof

The old song Nothing Ever Goes as Planned by Styx should become my theme tune.
As I think I mentioned elsewhere, I have been writing like mad and I still am – lots of deadlines, lots of bills to pay.
Ugly.
And last night I finally decided that it’s thumbs down for Counterspinner, my hard-SF novella aimed at Tor.com.
The story is solid, and I like the way it’s shaping up, but quite simply I will not make it in time for the narrow submission window available.
Whichis a damn pity, but it is important to recognize one’s own limits.
I will still write it, but not now.

And on the other hand, renouncing an opportunity like an unagented submission for Tor.com is simply crazy.
But… Continue reading


2 Comments

Pitches

And then there is this idea of pitching a few novels to a few publishers.
Because who needs to sleep anyway?

Right now I have a serial project that’s doing the tours of a pair of local publishers. Short, novella length regional-focused mysteries, sort of a cozy version of BUSCAFUSCO, written in team with a good friend that’s providing local color and a much-needed second brain.
This is really a project tailored on the public: let’s write a series that will appeal to both male and female readers, with a local interest but marketable all over the country and maybe even exported in Europe. Something fast, fun, unusual, intelligent and popular at the same time.
Our pitch-package is the fist three chapters (about 5000 words) of a proposed 30/40.000-words first episode, plus a complete detailed outline of the story and a full bible for the series.
We are waiting for an answer from a prospect publisher, and at the same time evaluating other possible targets.

far_future1

While this is doing the rounds, I am getting ready to pitch two science fiction novels to two separate publishers. Smart, modern hard SF with current topics and events as a focus.
Maybe it’s translating Central Station, but I’d really love to go back to my genre with something I think is missing from what my Italian colleagues are doing. There is an unexplored niche, and it would be good to start exploring it.
The idea is to do an Earth-based story and a space-based one.
Both of these are long shots, but having the time, I’d like to put together a pitch-pack like the one described above, three chapters and a complete outline, and start to test prospect publishers.

These, of course, are projects for the summer.
If I’ll still have a home, by then.
Wish me luck.