Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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Ocean of Storms

It’s been fifty years, give or take a few days, since we first set foot on the Moon. One of man’s greatest achievements, one we should be all proud of.
I was there, sitting on the floor in front of the telly. I was two years old and I only have very confused memories of the screen and the excitement around me – and probably they are second-hand, false memories.

The doorstep of the universe, and we had finally placed a foot on it.
Then things went differently than what we dreamed.
We had to think about “real important stuff”, I guess, like building bigger cars.

But moon dreams are what pays my bills, so I wrote a story.
A short hard SF number, about the Moon, and the future, and us.
It’s called Ocean of Storms, and I’ve just delivered it in various formats to my Patrons.

Because it’s good to be my patron, or so they say.


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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.


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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


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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


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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


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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