East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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Deeper in India

16349Yesterday was a good day – the friendly postman dropped on my doorstep a very used but quite fine copy of Gordon Johnson’s Cultural Atlas of India, a 1996 book that will be indispensable for my work on the GreyWorld Project and that, from a cursory browsing as soon as I pulled it out of its package, is also a fine read.

Basically, Johnson’s book follows the twin tracks of India’s cultural unity and diversity while tracing a history of the sub-continent. It is a wonderful resource for my work: the volume is very thorough, with a lot of box-outs for special interest features, full of gorgeous pictures and a wealth of maps.
It will make for a fascinating read in the next few nights1. Continue reading

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Taking care of my hands

The main drawback of spending eight hours a day typing is the increasing finger and hands pain.
This is a real problem.

Cracking the joints is counterproductive – in the long run, it can have very bad consequences.

workraveicoSo, apart from firing up WorkRave and timing my daily routine to minimize traumas, I’m currently going through my old massage handbooks to find a few quick and easy solutions.
Granted, arthritis cannot be solved by simple massages, but at least a symptomatic solution can be found.
This is not my first post on the subject, but I think the matter can be of interest to writers and intensive keyboard users out there.
So, here goes. Continue reading

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Between the desert and the deep blue sea

dune-cover1I’m going through the final push on the first draft of my new novel, a science fiction work that has gone under the working title of Matter/Energy, and later under the tentative title of Nothing Exists Alone.
It’s a big, sprawling hard SF story, which touches upon politics, and environmental sciences, while telling basically a (hopefully!) thrilling adventure yarn. It connects closely with my passion for oceanography, and takes place almost entirely beneath the sea.

And during the weekend I went back to Frank Herbert’s Dune, because I needed to fine tune my writing1 – and Herbert’s novel is a prime example of what I’d like to do, in terms of economy of writing.
Even though I’ll never be as good as Frank Herbert, of course. Continue reading

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The politics of dancing

Boris+Vallejo+-+Conan+ouvrant+une+bouteilleAnd so the old story popped up again – the fact that certain genres and certain types of stories have an innate ideological color.
Stuff like, basically, “sword & sorcery is right wing literature1.

I find the notion scary enough when expressed by people that usually do not read the genres they are politically or ideologically tagging. The thing becomes absolutely creepy when it’s writers that say stuff like that.

Is fantasy really intrinsically ‘fascist‘, horror ‘misogynistic’, science fiction ‘libertarian’ (whatever that means), steampunk ‘reactionary’…
Always and no matter what?
Isn’t it a little unlikely? Continue reading


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