December 1, 2015

Want to be a beta reader?

Yes, my first novel has been translated in english language. Is it enough for publishing? Obviously not. Translation was made by different people and, as far as I can see, has many flaws. It is now under editing but, before being ready to publish it, I need an extra effort and give it to read to someone.

This time I can't rely on my very brave (and good) Italian beta readers. It's necessary the help of someone who is a native English speaker, who is a regular reader (and lover) of science fiction and who is patient, accurate and available.

Do you find yourself in this description? You are the right person!

Please contact me via this form, I will contact you as soon as possible.

Thank you!

November 7, 2015

Discussions at the time of the Net

The other day I did something I do very rarely. I started to read some content on Facebook. I stumbled upon a post to a page related to a life experience a little alternative, something that "has no prejudices and does not give absolute answers, but offers many insights on various aspects of the conventional lifestyle". In the post it was reported a critical comment by a person obviously not convinced by this life experience. Without analysis, answers, or doubts of any kind, the comment was quickly reported, labeling it as from a 'hater', and fed to enthusiastic followers who commented it with grins and sneers.

So much, for their ability to communicate, to discuss. With no prejudices and absolute answers.

Without deepening on the page and the post in question, I think this attitude is common on the Net.

Take an Idea. Any Idea. Around the core of the Idea enthusiasts gather, who are warmly welcomed because it is nice to have followers. The Idea grows, not evolving, because it is carried on only by those who accept no half measures.
Because critics, bad or constructive, they are cut off from any discussion. Because, in fact, they may harm the Idea. They may rise some doubt. They may change the original Idea. If critics become too many, then, behold, the group starts to complain. Yes, because others do not understand. Others have prejudices.

Or, alternatively, it happens that critics are maybe a little more naughty, and maybe have a louder voice. Then they become trolls, and attack the Idea without half measures, without much discussion, destroying different views as long as nothing is left of the group that supported the Idea.

These are the discussions on the Internet. Attacks against haters. Attacks by trolls. And often it is not clear who is hater, who is troll, who is in the middle.

Often those who just want to express an opinion go away, confused or disappointed.

Because the discussion, the real one, made of the comparison between different ideas, doesn't look possible. And although the Internet tool would allow it, people probably don't care.

The important thing is to have a louder voice than others. In the name of freedom.

In short, everyone must be free to think as we do.


October 30, 2015

Safety not guaranteed - time well spent

"WANTED: someone to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. You'll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. I have only done this once before. SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED."
This is the message that appears on a local newspaper, and that attracts the attention of a journalist looking for an interesting story. Along with two interns, they will try to find out who is behind the ad and what it actually conceals.

'Safety not guaranteed' has no big claims but is very nice, clean and with a good aftertaste. The characters are not exaggerated, they are people who have to deal with the normality, the desire for something more, the need to live life to the fullest. Topics are faced lightly, with many smiles, a drizzle of sadness and a few laughs.

But really they go back in time? I won't tell you. To find out, you have to see it. No, trust me. It is time well spent.

October 23, 2015

RIPD - scenes to save

Quite noisy, colorful, moved but, in the end, a little 'empty'. I don't think I have much to 'save' for R.I.P.D..

This is a film in which Ryan Reynolds plays a cop who, after being killed in action, happens to be recruited into a special police corps (Rest In Peace Department) in charge to send back to their place all souls escaped from Purgatory. From this scenario the story moves toward solving a case involving Reynolds himself, his wife, his former partner. As well as the fate of the world.

The film is based on jokes and situations that include the classic cliché 'rookie vs veteran' typical of 'buddy cops' films, and some gags tied to the souls escaped, the 'deados' as they are called. There is not much, however, and even the best gags are repeated several times just to play it safe.

What we save, then? Obviously the character of Jeff Bridges, a marshall of the old West played with style and temper, and therefore much enjoyable.

September 28, 2015

Season/Series - the first of Inside No.9

While I am going to enjoy the second season of Inside No.9, I can try to throw a glance back at the first season.

Inside No.9 is a British series classifiable in the 'dark comedy' genre. The first season consisted of six half-hour episodes. It is an anthology series, meaning that each episode is a story in itself and is self-contained. The common theme, in addition to death and the dark side of the human soul, is the fact of being always set to the 'number 9' of something. An apartment, a house, a dressing room, and so on.

The authors, Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith, appear in almost every episode interpreting very different characters. They were also the authors of the series Psychoville, for those who knew it. There are, in fact, some similarities between Psychoville and Inside No.9, although in my opinion the latter is far superior.

The pilot, Sardines, is perfect and inspiring, and it is why I immediately dedicated myself to the series. The story begins with a game of hide and seek in reverse, with the various players hiding gradually, like sardines, in the same cabinet. The dialogues introduce the characters and the various relationships with excellent style, and the dark side emerges, subtle, until the unexpected ending. I found it amazing how such a complete story has been stuffed into an half-hour episode.

The second episode, A quiet night in, shows an attempted theft in a villa. Very little dialogue, this time. Almost none. It is all played on alternating the characters in the rooms of the villa. Perfect timing, and a story that emerges by itself. A few laughs, despite the dramatic side. One of the best episodes.

The talent of the authors shows great again in Tom and Gerri, an actual thriller in which an aspiring writer is in trouble when helping a homeless man becomes a threat to his own identity.

Back to light tone in Last gasp. The death of a famous pop star while he is inflating a balloon becomes the occasion for conflict when everyone tries to appropriate the balloon itself, valuable 'last breath' of the famous singer.

In The understudy we have a thriller again. The protagonist is replacing a famous stage actor and is, after a serious accident of the star, having the opportunity to make a real change to his career. But whoever arranged this chance?

The arrowing ends the season with a gothic horror. A baby sitter is invited to watch the mysterious older brother of two very obscure and bizarre characters. Many jokes accompany the increasing tension up to the room of the 'brother' and the striking final.

A good season, a beautiful series. If you like british humor, even when it passes a little bit the comfort zone, and if you like well written and well performed stories, then it is definitely worth watching. It is time well spent.

September 22, 2015

Kingdom Rush - played it

When you write video games reviews a plus is that, compared to books and films, you do not run the risk of seeming an arrogant expert of Literature and Cinematography. If you review a game, you are a 'dirty player'. And on that game you've spent time. Playing.

And, I noticed just recently, I have never reviewed games.

Do we start with Kingdom Rush?

It is a game from Ironhide Game Studio, an interpretation of the most classic 'tower defense' genre: waves of enemies that attack moving on predetermined paths; defensive units upgradeable during the match; victory or defeat depending on the number of enemies that cross the finish line at the end of the path.

Bought with a Humble Bundle, for Windows, Linux and Android (note: it plays very well both on touch screen and on television with an air mouse). It was a good purchase, considering that we played for months, me and my two children. And we haven't got tired yet.

What are the strong points? First of all simplicity: even the 4 year old was able, in a short time, to learn rules, controls and game dynamics. Maybe he did not learn advanced strategies but got through the first levels independently.

Another strong point is definitely sympathy and attractiveness: the comic look and variety of characters, animations and sound effects make the game attractive, and encourage to explore and try levels, characters and new units.

I add the variety of game to the pros. There are various units, according to different paths for improvement: foot soldiers can become barbarians or knights in armor; bowmen may progress to elves or riflemen; wizards can become dark necromancers or benign sorcerers. There are many combinations to try, to choose, to be taken as a favorite strategy.

In conclusion Kingdom Rush is a good game, solid and fun.Well made, suitable for family fun (or solo) when you can enjoy twenty o more minutes of leisure time.

September 14, 2015


I hadn't seen many films from Danny Boyle. In Trance, The Millionaire and 28 days later. I liked all of them. Therefore, despite the trailer for Sunshine had not raised much curiosity in me, I wanted to trust the director.

The film tells the story of a group of astronauts that, due to the imminent loss of activity of the Sun, must 'awaken' it by placing a powerful nuclear device inside the star.

Take a starship. Move to a star. Drop a bomb.

Indeed, with such a plot, the risk is to run into a Solaris (sooo boring) or an Armageddon (zero thickness) and, in both cases, the only result is to mark those two hours as 'time spent badly'.

Yes, because in a film in which the protagonists have to place a super bomb in the dying sun, what can happen?

Nothing can happen, because they are aboard an hyper automated space stuff, so you end up watching two hours of wonderful scenes of the spaceship, the space, the stars and the astronauts doing boring things like playing chess and experience hallucinations.

Or everything can happen, because they are in an extreme situation, and at this point you end up watching two hours of people and computers going completely nuts and inventing implausible things and pushing implausible buttons to get to destination, dying on the run like leaves in autumn.

Or, come on, something in between.

Absolutely beautiful pictures next to something that happens.

So in Sunshine you can follow a decent plot combined with spectacular images. The plot is decent because, although not entirely original (*), pushes to follow with apprehension to see what happens next. The spectacular images complete the experience very well and, actually, are the icing on the cake. The dying sun, still so beautiful and deadly that seems to remind us when it was considered a deity itself. And the deaths of various characters, much cured visually. Every death is almost a painting.

Ultimately it is a watchable film. Time is not wasted. There are no 'mind blowing' ideas or peculiar 'what if's, and probably it will not be a story of those who remain in the memory for decades, but everything runs well.

(*) Final note: we often 'complain' lack of originality in a plot, but it is not the lack of originality that is a flaw. A plot is beautiful when we want to follow it and when it it leaves something. And, in this sense, an idea already proposed can be revived in an interesting way.
Just as an original concept can be ugly or totally anonymous.
Or not?