Friday, November 19, 2010


Astral Disruption

40K (Fortykey) are a publishing house based in Italy. They specialise in ebooks in a variety of languages, Italian, English, French, Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese. Each of their ebooks is a short story or essay with an average length of 40,000 characters, in other words about 8000 words, hence the company name. So far they have published works by Bruce Sterling, Dario Tonani, Jacob Appel, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Thierry Crouzet, Paul Di Filippo, Mike Resnick and many others. The list of great authors is growing all the time and prices are low, just €2.90 per ebook.

I am pleased that some of my own efforts are going to be issued by 40K. First up is a story I wrote called 'The Astral Disruptor', the inaugural exploit in a projected series of tales set in the imaginary land of Litalia, where every city is named after an Italian writer and has some inherent quality reminiscent of the style of that writer. 'The Astral Disruptor' ('Il Disgregatore Astrale' in Italian) is set in the city of Buzzati and features the renowned absurdity investigator, Sampietro Mischief. I hope to write many more adventures involving this fine gentleman and his monstrous servant, Chives, probably set in other Litalian cities, such as Eco, Levi, Gadda, Dante, Ariosto and Svevo, etc.

To be published in Italian is, for me, a deeply satisfying experience, as it's no secret that my favourite writer of all time is Italo Calvino. One of the things I love so much about Calvino is that he says everything I want to say, and says it better than I could manage, thus saving me the trouble of making the attempt (which is what a kind editor recently said about my own work). Almost everything I write is inspired by Calvino in some way or other... For 40K I have also started a series of interviews with important modern writers. Bruce Sterling was first on my list. At the moment I am interviewing another enormously clever and innovative writer, Paul Di Filippo. That interview will be in two parts. Part one is already available here.

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