Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Un piatto di zuppa in El-Ghibli

Il nano che mi serve il piatto di zuppa così bollente da infuocarmi le guance e riscaldarmi il cuore, è basso e tarchiato, con un ampio sorriso benevolo. La tovaglia è di cotone, a quadretti rossi e gialli. Il tavolo è coperto di oggetti di vetro, sembra la bottega di un farmacista. Il giallo dell’olio d’oliva e il rosso dell’aceto brillano lucenti dentro eleganti bottiglie. Bicchieri da vino di differenti fogge e misure stanno l’uno accanto all’altro. Tovaglioli color giallo sole giacciono arrotolati tra le pieghe dei loro contenitori in legno. “Roma! Roma!” Il cameriere si mostra impaziente mentre cerco di scoprire di più sulle origini di quest’allettante zuppa. “Genova? Sardegna?” Dal brodo spesso sale del vapore.

 El Ghibli's archives show my story in both English and Italian.

You can still read the archived story here at Wattpad:


Shelling Peas and History Lessons

My story is now out in Mascara Literary Review in Australia. Check it out!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A bowl of zuppa in El-Ghibli

A bowl of zuppa

sushma josh

The dwarf who serves me the bowl of heart-warming, cheek-blushingly hot bowl of zuppa on that cold winter’s evening is short and squat, with a warm, stretched-out smile. The cloth on the table is cotton, checked with red and yellow. The tabletop is filled with glassware, like an apothecary’s shop. Olive oil and vinegar sparkle with red and yellow clarity inside elegant bottles. Wine glasses in different shapes and sizes stand side by side. Sunshine-yellow napkins nestle in the rounded depths of wooden holders.

My travel memoir about my visit to Roma was published in El-Ghibli's Anno 7, Numero 28 issue on June 2010. 

The story is now archived in Wattpad, here.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

ECS Review: Home / Page Turner/ New Nepal, New Voices

ECS Review

New Nepal, New Voices... new writers, new ideas, great reading. That’s my first take on this book of short stories edited by two Kathmandu-based Nepali writers, Sushma Joshi and Ajit Baral, each of whom has an enviable background in the expressive arts. The anthology features 15 story tellers and all but one story takes place in Nepal, the exception being ‘The face of Carolyn Flint’, about the (fictional?) American acquaintance of a Nepali living in California. Most of the authors are Nepali, some with familiar names on the Nepalese writing scene (e.g., Manjushree Thapa, Sushma Joshi, Sanjeev Uprety and others). Two are long-term Nepal-resident expats (Greta Rana and Wayne Amtzis). Maybe some of the authors use pseudonyms. That’s okay, for talent does not stop with one’s name, or nationality, or political persuasion. Art is universal, as this collection clearly demonstrates.

In this moment of tremendous change and great hope for Nepal (yet to be fully realized), this is a timely book, for it shows off one area where many artists in, from, or about Nepal excel: in creative writing, despite (or perhaps fueled by) trouble in the streets and the political malaise.

The stories here cover a diverse array of ideas and issues, including character sketches, social traumas, personal imperfections, psycho-drama, family troubles—but don’t misunderstand, the themes are not all negative. Most appear here in print for the first time, but at least two have been published before to prior critical acclaim. Some story titles are provocative; e.g., ‘Love and lust in the Maoist hinterland’ by Ajit Baral, ‘Dark Kathmandu sideways’ by
Peter John Karthak, ‘Heroes and onions’ by Sanjeev Uprety. Some titles look plain, even mundane, like ‘The hill’ by Greta Rana—but don’t be fooled, this particular hill packs a powerful punch! And check out the short-titled ‘Tattoo’ by Soham Dhakal, ‘Downpour’ by Madan K. Limbu and ‘Rent’ by Gyanu Sharma. The shortest of the stories in the anthology have promising titles: ‘Walk Fast’ and ‘Scorpion’s Sting’.

The editors wanted “effable, humorous, beautiful stories,” for this book. “And we got them,” they say. That they received more good tales than they could publish, and that choosing which to print here was not easy, is encouraging, for it means that there are more good writers out there for future anthologies...

According to the Contributors list, some of the authors are full time writers and some work in other professions and simply like to write. Dhakal, for example, is a software professional who happens to enjoy poetry, screenplay and short story writing. And while Amtzis is a writer and poet, he’s also a photographer. Karthak undoubtedly gets grist for his stories from his past engagements as a rock bandleader, studio musician, croupier/casino inspector, highway builder, lecturer, travel agent and tourist guide. On the other hand, ‘Tara’, we learn, is simply “a writer from Kathmandu.” Okay. All are talented, and I’m impressed knowing that for some of them English is undoubtedly a second or third language.

The editors are also kind to the non-Nepali readers in the audience by providing a Glossary, ranging from abhor (vermillion) to yogini (female yogi) and including kuire, Nepali slang for a Caucasian or white person; it literally means “foggy eyes”. So it does The stories here are good reads, and this anthology is recommended to all who appreciate good writing.

Published by Rupa & Co., New Delhi, 2008. 187pp. Available in Kathmandu bookstores for NRs 312.

Monday, June 07, 2010

The Mammoth Book of Apocalyptic SF

About a year ago, I got an email from Mike Ashley. Would I, he enquired, give him permission to reprint my story "The End of the World" in an anthology about apocalyptic fiction?

Sure, I said. The idea of being published in an apocalyptic anthology thrilled me (as those of you who know me knew it would).

And so here it is: The Mammoth Book of Apocalyptic Sci-Fi, at #393 in the Amazon.com ranking in the UK, which is not a ranking to sneeze at at all. Even if you have just been dosed with Anthrax.

The Mammoth Book of Apocalyptic SF
The last sixty years have been full of stories of one or other possible Armageddon, whether by nuclear war, plague, cosmic catastrophe or, more recently, global warming, terrorism, genetic engineering, AIDS and other pandemics. These stories, both pre- and post-apocalyptic, describe the fall of civilization, the destruction of the entire Earth, or the end of the Universe itself. Many of the stories reflect on humankind's infinite capacity for self-destruction, but the stories are by no means all downbeat or depressing - one key theme explores what the aftermath of a cataclysm might be and how humans strive to survive.

About the Author
Mike Ashley is a leading authority on science fiction, fantasy, crime and weird fiction. He has written or edited over 90 books, including The Mammoth Book of King Arthur, The Mammoth Book of Extreme SF, The Mammoth Encycopedia of Crime Fiction and Starlight Man, the biography of Algernon Blackwood, which, in total, have sold over a million copies worldwide. He lives in Chatham, Kent with his wife, three cats and over 30,000 books.

To buy this Mammoth Book, go to:

Just don't blame me if the world comes to an end...