blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Roamers – Francesco Verso, translated by Jennifer Delare

The pulldogs, a group of people at the twilight of Western civilisation, undergo an anthropological transformation caused by the dissemination of nanites (nanorobots capable of assembling molecules to create matter). This technology changes the way they eat and gives rise to a culture which, while reminiscent of an ancient nomadic society, is creative and new. Liberation from the imperative of food, combined with the ability to 3D print objects and use cloud computing, makes it possible for the pulldogs to make a choice that seems impossible and anachronistic – a new life, but is it really an Arcadia?

Francesco Verso (Bologna, 1973) is one of the most relevant voices of Italian Science Fiction and editor of Future Fiction. Over the last 12 years, he has won many SF awards (including the Best Publisher Award by the European SF Society in 2019) and for 7 years he’s the editor of the multicultural project Future Fiction. His books include: Antidoti umani, e-Doll (Urania Award 2009), Nexhuman (Odissea and Italia Award 2013), Bloodbusters (Urania Award 2015) and I camminatori (made of The Pulldogs and No/Mad/Land). His novels Nexhuman and Bloodbusters – translated in English by Sally McCorry – have been published in the US, UK, and soon in China with the translation of Zhang Fan and Shaoyan Hu for the publisher Bofeng Culture. His short stories appeared in magazines like Robot, MAMUT, International Speculative Fiction #5, Chicago Quarterly Review #20, Words Without Borders, Future Affairs Administration and international anthologies such as A Dying Earth (Flame Tree Press) and The Best of World SF (Head of Zeus).

Together with Bill Campbell he has co-edited Future Fiction: New Dimensions in International Science Fiction (Rosarium Publishing, 2018). He has also edited a SF anthology called What’s the Future Like? for Guangzhou Blue Ocean Press that has been distributed to Chinese high schools and universities in 2019. He’s a public speaker and panelist to many SF Cons across the world, including WorldCons, EuroCons, and Chinese SF Conventions. In 2020 he has organized the FutureCon an online SF convention with 67 panelists coming from more than 25 countries.

From 2014 he works as editor of Future Fiction, a multicultural project, scouting and publishing the best SF in translation from 10 languages and more than 20 countries with authors like James P. Kelly, Ian McDonald, Ken Liu, Xia Jia, Liu Cixin, Chen Qiufan, Pat Cadigan, Olivier Paquet, Vandana Singh, Lavie Tidhar, Fabio Fernandes, Ekaterina Sedia and others. He lives in Rome with his wife and daughter. He may be found online at

My thoughts: in a future version of Rome, where society has eroded, the Pulldogs, who tow rickshaws around the city, dodging in and out of the heavy traffic, have taken slightly dubiously acquired nanites that supercharge their bodies. Nico, who designs scents for his father’s business, becomes determined to use nanites to lose weight and then to become part of their off grid community.

After a standoff with the police ends in tragedy, they decide to become a nomadic society instead, and some have begun to evolve even beyond humanity.

Silvia is the Pulldog at the centre of the story – unlike some of the others, she has a link to the rest of the world – her mother, and questions the changes and increasingly antagonistic relationship between her found family and the wider world.

An interesting and at times quite complex book about community, escaping from the expected world and finding your family and home.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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