Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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“A bland book most suitable for female readers”

The Tar-Aiym Krang was a great way to spend a couple of afternoons reading old science fiction: adventure, intrigue, strange aliens, mysterious technology, a surprisingly sympathetic protagonist that manages not to be irritating despite being so damn good at everything… great. Also, it was like making an acquaintance again with an old friend. Two, actually, both Pip and Flinx.
The idea at this point was to go through another Alan Dean Foster book recovered from one of my emergency stacks, but then something interesting happened.
Well, interesting…

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Maureen O’Hara’s Birthday

Yeah, I know, I said I’d take the weekend off and not post, but then, stuff keeps happening.
And today it’s the birthday of beautiful, spirited and talented Maureen O’Hara, Miss Technicolor herself, and one of the part-time muses of Karavansara as she is the one that coined the term Tits & Sand.

So tonight I think I’ll watch Sinbad the Sailor one more time.


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Barry Hughart, 1924-2019

I have just learned of the death, at the age of 95, of American writer Barry Hughart, whose Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox is easily one of the series of books that had the strongest impact on me as a reader, as a writer (for what I am worth) and as an individual.
Looking back, I can see the roots of a lot of my interests and passions to the first meeting with the wonderful strangeness of Bridge of Birds, the fist Chronicle of Master Li.

With its strange mixture of fantasy and history, its roots in folklore and legend, it sometimes science-fictional twists, and it humor, Bridge of Birds remains one of my favorite fantasies, and it’s the sort of thing I have in mind when I start writing a new story.
I’ll never be that good, but it’s all right – it’s good to aim high.

Barry Hughart interrupted his series after three novels, because he was displeased at the way his publisher was handling his work.
That was a terrible loss for all of us – a loss that Hughart death seals forever.
He will be sorely missed.


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Just like when I was in high school – a long reading weekend

Back when I was in high-school I spent a lot of time reading, and the summer was a particularly intense time. Indeed, I started reading in English because books in English lasted longer, and I had been reading through all of the readily available fantasy and science fiction on the bookstore shelves.

My teenage summers were filled with stories by Jack Vance, Poul Anderson, Gordon R. Dickson, C.J. Cherryh, Tanith Lee and Anne McCaffrey – to name just a few, that I still read and enjoy today.
Then, this morning, I chanced upon a conversation on Facebook about the literary merits of Alan Dean Foster – another staple of my young diet as a reader. These days Foster is known in my country mostly because of his novelizations, but back in the days his Pip & Flinx stories and his Humanx Commonwealth novels were very popular. Then things changed, and today the only books by Foster that get translated are his movie tie-ins.
This got me thinking.

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One from the Frontier

My Patrons – lucky guys! – have just received their copy of Shadow of the Ephemeral, a short story in the ongoing Tales from the Frontier, my somewhat Talbot Mundi-esque loose series of short tales set on the border between not-exactly-India and China-but-yet-again-not.

In the story, we meet the exalted Rakhshan Hortonho Bakkar, warrior-poet of Mangtani, Lord of the Spice Islands, Most Favored by the Heavens, as he leaves the Court of the Rani behind and travels to the mountain to pursue the Ephemeral that is the true meaning of life.
You can imagine the rest.
Or maybe not.

The story is available to all my supporters in the Five Bucks Brigade (or above), because you know what they say, it is good to be my Patrons.