Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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Douglas Barbour Award

I’ve been pushing uphill for weeks now, entangled in a number of projects.
But last night I got a big surprise – the anthology Water: Selkies, Sirens & Sea Monsters, edited by Rhonda Parrish, was awarded the Douglas Barbour Award for the Speculative Fiction Book of the Year by the Book Publishers Association of Alberta (BPAA).

The book includes a short story of mine – The Man that Speared Octopodes.
A small aquatic horror number.
I am proud to have contributed in a minimal part to the success of this anthology.


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Dinosaurs of Summer: Unknown Island, 1948

This could be dismissed as a cut-rate King Kong rip-off – but it’s the last weekend of August, I am done writing for this week, and so, why not have some cheap fun with an old movie?

Unknown Island is a 1948 movie featuring, among others, Virginia Grey – a B-movie actress who appeared in dozens of movies in the 40s – Troy Denning, that some might remember as one of the guy in Creature from the Black Lagoon, and Ray Crash Corrigan, a famous stuntman and ape-suited actor, here portraying a giant Ground sloth.
This is quality entertainment.

The plot is pretty straightforward – US pilot Ted Osborne flew over an island in the South Pacific and spotted some dinosaurs; now, after the end of the war, he gets his rich fiancee Carol Lane to bankroll an expeditions to the island. They hire a very unsavory captain Tarnowski (you know he’s a scumbag because he’s got an Eastern European name) and take along a former USMC captain, John Fairbanks, that was stranded on the island and came back to civilization with a strong case of PTSD he’s been keeping at bay with alcohol.
They get to the island, and then everything goes pear-shaped.

And we’re here for it.

As it usually happens in these films, we get a wild mix of prehistoric fauna – a brontosauros, a dimetrodon, a ceratosaurus, plus the aforementioned giant sloth.
Not scientifically plausible, but we’re here for adventure, not for a lecture in paleontology.
And a modicum of adventure we get – featuring mutinous crews, the sleazy captain, and the confrontation between the USAF and the USMC for the heart of Carol Lane.
And really, Virginia Grey is beautiful.

So, yes, it’s cheap, it’s silly, the special effects are dubious, the characterization is superficial.
But there’s dinosaurs in it, and that’s good enough.

Unknown Island fell into the public domain for a bureaucratic twitch, and can be found in a variety of venues, including Youtube.

While the badge on the video says this is a colorized version, the movie was actually shot in color.


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Another (great) review for Bloodwood

The central group of The Raiders of Bloodwood are a lovely bunch though, and the fact that they’re mostly just normal people makes their interactions and their journey the real highlight of the story. The small moments when they’re travelling together, telling stories around the campfire at night, or helping each other down a steep hill without falling down, make for some of the best moments. Mana gives you a chance to get to know them, to see them as regular people so that you come to like them and care about them; and so that you begin to worry about them when their lives come into danger.

UK based blogger Amy Walker posted a beautiful, in-depth review of The Raiders of Bloodwood – and she really liked it!
And I an particularly happy that Amy actually appreciated my choice of characters and the way I wrote them. I might start to think that I am actually really good.

You can find the complete review on the Trans-Scribe Blog.