Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


2 Comments

Something that should not be done

One should never write about a book before reaching at least the midpoint – how otherwise could we express our opinions in an informed, intelligent way?
But sometimes a little enthusiasm is OK, and so, while my e-reader tells me I am 4% into the book I am currently reading, I think I’ll give it a shout-out, because after forty-odd years spent reading, and reading imaginative fiction, I think I developed a certain instinct.
And this is a good book.

Continue reading


Leave a comment

Letting someone else read Deathstalker for me

I have always appreciated the work of Simon R. Green – of the many, many books of his that I’ve read so far, there is only one that I found less than entertaining. I discovered him through his Hawk & Fisher books, that kept me company for a long, lonesome summer many years ago, and I took it from there. His Blue Moon novels, his Nightside stories, his Carnacki ghost stories…

I also like what transpires from his interviews and articles: his work ethic, his craft-oriented approach to writing. He’s an entertainer, an author of escapist fiction that does not need to make excuses for what he does admirably well. Probably nobody will have their lives radically turned around by reading Simon R. Green, but maybe we’re not looking for a life altering experience… we’re just looking for good, old-fashioned fun. And really, an author that cites among his major influences Leigh Bracket and Michael Moorcock, Robert E. Howard and Roger Zelazny, Norman Spinrad and Harlan Ellison… of course I want to read his books! It sounds like we went to the same school together!

Continue reading


8 Comments

Atlantis, Lemuria and Mu

Lost continents are a lot of fun, and have been used as the venue for sword & sorcery adventures since the the every beginning. Robert E. Howard’s Kull was an Atlantean barbarian, and Conan plied his trade after the sinking of Atlantis, and I really always had a soft spot for Henry Kuttner’s Elak of Atlantis, hero of a short series of stories I first read in the mid ’80s. And of course Lin Carter’s Thongor roamed Lemuria and environs, lands crowded with sorcerers, strange technology and dinosaurs.

In the recent evenings, I’ve had a lot of fun with Heroes of Atlantis & Lemuria, recently published by DMR Books.

Continue reading


2 Comments

Gateway Drug: Michael Moorcock’s The War Hound and the World’s Pain

I like fantasy.
I like genre fiction in general – I read it, I write it, sometimes I play evangelist (which sounds better than “sometimes I bore my friends’ socks off talking about fantasy books”).
Like this morning, when a friend told me

I was never able to go beyond Tom Bombadil, and just like with Harry Potter, I think the films were better. I guess I don’t like fantasy so much.

If you felt like a cold Hyrkanian blade piecing your heart at the above lines, if you felt the burn of some obscure Melnibonean poison course through your veins, you know how I felt.

Continue reading


Leave a comment

Learning stuff

I was talking with a friend, about one hour ago, about books. Yeah, I know, I know… I should go out more, but that’s what we book people talk about when we have a chat – books. We are both working on some new material (I’ll tell you one of these days) and we are both staying away from fiction right now, and reading non fiction.

And it turned out we’ve been learning new things recently, and we keep trying to learn more. And that’s seen as something unnatural by many – there’s this idea you go to school, learn what you need to learn… learn all you need to learn, and you’re set. Off to getting a job you go, a job you’ll do for the rest of your life, hating it every minute, until you retire or die, whatever comes first.

Continue reading


Leave a comment

The League of Extraordinary Lady Writers

Looks like I chose the right time to brush up my French: yesterday, French publisher Les Moutons Electrique (which is the French for Philip K. Dick’s Electric Sheep) announced the launch, in March 2020, of a new line of novels, collectively known as La Ligue des écrivaines extraordinairesThe League of Extraordinary Lady Writers, that is: five novels written by five popular French writers, featuring a bunch of popular writers against a bunch of popular creatures of the night, the lot currently open as a crowdfunding.

Continue reading


8 Comments

From Hell they came…

There was a time, more or less when I was in high-school, when horror was big. And I mean BIG. I have this clear memory of the girls in my high-school class swapping big fat books: Stephen King, Peter Straub, Dean Koontz and V.C. Andrews most of all. There was this sort of underground book club going, and there were always new titles coming, mostly from a paperback publisher called Sperling & Kupfer.
Boys did not read, or if they did they went for science fiction or comic books, and fantasy was small and read by both boys and girls, but at least in my biased memory, it was the female of the species that really loved horror novels.

Continue reading