East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


Autumn & De Lint

I am longing for Autumn.
I’m a guy for half-seasons, Spring and Autumn are fine with me. Winter is too cold and dark here where I live, and summer is too damn hot and lonesome.
But in Spring and Autumn temperatures are acceptable, and it rains, and the countryside has wonderful colors. And I tend to prefer Autumn because it comes without an extra of hay fever and allergies.


I was thinking about autumn last night as I was writing a scene in which two gypsy wagons cross a hilly country in late September. I knew what I was looking to achieve, but I failed to. Continue reading

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There are two questions that usually pop up during interviews, and they are

  1. Where do you get your ideas?
  2. What authors inspired you to become a writer?

The answer to the first is, of course, Schenectady.
The answer to the second, for me, is a little more complicated – or at least lengthier – because I am convinced that if we are readers – and writers can’t not be readers – then everything we read is a source of inspiration.
This kind of answer usually is interpreted as evasive by interviewers, so I usually have a list of authors I recite like a mantra.

And I thought it might be interesting to write a list, not only of authors, but also of the books by those authors I found inspiring. The books that made me say

THIS! This is what I want to write.

Who knows, maybe you need some reading suggestions for what’s left of summer. Here we go. Continue reading


Raymond Chandler’s Birthday

“down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid. He is the hero; he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor—by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it. He must be the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world.

Raymond Chandler

“He will take no man’s money dishonestly and no man’s insolence without a due and dispassionate revenge. He is a lonely man and his pride is that you will treat him as a proud man or be very sorry you ever saw him.

Bogie reading Chandler

“The story is this man’s adventure in search of a hidden truth, and it would be no adventure if it did not happen to a man fit for adventure. If there were enough like him, the world would be a very safe place to live in, without becoming too dull to be worth living in.”
― Raymond Chandler

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“The only thing worth writing about is people. People. Human beings. Men and women whose individuality must be created, line by line, insight by insight. If you do not do it, the story is a failure. […] There is no nobler chore in the universe than holding up the mirror of reality and turning it slightly, so we have a new and different perception of the commonplace, the everyday, the ‘normal’, the obvious. People are reflected in the glass. The fantasy situation into which you thrust them is the mirror itself. And what we are shown should illuminate and alter our perception of the world around us. Failing that, you have failed totally.”
― Harlan Ellison

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The Wuthering Heights of July 1978

I have just sold a piece to a music magazine about an old record that’s part of my youth.
I am quite happy, thank you.
And now, I don’t often speak about music on Karavansara, but when I do, it’s about artists that tell stories with their songs. In the end, if I look at the records and artists that I consider part of my education (for better or for worse) I find that, while often very different for genre and approach, they all are, in one way or another, storytellers.

kick-coverCase in point, Kate Bush, and her record The Kick Inside, the 1978 debut album I have just retro-reviewed for a magazine.
I will not get into an in-depth analysis or whatever. Re-listening to it I realized the amount of storytelling, and the sophisticated, jumping-POV technique Kate Bush used.
Now, truth to be told, my favorite Kate Bush record is Never Forever, from 1980. It was the first Kate Bush record I bought, and I had to smuggle it in my house, because my mother hated Kate Bush, and this is the story I want to tell you. Because it’s fun, it’s weird, and I couldn’t put it in my article. Continue reading

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Gardner Dozois, 1947-2018

Six years ago, when I first self-published a science fiction story of mine, a guy on Facebook told me he would only read my work the day it would be selected by Gardner Dozois for one of his anthologies.
Then, and no sooner, he told me, he would be convinced my work was worth reading. Until then, he could not care less.

Gardner Dozois, one of the greatest editors ever to grace the field of science fiction, passed away yesterday. He was 71.
His output as an editor of anthologies is such that it will be impossible to summarize it here.
But check out this tidbit of information from Wikipedia:15849699

Stories selected by Gardner Dozois for the annual best-of-year volumes have won, as of December 2015, 44 Hugos, 41 Nebulas, 32 Locus, 10 World Fantasy and 18 Sturgeon Awards.

And he loved old space opera and adventure science fiction, which is the reason why I will remember him today by reading the last anthology of his that I purchased: Old Mars.
Gardner Dozois contributed to make me what I am.
He will be sorely missed.