Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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Conan Doyle’s Birthday

It’s the 160th birthday of Arthur Conan Doyle, the man who gave us Sherlock Holmes, then took him away from us, and then gave him back to us.
And as a way to celebrate this day, I think I’ll spend the rest of the evening to work on my Sherlock Holmes pastiche.
Who knows, maybe ACD’s ghost will come around and inspire me.
But I doubt it.


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The most cynical of anti-romantics

The title is a definition I read somewhere of James Branch Cabell. I have been a fan of J.B. Cabell for over thirty-five years now, thanks to Fritz Leiber. And Cabell is yet another one of those authors that make me say “it would be great to write like he did, but I’d never make it.”

And I have just read a nice piece about Cabell on the DMRBooks Blog and I thought I’d link it here. Deuce Richardson is right when he notes that the younger generations have forgotten Cabell, and what a loss is theirs!

“There were how many dynasties of Pharaohs, each one of whom was absolute lord of the known world, and is to-day forgotten? Among the countless popes who one by one were adored as the regent of Heaven upon earth, how many persons can to-day distinguish? And does not time breed emperors and czars and presidents as plentiful as blackberries, and as little thought of when their season is out? For there is no perpetuity in human endeavor: we strut upon a quicksand: and all that any man may do for good or ill is presently forgotten, because it does not matter.”

James Branch Cabell

And in case you are curious, on The Faded Page you can find free ebooks of four of Cabell’s works, including my own favorite, The High Place, Robert E. Howard’s favorite, Something About Eve, and everybody’s favorite, The Cream of the Jest.


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Monkey Punch, 1937-2019

And the bad news keep coming, so much so that this blog is beginning to look like the obituaries page on some newspaper. I have learned only today of the death, on the 11th of April, of Japanese cartoonist Kazuhiko Katō, better known as Monkey Punch, the author of the 1967 Lipin III manga series on which the animated series and movies (and video games and what else) where later based.

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Gene Wolfe, 1931-2019

We have lost Gene Wolfe, the author of The Book of the New Sun and many other masterful novels and short stories. He was 87.
The Book of the New Sun is one of the books that made me what I am, and an endless source of wonder and surprises – I was about to start my re-read, a tradition I have been carrying out every other year for these last ten years.
This time around, it will have a further meaning.

And for the rest of this year 2019, I will do all I can to get the volumes that I still miss to complete my Gene Wolfe collection.
We have lost a master, I have lost a teacher and an inspiration.