Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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Leigh Brackett’s Birthday

Today is the birthday of Leigh Brackett, one of the most influential authors in the field of space opera and planetary romance, or if you prefer of sword & planet, a hard boiled writer and screenwriter, and the wife of Edmond Hamilton.

I first discovered Brackett in the mid 80s, with an Italian translation of The Sword of Rhiannon. Only twenty-odd years later I’d find out that the translation was heavily manipulated, but even in that unfaithful version, I was hooked.
The Skaith books followed – in English, the three Ballantine-Del Rey volumes. And then anything else, in whatever form I was able to find.

It is reading Leigh Brackett that I was made aware of the connection between pulp science fiction and hard boiled fiction. Someone observed that all of Brackett’s heroes were, in the end, Humphrey Bogart, even when they walked the alien dust of distant planets. And this is not a bad thing. By coupling the sense of wonder of the Golden Age of Science Fiction with the melancholy and cynicism of hard boiled, Brackett created a universe that had an incredible stopping power, and feel fresh and exciting seventy years on.

But instead of reading my ramblings, check out this article, called Queen of the Martian Mysteries, by the Michael Moorcock.

And afterwards, check out Black Amazon of Mars, and judge by yourself.


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11/11/18

Unless WordPress lets me down, this post will go online at 11 am of the 11th of November 2018, exactly 100 years after the signing of the armistice that put an end to the First World War.
It is interesting to note that the peace was ratified only on the 10th of January 1920, but for the men in the trenches and the fields and the mountains of World War One, the 11th of November marked the end of the war.

 

Armistice-signed1

I am listening to Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem as I write this. I’ve been surprised, in these days, about how seriously I am taking this centenary.
But after all, I belong to a generation that knew personally people that had fought in the trenches. Continue reading


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What writers like: Farinata

So we spent a few days last week with my friends Hell and Silvia, and it was a pleasure to introduce Silvia to a local dish – basically a form of street or finger food – that she had never tried before: farinata1.

farinata-genovese

This culminated in an evening in the best place in town for this simple dish, with four writers and a Jack the Ripper expert around the same table (yes, we did attract a few worried looks), eating the stuff and drinking artisan beer.

So, this being now the official food of local (and not so local) indie writers, I thought it would be fun to post the recipe here.
Enjoy!
Continue reading