Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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Aculeo & Amunet on the Road to Babylon

So I am currently writing a new Aculeo & Amunet story.
It’s good – I like the guys, and it’s like taking a vacation.
I’d love to have three or four stories for a new collection to publish for Christmas – I’ve one ready, and another I am writing right now… let’s say I’m sort of halfway there..295f12a6feb1e0d8e3cfbfe76f0e75f5

The story I’m working on right now is very loosely based on a 1976 song called The Road to Babylon, from an album called The Roaring Silence, by the Manfred Mann Earth Band.
As I said in the past, I use a lot of music for inspiration, background, soundtrack and assorted distractions when I write, and listening to this one really got me going. Continue reading


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Other people’s pulps: Adèle Blanc-Sec

I knew about Adèle well before I saw the movie.
The Jacques Tardi series of comics called The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec had been one of the many I had discovered when, in my early years as a university student, I used to spend a lot of time in the bookstores scattered in the center of town.
With its rough, sometimes unpleasant style and its alternating light and dark plots, the series about an early 20th century adventure fiction writer and adventuress featured dinosaurs, Egyptian mysteries, strange conspiracies and retro-technology.
It was great fun, winking and gently mocking a lot of classics, from Verne to Conan Doyle to Leblanc.

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And yet, when finally the Adèle Blanc-Sec movie was released in 2010, the first of a proposed trilogy, I caught it on the big screen, and I did not like it.
Or, better, I liked it, but not as much as I had anticipated.

Re-watching the film in the silence and heat of the Astigianistan hills, I finally saw what peeved me all those years ago, and I was sort of reconciled with the movie. Continue reading


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Alfonso Azpiri, 1947-2017

Spanish comic artist and illustrator Alfonso Azpiri passed away a few hours ago.
Azpiri was one of the many graphic artists whose works I cherished.
Wikipedia classifies him in the “adult oriented” field, but his stories, that ranged from science fiction to horror, while often incredibly racy, were also a fun mix of caricature and satire, and his pneumatic, big-haired trademark female characters were both sexy and absurd, sultry and silly.

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With the character of Lorna, he created a silly, naughty mix of Star Wars and Barbarella.

Here is a small gallery of his works, in memoriam.
And yes, depending on where you are, some of this might be considered NSFW. Continue reading


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On the border with Bogart & Bacall

1And talking about Old Time Radio.

There’s a series about a guy with a boat.
He’s an adventurer, and in the early ’50s he gets involved in a series of intrigues, mysteries and thrilling adventures. He moves on the border between the civilized world and the changing water margin of islands and ports and strange places.
The series takes its name from the name of his boat.

Only it’s not The Corsair – much as the basic premise appears to be the same.
It’s called Bold Venture, and the hero of the piece is Humphrey Bogart.
And there’s Lauren Bacall in it, too!
I can only hang my head and accept the fact that I’ve been trumped.
And I can enjoy the show, of course. Continue reading


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Old Time Radio: One World Flight

I think I already mentioned in the past the Old Time Radio Researchers Group, a community of old time radio aficionados devoted to bringing accurate reproductions of old radio shows to the attention of the public.
I am not an expert of Old Time Radio – I know the basics, I’ve heard a few of the best known shows – and the OTRR Group is to me a source of endless surprises.

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Browsing their collections of the Internet Archive is always a source of delight, and yesterday I discovered One World Flight, a 1947 documentary series by Norman Corwin (a giant in the history of American broadcasting). Continue reading