Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


Leave a comment

Flash from the Past: Hawk & Fisher

I discovered Hawk & Fisher in the early ’90s, when I bought in bulk the six slim Headline paperbacks that make up the series. It was a very strange hybrid: sword & sorcery, detective story and humor.
But I liked the general concept, the six paperbacks were cheap, and it was a fun way to spend a summer.

Hawk & Fisher is one of the first series developed by Simon R. Green, a British writer that has fully metabolized the pulp ethos of yore: he writes serial characters, usually in pretty classic genres (fantasy, horror, space opera), adding a twist that makes even the most trite concepts look fresher.

Continue reading


2 Comments

One that got away: The Saint (2017)

Yesterday I found out a friend of mine is a long time fan of Simon Templar, both in the Leslie Charteris novels and the Roger Moor TV series from the ’60s. Something I’d have never suspected, knowing her.
This led to this and that and I found out the aborted pilot movie for the planned reboot of the series, that was announced in 2012, is now available on Youtube, for less than four bucks – the price of a big serving of ice cream.

So I served myself a big bowl of dark chocolate ice cream, and I sat down for 90 minutes to watch what might have been.

Continue reading


2 Comments

Back to the (Captain) Future

Captain Future was a pulp series of science fiction novels that started in 1940, mostly written by Edmond Hamilton. The stories, featuring Curtis Newton, aka Captain Future, aka The Wizard of Science were classic space opera with a pulp hero twist – Captain Future was sort of Doc Savage in space, complete with a team of quirky helpers and all that.

Now, for us here in Italy, and for my generation, Captain Future is a special thing, not much because of the novels – only a few were translated, and quickly disappeared – bu t because in the early ’80s the Toei Animation series was distributed in my country, a part of the “Japanese anime invasion”. To me it was a special treat, because I knew Hamilton, having read a few of his novels, and I had often heard mentioned the character but never been able to track down the books. Back then I was in my early teens and I loved Golden Age authors like Hamilton and Williamson, and so I really enjoyed the series (and to this day, I still like the jazz-based original soundtrack by Yuji Ohno, the same guy that did the Lupin III soundtrack).

It was therefore with a lot of expectations that I (finally) got myself a copy of Allen Steele’s 2017 novel Avengers of the Moon, that is presented as the first volume in an authorized reboot of the old Hamilton novels, written by noted hard SF author Allen Steele.
Expectations, I had, and also a few doubts – why reboot the old stories?

Continue reading


Leave a comment

Death and Ghosts in Czarist Russia: Detective Anna

Did you know you can watch Russian TV shows, subtitled in English, on Youtube? I did not, but yesterday a contact suggested to me a Russian series from 2016, called Detective Anna (or, alternatively, Anna the detective) , and by googling I found it all on Youtube, subtitled, for free.
So I watched the first two episodes, and it was quite fun.

As usual during periods of intensive writing I like to watch a TV series or a movie in the evenings (you may have noticed a lot of posts about serials, recently, on Karavansara), and it looks like Anna Mironova will keep me company in the next few years.

So, what are we talking about…

Continue reading


Leave a comment

Morocco (1930)

Today is Joseph von Sternberg’s birthday, so it feels right that I spent one hour and a half last night rewatching his Morocco, an exotic melodrama featuring Marlene Dietrich, Gary Cooper and Adolphe Menjou.
The film was shot in 1930 and caused quite a stir, for a number of reasons.
While not my favorite Dietrich/von Sternberg collaboration, it’s still worth a look.
And despite the desert location, this is probably not a Tits & Sand movie, but… who knows?

The plot: cynical but maybe not so cynical cabaret entertainer falls in love with cheeky American legionnaire and refuses the advances of a more settled, wealthy gentleman. Passions flare, tragedy ensues.

Continue reading