Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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Thrills and chills from Egypt

Paranormal is an Egyptian web series that’s currently being distributed as a Netflix Original, and it’s available both in subbed and dubbed version via streaming. The first season includes six episodes, and I really hope we will get a second season, because this is the most fun I had in a long time with a supernatural themed series.

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Warming up for the new Lupin

We’re snowbound – this morning my brother walked through the snow to the post office only to be told that all the systems were down because, you know, snow. Snow equals no internet services. No post office, no bank. So we inventoried our supplies, decided we can hold on, and set out to see how we’ll spend the next weeks.
Cold.
Snow.
Soft lockdown.
The village looking like a ghost-town.

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133 years in scarlet

It was on the first of December 1887, in Beaton’s Christmas Annual, that Sherlock Holmes made his debut with A Study in Scarlet, changing the history of popular literature forever.

I will refrain from talking about how Holmes was a central character in the building of my growth as a reader, as you can probably find other Holmes-related posts linked below through WordPress’ handy algorithm.
To celebrate the birthday, anyway, and to start the Christmas season in the right mood, here’s the BBC 1968 adaptation of A Study in Scarlet, featuring Peter Cushing as Holmes.
Enjoy!


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Ghosts for Christmas

Today I’ve finished the first round of translation on the mystery novella Murder on the Giava, and took the afternoon off to read the new issue of Phantasmagoria, Special Edition, that is all about M.R. James – and as it usually happens when I go back to classic ghost stories, I felt like writing some new ghost stories myself – because that’s where I started with horror, as a reader, with classic ghost stories.

In fact, right now I’ve three ghost stories being considered for publication, but while I am waiting for the publishers to make up their minds, there’s always room for more.

The magazine features an article by James himself about “proper” ghost stories, and that’s certainly an inspiration.

And so, while I wait to start the second round of translation – to catch all the stupid stuff I wrote on the first – I thought I’ll devote December to ghost stories, and then either sell them, or share them with my Patrons or, who knows, put together a collection and self-publish it.

Watch this space for updates.


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What we learned in Lankhmar and Shadizar (and other places)

About two years back – if memory serves – when a lot of kids started manifesting and asking for better environmental policies and immediate action, someone observed that it wasn’t surprising if a generation that had grown up with fantasy novels in which kids confronted authoritarian governments now wanted to take direct action to right what they perceived as wrongs.

And indeed, I have always said, when talking about the positive effects of roleplaying games, that you can’t spend one afternoon every week, for years, playing a hero, without some of the principles rubbing off on you.
Yes, we’ve all played rogues and adventurers, but in the end we were the good guys and – if the master was worth their keep – we never went off the rails.

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Keep watching the skies

I re-watched Christian Nyby’s/Howerd Hawks’ 1951 The Thing from Another World last night – because it was half a lifetime since the last time I had watched it, and because it’s coming up in a future episode of our podcast. And while I’m saving a lot of intelligent (…) observations for the podcast, there’s two things that struck me, and I feel like sharing here on the blog.

But first, a bit of history…

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Back in the saddle: the return of the Horseclans

Back when dinosaurs ruled the Earth – i.e., the early ’80s – I was for a while a member of a science fiction and fantasy fans club. Apart from regular meetings that I was not able to attend, because they were held 500 kms from where I lived, and I was fifteen, and broke, I received a bi-monthly magazine that featured stories, art, articles and reviews.
The most interesting part for me were the reviews – especially the three or four pages devoted to a roundup of what noteworthy titles had been recently published in the USA. The plots, the titles and the covers were the stuff that dreams were made of.

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