East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


Agatha Christie Day – Tommy & Tuppence

agatha-christieMy brother informs me that today is the Agatha Christie Day, this being her birthday. Christie would be 128 today.
“You should do something about her on Karavansara,” he told me. “Christie is very popular.”
The understatement of the century.
Agatha Christie is the undisputed queen of mystery, with a catalog of 66 novels and enough short stories to fill fourteen volumes. She is also in the Guinness Book of Records, with reportedly two billion copies of her books being at large in the world.

So OK, let’s do an Agatha Christie Day post. Continue reading


Sherlock will never die

The other day, on my post about the Japanese series, Miss Sherlock, Joe commented

Sherlock will NEVER die!

And I had to agree, of course.
Sherlock Holmes is one of the great characters of popular culture, together with Dracula and Tarzan1, and through infinite version and editions and adaptations, it has reached every corner of the world and every social stratum.
Sherlock Holmes is everywhere, and he is not going away.


And I was reminded, reading Joe’s comment, of a thing I caught somewhere and I’ve been unable to trace, that is, Harlan Ellison suggesting the Canon as the basis of a reasonable education. Continue reading

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Hope & Glory – Winston Churchill’s (minimal) contribution

How does it feel to have your grandmother read your book, and tell you…

It clearly shows your lack of experience with women

… Awkward, uh?
And it’s even worse, I guess, when your grandmother is Frances, Duchess of Marlborough, and you are a young army officer who wrote the book on your way to India, and your name is Winston S. Churchill.

ruritania_zenda_1938_by_mbhdesign-d8zcnf3One of the many bits and pieces that went into Hope & Glory is the literary genre (or sub-genre) of Ruritanian Romance, those stories of passion and derring-do set in unlikely small European nations, like Anthony Hope’s Ruritania or George Barr McCutcheon’s Graustark.
And right now I am working on a small sourcebook for Hope & Glory, set in one of these micro-nations that dot the post-Catastrope landscape of Lost Europe, and in particular a place called Valiria – a fantasy name if ever there was one – which is perched on the Pyrenees, between the iced plains of France and the wind-swept steppes of Spain, where the mammoth roam. Continue reading


Meet Miss Sherlock

I am on a Sherlock Holmes roll – and it really looks like these next few months will be Sherlockian apocrypha and folk horror, considering the books that are piling up (virtually) on my ereader.


Now, there was a time, before Facebook, when I was one of the Hounds of the Internet, and I was a lot more into Sherlock Holmes and related matters than I am now. I started out as a Sherlock Holmes fan in middle school, and read the stories and watched the movies etcetera.
But like Steely Dan used to sing

Those days are gone forever
Over a long time ago.

Or so I thought. Continue reading

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I’m facing a serious issue of tiredness.
Not burnout – ideas keep coming and I don’t know where to start first – but physical and mental fatigue.


Since May, I have published a story a week – shorts and novellas, gaming scenarios and articles, a whole roleplaying game and a short novel, and there’s more here waiting to be completed.
I have published in Italian and English.
Under my name and under aliases.
Traditionally and as a self publisher.
It should have been a bang.
And it was, really – today a contact from Israel, currently in Cambodia, asked me when the English version of my latest short novel (that I self-published in Italian today) is coming out. It’s the sort of request that makes me feel real good, because it means what I am doing is of interest. Somebody likes it enough to ask.
And I must thank all my readers that gave me feedback, that asked questions or made requests, all those that buy my stories, all my supporters on Patreon and my readers here on Karavansara.
Because the sense of emptiness and futility is sometimes overwhelming.
It saps the energies and breaks the spirit.
But it’s just a passing thing, of course, because I have readers.
I need to nail shut the box of AMARNA, and deliver the fourth Asteria, and then move on to other projects.
Thanks for humoring me here on Karavansara and elsewhere.
We’ll get back to our usual program in a moment.


Europe at a crossroads

Tomorrow the European Parliament will discuss the new copyright regulations, that include the filtering of uploaded contents and a linking tax.
In my country, the press and the media have been extraordinarily silent on the subject, while a bunch of “patriots” fought like rabid weasels on social media about the sacrality of Italian espresso and the opportunity off shutting down supermarkets on Sundays.