Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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A weekend killing monsters

We should strive to look on the bright side of… well, everything that happens to us.
For instance: I spent about twenty years, more or less, without playing PC games, basically because I was too busy doing other stuff. And right now, I have a very old, no-name PC on which two thirds of the recent games don’t run.

Bright side: I can get old PC games for real cheap, and they run a wonder on my anything-but-state-of-the-art system – and right now I feel like playing something new.

So yesterday I spent three euro and a half (the price of a bucket of ice cream) on a 2012 game called Torchlight II – a fantasy RPG with a vague steampunkish flavor and lots and lots of monsters.

I found it on Steam, it runs on my Linux machine and it is a pleasure to see.
Sure, it’s old, but considering I missed it when it came out, it’s new to me. And it’s kinda fun to play in the role of a wandering engineer taking quests together with his pet alpaca.

Yep, every character you play gets a random pet at creation, and I got an alpaca – not the fiercest of creatures, but he’s saved my life a few times already.

So that’s how I’ll spend the weekend – killing monsters and exploring strange places, and letting off some steam.


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The House of Vezzanius

I am happy to announce that my short story In the House of Vezzanius has just been published in the July issue of Swords & Sorcery Magazine, and is up on their website for everybody to read, free of charge.
And it is really a pleasure of being in the company of authors Teel James Glenn and Carmine A. Tedeschi (that sounds a lot more Italian than me, but comes from Pennsylvania)

I hope you will enjoy the magazine and my story in it – it’s a perfect read for the summer.


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The strongest emotion is fear and the strongest fear is fear of change

This morning I had another brief but momentous discussion, over a social network, about the menace to our civilization, and more importantly to our livelihood as writers, that are themed calls aimed at specific groups – usually based on gender, ethnicity, age bracket or other such things.

You know, SJWs rampaging in the streets, publishers putting political correctness before quality, the usual load of rubbish. And like in that old Flashman book, “I gave them a fine piece of my mind, but at that point they had already thrown me out on the sidewalk.”
So I decided to write my thoughts here, just so that I can inflict them on you.

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Roleplaying Ye Olde Englande

I still buy roleplaying games, when I can afford it, and when I find something interesting. And Romance of the Perilous Land, published by Osprey (the purveyors of great wargaming and historical recreation books), caught my eye a few days ago.
I loved the cover, the concept and, indeed, the price – as Amazon lets you get a digital copy of the book for 1.99 US Dollars/1.78 Euro.
I mean… come on.

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Help me choose a book

OK, let’s try and do one of those things that the cool bloggers out there do and, like, get cartloads of hits, and so on.

I’ve got a stack this thick of ebooks on my reader, and I will (hopefully) read a few in August and relax and be happy and all that.
But what about you decide at least one of them?
What about non fiction?

So here’s the choice:

  • Richard Holmes – Falling Upwards
    A history of the pioneers of baloon flight, and the book that allegedly inspired the movie “The Aeronauts”
  • Stefan Buczacki – Earth to Earth
    Described as “A Natural History of Churchyards”.
  • Mary Dobson – Murderous Contagion
    A general history of epidemics and human history
  • Ernle Bedford – Mediterranean
    Being a history of the most trafficked sea in the world.
  • Cox & Forshaw – Why E=mC2 (and why should we care)
    A book about physics and our place in the universe.

All five books are on my to-read list, and all are asking for my attention.
Have your say, and help me decide.

The comments are open, cast your vote.


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Visit the Dying Earth (and do some good)

A quick heads-up for those of you out there that like roleplaying games, or Jack Vance – or both.
The Bundle of Holding is offering the Compleat Dying Earth package – everything you need to play in the world of Cugel and Rhialto, as to say The Dying Earth Roleplaying Game, designed by Robin D. Laws and published (quite fitytingly) by Pelgrane Press.

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