Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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Lawrence Block’s lives in crime

It has been observed—I forget where or by whom—that only kids have heroes. I’m not entirely sure that’s true, but I do think you have to stop being a fan in order to become wholly a professional. You can continue to admire and delight in the work of another writer, but if you’re slavish in your devotion, if you’re stuck in the role of full-blown fan, your own growth will be limited.

51O0k6c2kXL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_I can really relate to that.
It’s taken from The Crime of Our Lives, an excellent book by Lawrence Block, collecting the author’s essays, introductions and columns about his colleagues and his experiences in the field of genre fiction. It is not as one might think, an autobiography (and I realize the title of this post is misleading), but a collection of personal reminiscences about other people1.
It’s quite a good read – but then, I am a fan… or rather, I admire and delight in his work, without giving in to slavish devotion, and I consider Block’s Telling Lies for Fun and Profit one of the best books about writing I ever read2. And I did read a few.

Continue reading


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Macbeth as a mystery novel

“It was a stupid mistake to make,” said the American woman I had met at my hotel in the English lake country, “but it was on the counter with the other Penguin books – the little sixpenny ones, you know; with the paper covers – and I supposed of course it was a detective story All the others were detective stories.”

truancy2Believe it or not, but the lines above have been haunting me for something like 35 years.

I read them – and the story they belong to – when I was around 12, as I browsed my school anthology trying to keep boredom at bay… why?
I can’t remember.

I just remember I was bored out of my mind, I reading in class, and I chanced upon a story in my reading anthology, and I read it. Continue reading


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A hard trick to pull – Yellowthread Street

Marshall-YSYesterday’s writing prompt reminded me of Yellowthread Street – a series of crime novels by Australian author William Leonard Marshall.

And I don’t know if Marshall being an Australian this qualifies as Other People’s Pulp, but I thought I’d do a post on the subject just in case.
After all, the theme of the novels fits the theme of this blog, so… Continue reading


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Doing some literary detox

I’m not a good person, so I blame science fiction and fantasy fans.
Been around them too much lately – they bored me to death.
Or maybe, it’s the fact that I read – and wrote – too much genre stuff in the last months, and I’ve reached a sort of saturation.

I’m bored!, like Toyah used to sing.

So it’s time to do some serious detox – because without variety, everything you read (and write!) feels the same, and boredom ensues.
Therefore, in this month of May, I’ll stay clear of the fans, I’ll take long brisk walks and I’ll read history, and crime fiction.
And I’ll write… oh, well, a western.

And for a curious coincidence – or maybe not – I just fell in love with this mystery TV series from Australia, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, which involves history, murders, guns, and a gorgeous, independent woman.
Perfect.

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