Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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They do not fight enough. As if I cared.

In the last six months or so I’ve heard harsh criticism leveled at a number of books…

  • Gene Wolfe’s Book of the New Sun
  • Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast
  • Patricia McKillip’s Riddlemaster’s Trilogy
  • Robert Silverberg’s Lord Valentine’s Castle
  • Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar novels
  • J.B. Cabell’s Jurgen
  • John Crowley’s Little Big

Books that spend too much time in useless description, with little or no action, and characters that spend more time talking than fighting. My usual answer, “What, then?” usually receives strange looks.

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Imps & Minions anthology is out!

I am pleased to announce that the anthology Imps & Minions, edited by David F. Shultz, Don Miaesek and K.M. McKenzie is now available for purchase both in ebook and as a paperback via Amazon.

A hefty 500+ pages book, the volume collects 34 short stories about imps and other unusual critters in the service of powerful masters, and includes my short story Bottled Up.

If you are looking for some insight in the day-to-day lives of those who serve the evil overlords and carry out the nefarious errands of the black sorcerers… well, now you know what you need to read.


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A morning among the rude mechanicals

I took the morning off. My brother was to see the doctor, and I went along, basically to enjoy the air conditioning in the doc’s waiting room. I brought my Kindle along (about which, more later) and settled in one of the wonderfully uncomfortable chairs.
The air conditioning was on to Alaskan Winter levels – I guess the doctor is trying to increase his workload by causing his patients pneumonia or, who knows, maybe decrease his workload by offing the weakest.
And I had the opportunity of spending two hours surrounded by the nice villagers.

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The politics of sword & sorcery

As a writer and a long-time reader of fantasy I like to take a look sometimes at the state of the genre in the place where I live – in part because it’s a good strategy to keep an eye on the market, in part because this is, after all, my tribe, and I like to see what the tribesmen are doing.

Being irremediably old, I have no problem mentioning the fact I find the current over-excitement of a juvenile part of the public for what Ian McShane called Tits & Dragons somewhat tiring. When somebody pops up and tells me they like Robert E. Howard for the relentless violence, the explicit sex scenes and the obscenities peppering the dialogues, I despair about the state of the genre and for literacy in general.

But together with the fixation for “fantasy of hard knocks” – basically an alibi for writers to write to the minimum common denominator – there is a new trend that is not new but is positively scary: the derailment of fantasy on the part of politics.

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The formula

This morning I spent a few minuted talking with a friend and colleague about a book he has abandoned halfway through and about which I never went beyond the Amazon preview. In about of self-assuredness, I mentioned the fact that a book like that I can write in two weekends. Which was not meant literally, but close to it. Let’s say I can crank out ten thousand words a day – two weekends, starting on Friday evening, would mean 50.000/60.000 words in two weekends.
Nice and smooth.

I mentioned this to another friend, about half an hour ago – she’s writing a series, and she was taking a break, and we exchanged a few messages. The point of the discussion was – the time-consuming part is not typing (and she’s a much faster typist than I am), but coming up with good ideas.
Ideas about plot twists, character traits and interactions, ideas about dialogue.
Good ideas and the research to stimulate and back them are the critical point, and they are time consuming.

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The 2018 Christmas Book Haul, a gallery

Is there anything better than receiving a few Amazon Gift Credits for Christmas? Well, yes, there’s the fact that a few publishers are doing a massive holiday sale on their ebooks. And so one can indulge in that most decadent of pleasures–browse the Amazon shelves and just throw stuff in the shopping basket, without a care in the world.
Add the books that friends and family give you for Christmas, and you end up with a HUGE book haul.

So, why not put up a gallery?

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