Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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Five books that got me started

Over at her place, my friend Jessica Bakkers posted a list of the six books that made her what she is, as a writer. Great idea. It’s fun, it’s easy to put together in the form of a post, and we are always ready to learn more about the writers we follow, and maybe find out a few new books to read.
So, why not steal Jessica’s idea?

Now, I actually already did something similar, a while back, listing the authors that had most influenced me. The ones I wish I was as good as. A shortened list, one that I could (and maybe will) expand.
But let’s look at this thing from another angle.

Continue reading


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Karavansara Free Library: The Well of the Unicorn

I’m writing a story.
Big deal, you say.
But no, wait, because it’s interesting.
The story is set in some unnamed American town, somewhere in 1948 or maybe 1949. As the story opens, the main character works as a reader for an old lady who’s losing her sight. My character spends three afternoons every week in the old lady’s parlor, reading her aloud from a book.
What book?
The_Well_of_the_UnicornNow, the book is not essential in the story. It’s just a prop, something my character can cling to as the events in her life suddenly start twisting in a whole new direction.
A hardback, then.
A good solid hardback she’ll be able to clutch to her chest like it’s an armor in that single scene right at the beginning.

And so I did a quick check.
I just needed a hardback published in 1948.
And Fletcher Pratt’s The Well of the Unicorn was published in that year.
Bingo.
There is something good, for me, about a young woman reading aloud from The Well of the Unicorn, and then embarking on a life-changing adventure. Continue reading


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New project – short-short and tongue-in-cheek

PulpCovers-UnknownVol.3,No.3,May1940In a perfect world, I’d have 36-hours-days to spend writing.
It would be fun, and maybe I might even turn a profit out of it.

And yet, sometimes there are weird silly ideas that pop up and won’t lay down.

As I think I mentioned in the past, I started reading fantasy with the rationalized fantasy stories that Unknown Worlds magazine used to publish.
I still love the Tales from Gavagan’s Bar, by Lyon Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt, and I sometimes I feel deep down I’ve got a De Camp-esque approach to fantasy – I need a good laugh, in my stories, because I take the genre seriously, sure, but just not that much. Continue reading