Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


2 Comments

Abraham Merrit’s Birthday

Truth to be told, it was yesterday, but better late than never, right?
Merritt was one of the great fantasists of the first half of the 20th century, and he had an incredible influence on his contemporaries (the Weird Tales generation).
Highly imaginative and wildly eccentric, he produces a number of works that are highly recommended.

Virgil Finlay, The Ship of Ishtar

And today, remembering his birth, why not check out my favorite Merritt work, The Ship of Ishtar?
It was originally published on the Argosy All-Story magazine in six episodes, in 1924. You can find it for free on the Gutenberg Project of Australia.

Virgil Finlay, The Ship of Ishtar

Virgil Finlay did some beautiful illustration for the story in 1949, and here are three examples.

Virgil Finlay, The Ship of Ishtar


Leave a comment

The Blazing World

A weird one today for the Karavansara Free Library.
I found out about Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle-upon-Tyne in a piece on the BBC website – trust the beeb to expand our horizons.

p06bf9nr

Margaret Cavendish was born in 1623, and is listed in Wikipedia as

aristocrat, philosopher, poet, scientist, fiction-writer, and playwright

Not bad, uh? Continue reading


5 Comments

The Karavansara Blog Mailing List

Par_avionAs you probably noticed, I’ve added a mailing list to the Karavansara Blog.
I’m using Mailchimp, that seems to work just fine1.
The idea is to use this tool to keep my readers… to keep YOU, in other words, up to date about my activities – new ebooks and podcasts, new stories in magazines, online events and what not – and get you the information before I post about it on the blog… if I will post it on the blog at all.
This won’t be a high-volume mailing list, and it will not have a regular schedule.
You’ll get a mail from me in your mailbox only when there’s something I think might interest you.
And no spam, absolutely no spam.
And I’ll include mailing-list-exclusive special offers, Smashwords tokens and discounts on my ebooks, or free contents – because nobody can resist a bribe, right?

And for starters, should you subscribe (and I hope you will!), you’ll get a zip file with my short story Interesting Times in both epub and mobi formats, DRM-free.

interesting cover

It’s a weird story, vaguely decopunk, somewhat lovecraftian, quite pulpy, set in Shanghai.
Because you know I’ve got a thing about Shanghai.
So, sign up for the Karavansara Blog Mailing List, and get your free story.
Have fun!


  1. but please, let me know should you experience any problem withe the mailing system! 


Leave a comment

Six Objects from the Turin Egyptian Museum

As I mentioned a while back, I was part of a MOOC hosted by the Manchester University, about Ancient Egypt as perceived through six objects in the collections of the Manchester Museum.

egypt2

As part of the course, I had to submit a short paper covering my choice of six objects, chosen to explore a certain facet of the Ancient Egyptian history or culture.

I chose six papyruses from the collections of the Turin Egyptian Museum – or Museo Egizio di Torino, in Italian – that show a different face of Ancient Egypt… and feature magic, murder, mayhem and naked women.

cropped-jewelry

Now that the course is over and my paper has been evaluated, I thought someone out there might be interested …

so here it goes

It’s a very simple, lightweight pdf document, eleven pages of loose text with some extra links for images1. You can read it online, or download it – it is distributed under a standard Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike license.

I hope you’ll enjoy it.
Comments are very welcome.
Cheers!


  1. but who knows – one of these nights I might try and expand it a little and do a DeLuxe version… 


Leave a comment

Famous Modern Ghost Stories

17408014662_1a0e70e2e9_oWhat’s Halloween without a good ghost story, or five?

In 1921, Texas-born Dorothy Scarborough, lecturer in English at the Columbia University, edited a selection of spooky tales, and called it Famous Modern Ghost Stories.
The book includes works both familiar (Edgar Allan Poe, Arthur Machen), and less obvious choices (Anatole France, Olivia Howard Dunbar).
One hundred years on, the volume is still a wonderful selection of ghostly narratives, and is highly recommended.

Here’s the full index… Continue reading