Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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Ghosts for Halloween, and the winter to come

I love ghost stories.
They were the first form of genre fiction I ever read, before crime stories, or science fiction, or sword & sorcery, and to this day, I still love a good ghost story.
So, this being the season and all that, here’s a very general list of names you might want to check out.

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Ghosts and Vampires (with the occasional Mummy)

Everybody’s having a party for Halloween, that is still twenty days away. And it’s fine, because we all love a spooky story, and it’s mighty fine.

I was thinking the other day that in the end I seem to like both kinds of horror – both ghost stories and vampire stories.
And what I mean is, doing a quick inventory of the horror books and the horror movies on my shelves, it looks like ghosts and vampires are the main form of spooks I like to read about and watch on the screen.

I was never big on slashers, zombies and the like.
I love a good mummy story or movie, and I still like the Creature from the Black Lagoon, that’s criminally under-represented in literature.
But the modern horrors leave me cold.

The reason, I believe, is that ghost stories (in print) and the Hammer vampire movies (on the screen) were the first form of horror stories I enjoyed.
I guess I should throw in the original run of Scooby Doo in there, too.

And so, while my friends cheer the new gorefests available on paper and on film, I think I will spend the days that precede Halloween reading old ghost stories, after diner, in my darkened room.
There’s a lot of them available out there – there’s some fine new collections and there’s the old classics on Project Gutenberg. And on Youtube we can find a lot of Ghost Stories for Christmas, and spooky Old Time Radio shows. It’s a good world.

Maybe I am not avant gard, but really, who cares?
In the next few days I’ll publish a reading, watching and listening list for anyone who’s interested.


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All set for Halloween

This morning, a rather surprised-looking delivery guy dropped in front of my door a crate containing a Kickstarter Exclusive box of Tales of Evil, the all-Italian horror boardgame designed by my friend Antonio Ferrara, and produced by his Escape Studios.

Tales of Evil is a boardgame inspired by books like It and TV series like Scooby Doo and Stranger Things – in it, you can play one in a gang of meddling kids, exploring an old dark house.
It is heavy on pop culture references and has its tongue firmly in cheek.

An interesting mix of boardgame, choose-your-adventure book, roleplaying game and alternate reality game, Tales of Evil is absolutely gorgeous and, in the English edition, is masterfully translated.
Just sayin’.

Now I know what we’ll do on Halloween night.


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Halloween in an old village

It’s the 31st of October, early afternoon. I’ve just put the chicken and potatoes in the slow cooker, and acknowledged the fact that a story I had submitted in June was rejected. It’s OK. This month I submitted 13 stories, more than reaching my quota.
The sky is battle-cruiser grey, and there is a faint mist that will probably get thicker as the day progresses.

I am taking a couple of days off. There’s a story I should finish but I’ll never make it in time for the deadline. Pity.
The last few weeks have been complicated, and now that the worst part is over, I can slow down a bit and have some fun.

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A Halloween reading list

Halloween, Halloween… it’s weird when you find yourself doing more posts about Halloween than you will ever do about, say, Christmas or New Year’s Eve.
It’s like Halloween has become the Web’s main festivity.
A festival of ghosts, spooks and dead people.
Seems fitting.

So, why not suggest a reading list for Halloween?
And considering we are cheapskates, why not a list of free ebooks?

Let’s see… Continue reading


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Last week before Halloween

It’s the last week before Halloween, so let’s see…

I have to finish and deliver a 12/15.000-words supernatural thriller (think Kolchak, but set in the present day), by the end of the month.
The story is already outlined and I have a fair chunk of story, but now I’l have to start working on a map of Memphis1 (don’t ask).

memphis-map

The deadline is the 1st of November, but I will have to close my story earlier because… Continue reading