Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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Raphael Ordoñez’ Dragonfly, a biased review

Dragonfly-by-Raphael-OrdoñezI promised a review and here it is.
I spent the weekend immersed in one of the most intriguing, baffling and intelligent books I read in a long while.
The book is Raphael Ordoñez’ Dragonfly, a novel I discovered thanks to the Black Gate blog.
The review published by Black Gate promised much – and the novel delivered in full, and possibly more1.
What was an impulse purchase, based on a great review and a great cover (by the author himself), turned out to be one of the best reads of this year.

The novel takes place on the Counter-Earth at the Cosmic Antipodes, whatever that may mean, and indeed much of the setting is shrouded in mystery.
Is this the past, the future, some place else or our own world? Are the strange individuals the hero meets aliens, members of different human branches of evolution, or something completely different? Continue reading


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Slapdash & Sorcery

I’m back online for good, and to celebrate I’m doing three related posts on my three blogs.
The first post is already up on GreyWorld, the next is going up later, in Italian, on strategie evolutive.
Let’s say I’m doing a blog tour of my own blogs.

wwrAnd I mentioned the late Sir Terry Pratchett, on GreyWorld.
I love Pratchett’s Discworld novels – I loved them ever since I read about Pratchett in Michael Moorcock‘s Wizardry and Wild Romance, and decided to check this new writer out.
And if it’s true that the Italian versions of The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic were seriously unfunny due to some translation problems, as soon as I started reading Terry Pratchett in English, it was a cartload of laughs.
But not only that.
Which leads to the true topic of this post. Continue reading


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Stories from the deep future

echoesI’m having lots of fun reading Echoes of the Goddess, Tales of Terror and Wonder from the End of Time, a great collection of stories by Darrell Schweitzer, set in the same universe of the author’s popular and highly respected 1982 novel, The Shattered Goddess.

The eleven stories in the volume – which is available as an inexpensive ebook through Amazon – are set in a distant, decadent future, after a catastrophe of theological proportions (narrated in the novel mentioned above).
The setting and the mood recall Clark Ashton Smith’s Zothique and Jack Vance’s Dying Earth – the so called dying earth/end of times subgenre.

Now I am particularly interested in this subgenre, and I’m highly impressed by Schweitzer’s prose – the quality of the storytelling is such, that even a deceivingly light plot becomes multi-layered and highly satisfactory.
There is style and substance.
This is fantasy fiction, but a style of fantasy fiction and swords & sorcery that goes back to the roots of the genre, back to the pages of Weird Tales.
And yet, it is not just a nostalgia trip or a form of narrative archaeology.

The book was released by Wildside Press in february 2013, and is highly recommended.