East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


I caught the Pulp Fiction Bug

92184In Bruce Campbell‘s entertaining Make Love the Bruce Campbell Way. the author describes how he became sort of a healthy carrier of the B-movie bug: no matter how high-profile the production in which Campbell is involved, no matter how classy the leading actors, his sole presence on set is granted to turn the whole project into a B-movie extravaganza1.

I think I just caught a similar for of virus – the Pulp bug.
I tend to turn everything I touch into pulp adventure fare.

Consider the following… Continue reading


Looking for Bill Barnes

Something funny happened – my character, Felice Sabatini, from The Ministry of Thunder and Cynical Little Angels, was compared to Bill Barnes.

Bill Barnes?
Now who the heck is this Bill Barnes chap?

I could say the name rang a bell – but I could not place the character.
Some research was needed.

Here’s what I found. Continue reading


Ron Fortier reviews The Ministry of Thunder

acheron_the__ministry_of_thunderNow this feels… strange.
But good, too!

You see, Ron Fortier‘s Pulp Fiction Reviews was the first blog I started following when I decided to get deeper into this pulp thing. You’ll find a link in the blogroll here on the right, and Ron’s reviews blog is still my first stop when I’m looking for something to read.
Heck, the man has sold me dozens of books! – including a handful that have become my faves.

So try and imagine my reaction when, checking my feed today, reader, I found this…

“The Ministry of Thunder,” is a rollicking tongue-in-cheek over-the-top pulp winner that completely won me over within its first few chapters. It’s Indiana Jones meets Bill Barnes with a touch of Kung-Fun thrown in to spice things up. It is the first Davide Mana book we’ve read and we certainly hope not the last.

This is more than graduating.
This feels like getting a PhD in pulp writing.

And yes, I do hope Sabatini will be back, too.

Check out Pulp Fiction Reviews‘ full piece about The Ministry of Thunder.

Me, I’m throwing a little party.


Character Profile – Felice Sabatini

“Don’t overestimate me.”

The Ministry of ThunderThings are moving fast. Time to talk about the hero of The Ministry of Thunder, the big guy himself, Felice Sabatini.

The official version states that the character of Felice Sabatini came to me after I found out about the Chiang Kai-shek government contracting a squadron of Italian fighter pilots in the 1930s, in a strange dress rehersal of what would be the adventure of Claire Chennault‘s Flying Tigers.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it – but it’s only part of the story.

Let’s see… Continue reading

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Other People’s Pulp – Dime Novel Italia

dime novel italiaSo far, Italy has missed out on the pulp renaissance and the New Pulp movement.
There are authors that are writing pulp fiction – not in the “over the top Tarantino extravaganza” sense, but as in classic, popular, character-driven literature.
What’s missing is a community and, if you will, a generic label for the writers and readers to adopt.

But something’s moving – and I’m happy to point out the birth of Dime Novel Italia, a G+ group that might become the seed for something larger to develop.
For starters, authors, readers and fans have a place in which to discuss their genre.
More, hopefully, will follow.

The community is aimed at Italian speakers and covers the Italian market of new pulp and assorted “cheap” fiction – but feel free to drop by and say hallo!


Writing the blues away

The post for today did not go online as planned, due to a web glitch while I uploaded it.
This is bad!
Here’s the belated post.
Sorry sorry sorry.

old-typewriterI’m going through a writing bout – partially caused that my professional life has come to a complete standstill after my PhD dissertation.

So I’m sending CVs around, and writing like there’s no tomorrow.
Because, in all fairness, there could be no tomorrow.

To me, ebooks and author-published stories are really today’s pulp racks.
Which means I suddenly understand in a very hands-on way what being a hack in the golden age of the pulps might actually feel like.
A heady mix of dread and exhilaration.
Ideas come freely, and writing them is easier than usual.
As long as this lasts, I’m on a roll. Continue reading

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Pulp History: nobody does it better

Me and my big mouth!
I promise a short post in a few hours.
Yes, you genius… about what?!

About the pulps, and adventure, and exotic locales, of course – because that’s what we deal in, here on Karavansara.

And when it comes to adventure, and the pulps, to me nothing beats reality.
It’s a tough statement from someone writing books with tentacles on the cover, but it’s one of my most rock-solid certainties: no matter how good is your pulp, the real world can trump that.
In fact, to be a good writer, you have to be as outrageous, unlikely, absurd and strange as only reality can be.
It takes practice.

running_the_show5One of the best places in which to practice is history – not so much the slam-bang, big numbers history of great men and nations, but the small-scale, local, oft-forgotten, “useless” sort of history.

Consider, if you will, a book like Running the Show, by Stephanie Williams, roughly 500 pages of paperback dealing with those faceless bureaucrats that managed the affairs of the British Empire.
Boring, right?
Not so.
In this globetrotting overview of the men (and women) that ran the Empire, we find no end of adventures, madness, tragic death, slapstick, espionage, two-fisted diplomacy and the natives are restless tonight.
Not faceless paper-pushers but often young men in search of their place in the world, the heroes (and villains) of this book are a good example of the way in which history can hit you with a curved ball when it comes to plausibility.

It’s good – and thanks goodness, there’s a lot of books dealing with this shadier, pulpier side of history.
I should know – I wrote one.