Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


3 Comments

Going Noir in Faeryland

42989848_10215692319757653_2014258310848446464_nLess than 12 hours after the paintings by Astor Alexander started making the rounds, a call hit the usual suspects, for an anthology of pulp retellings of faery tales.
The only rule: not the ninbe princesses portrayed in the original paintings.
Which is a pity, because I love Pocahontas – Private Eye.
Anyway, that’s what writing to a call means – you go with the publisher’s requests.
And so I did some research, dug out Giambattista Basile, and sent a pitch straight away (and this makes three submissions to three different publishers this week). Continue reading


Leave a comment

Faux-noir: Pulp, 1972

Pulp is a 1972 comedy/drama, written and directed by Michael Hodges, who is mostly famous for directing the British noir Get Carter featuring Michael Caine.
Caine stars in Pulp, too – and is also a co-producer.

Originally titled Memoirs of a Ghostwriter, the movie is a flawed gem, one that probably suffers from striving too hard. It plays with hard boiled, Chandleresque fiction, and at times it’s quite funny, but the end result is ultimately inferior to the sum of its parts. There could be an intelligent satire, hiding inside of the film, but it’s sometimes hard to catch glimpses of it. Continue reading


Leave a comment

Erle Stanley Gardner’s Trick

The writer’s life would be ideal but for the writing. That was a problem I had to overcome. Then, I read in the Guinness Book of Records about Erle Stanley Gardner – the world’s fastest novelist – who can dictate up to the rate of ten thousand words a day. That was for me. None of that romantic stuff with a typewriter. I had better uses for those two particular fingers.

The quote above is from a 1972 movie called Pulp, featuring Michael Caine as a rather sleazy pulp novelist that gets involved in a complicated – and in the end pretty ludicrous – caper with mobsters, killer and what else.

pulp

The bit about Erle Stanley Gardner is true. Continue reading


6 Comments

49 cents worth of Pulp

Last night I completed a long and heavy writing job (because sometimes insomnia is good for you), and to celebrate a job well done I invested 49 eurocents in a 1200 pages ebook.
Because I’m cheap.
But who said that expensive ebooks are better?

51TTaxtf7NL._SY346_The book I gave myself as a good job, old man! gift is called SCIENCE-FANTASY Ultimate Collection: Time Travel Adventures, Sword & Sorcery Tales, Space Fantasies and much more.
Which seems to be just the sort of stuff I like.
And sure is, because the guy that wrote all that stuff was Otis Adelbert Kline – pulp writer, amateur orientalist and frequent contributor to ArgosyWeird Tales (of which he was the editor for one issue) and Oriental Stories.
He was also Robert E. Howard’s literary agent.
Great catch! Continue reading


4 Comments

Hope & Glory: Glass Houses

I’m very proud to announce that Glass Houses, the first novella set in the Hope & Glory game setting, is finally available via Amazon, RPGNow and DriveThruRPG, in a variety of digital formats.

It’s been a long road, and it is good to finally see this first title out. And I owe a big Thank You! and a colossal, collective slap on the back to all the people that worked on this project.
More books will follow.

205485

Glass Houses is a steampulp tale set in an India that never was – it is plain old fashioned science-fictional intrigue, and was designed as a stand-alone story for everyone, gamers and non-gamers.

To learn more about Hope & GloryContinue reading


Leave a comment

Magic, art & science in the city: Passing Strange

41jzvod73kl-_sy346_And then something happens that disrupts all your plans and your timetables, and it0s OK like that.
In this case, the something was a quick message from my friend Marina, that suggested I check out a book called Passing Strange, by author Ellen Klages.
The book, Marina said, came with the recommendation of Caitlin R. Kiernan.

If the recommendation and the gorgeous cover weren’t enough, I then checked the blurb on Amazon…

San Francisco in 1940 is a haven for the unconventional. Tourists flock to the cities within the city: the Magic City of the World’s Fair on an island created of artifice and illusion; the forbidden city of Chinatown, a separate, alien world of exotic food and nightclubs that offer “authentic” experiences, straight from the pages of the pulps; and the twilight world of forbidden love, where outcasts from conventional society can meet.

Six women find their lives as tangled with each other’s as they are with the city they call home. They discover love and danger on the borders where magic, science, and art intersect.

Inspired by the pulps, film noir, and screwball comedy, Passing Strange is a story as unusual and complex as San Francisco itself from World Fantasy Award winning author Ellen Klages.

Yes, inspired by the pulps, film noir, and screwball comedy.
Could I not invest two bucks and a half in this book?

And a great investment it was, just as it was a good idea spending a few hours in these two nights to read the book and enjoy its mix of class, elegance and ideas.
Part of the (excellent) series of Tor.com novellas, Klages’ book is a historical fantasy1 set in 1940, and touches on a number of subjects, from topology to weird menace pulps, while tracing the lives of six characters in the shadow of the incoming war and in a society i n which they have a hard time fitting.
Elegantly written, with great dialogue and great characterization, Passing Strange reads like a breeze, and is hopefully a sign that 2017 will be an excellent year for fiction, if nothing else.
Highly recommended.


  1. remind me to do a post about why lots of current fantasy fans wouldn’t recognize Klages’ story as a fantasy, and why this is an absolute tragedy. 


Leave a comment

Decopunk

Well, Christmas is getting closer, and I’m getting some early gifts.
And why not brag about them?
The postman just dropped by and delivered a book from my friend Alex, and what a beauty it is.
It’s called Deco Punk, The Spirit of the Age, a collection of dieselpunk-ish stories edited by Thomas A. Easton and Judith K. Dial, and published by Pink Narcissus Press.

decopunk

The cover alone is breathtaking, and the contents are very very promising, being a selction of stories by Debra Doyle and James D. Macdonald, Shariann Lewitt, Linda Tiernan Kepner, Sarah Smith, William Racicot, Paul Di Filippo, Melissa Scott, Edward M. Lerner, Catherine Asaro and Kate Dolan, Duncan Eagleson, Jeff Hecht, and Rev DiCerto.

And of course, dieselpunk is just pulp misspelled, and of pulp fantasy there is never enough, so this is really what the doctor ordered for New year’s Eve – a night of reading about a past that never was.

Oh, and yes, I’d love to write something in the decopunk subjenre – some science fiction/adventure thing, maybe with a noirish edge, set in what has been called *The Age of Elegance.
I might even have an inspiration image here at hand…

265233_182783225109684_118197471568260_447930_689732_o

Who knows?
So much to write, so little time…