Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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Hope & Glory review and a bit about utopia

THE world is undergoing immense changes. Never before have the conditions of life changed so swiftly and enormously as they have changed for mankind in the last fifty years. We have been carried along—with no means of measuring the increasing swiftness in the succession of events. We are only now beginning to realize the force and strength of the storm of change that has come upon us.(H.G. Wells, The Open Conspiracy, 1928)

40651289_1844226848964225_7031900626594299904_nThe first full review of Hope & Glory is in and it is just great – you can read it here, on the Ars Rolica blog. It’s in Spanish, but as usual Google Translate is your friend.

The review really made me happy and I was particularly happy of the fact that the reviewer started out cautious and a little diffident, but finally was captivated by the setting.

All the elements are perfectly interwoven with each other and, as I said before, once that initial caution is saved, it is very easy to get carried away by the exciting combination of genres that Hope & Glory presents.

… and I thought, we made it!

I am extremely grateful to Ars Rolica for their great and in-depth review of our game; I am sure I can speak for my long-suffering partner in this adventure – Umberto Pignatelli, that had to put order and numbers on my somewhat sprawling world – and the guys that did art and graphics. Thank you, Ars Rolica!

There was also a bit that caused me to pause, and laugh, and then an idea for a post, and here I am… Continue reading


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The Watchers, a review

Halloween is creeping closer, and it’s a good opportunity to roll out a few reviews of books I read over the last few months.
51abGQJhjoL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Like, for instance, William Meikle’s The Watchers trilogy.
Meikle is one of the most reliable authors in the supernatural horror/thriller genre, with a side of sword & sorcery, and one of the first writers I started reading when I got my Kindle reader.
William Meikle got some absolutely undeserved bad press last year, when a noted critic singled him out during a rant review of an anthology. It was unfair, wrong-headed and inelegant, but that’s critics for you, I guess.
For this writer, William Meikle is good.

Case in point, The Watchers, a work that dos not only underscore the skills and imagination of the author, but represent a perfect read for those who are tired of a certain type of horror and want to try something different. Continue reading


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December, a review

Phil Rickman is an English author with a background in music and a deep knowledge of the traditions, legends and atmospheres of that region of the British Isles straddling the England-Wales border.

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In this territory Rickman has set his series of novels focused on the Anglican exorcist Merrily Watkins, mixing detective fiction with a supernatural that is more hinted at than made explicit. In this Rickman is admirable author in his ability to intercept two sectors of the public – that of horror and that of the British-style mystery (not necessarily a cozy), which are usually considered to be mutually exclusive.
Rickman is also the author of a series of mystery novels set in Elizabethan England and featuring Dr John Dee and the Earl of Essex as a team of sui generis, sort-of-X-files investigators.
At the same time, Rickman produced a number of stand-alone novels, more frankly horrific and generally ascribable to that typically British genre of “folk horror” or “rural horror” that is going through a renaissance in these last years1.
December belongs to this batch of stand-alone books. I originally reviewed it last year, for an Italian magazine – a friend borrowed me her copy, and I was able to meet the publisher’s expectations. I recently bought the book (together with four other stand-alone Rickman books), and here goes my review – suitably expanded and updated. Continue reading


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Big Game, Short Stories

Growing old1, I find myself increasingly interested in short fiction, both as a reader and a writer.
Maybe it comes from the realization that time is running out, who knows.
Or maybe it’s because, having appreciated the challenges of writing short stories, one comes to enjoy much more the short stories out there.

w505430One of the gifts I made myself for having finished my novel was Alex Bledsoe‘s two-story ebook, Next-to-Last of the Tiger Men & Mack’s Rhino.
I read both the stories two nights ago, and I am awed by the author’s skill and sensibility.

Both Next-to-Last of the Tiger Men and Mack’s Rhino are big game hunting stories.
Is there anything more classic than hunting stories?
Hemingway and all that.
And yet, these are also stories about hauntings – very different hauntings.
Not scary, but… deep.

Both stories feature Tennessee-born professional hunters Linda Fontana and T.S. Bunch, and in the characterization of these two, and their relationship, Alex Bledsoe’s skill shines as much as it does shine in his ability to summon a whole world, a whole set of sensations, in a very short narrative space.

I’ll have to re-read this ebook again, and again – and try to learn as much as I can.


  1. Like George Carlin used to say, I’m not growing older, I have to face the fact that I’m growing old


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Within Wet Walls: A (short) Review

www-cover-3-frontI was invited to the launch party for Lily Childs’ Within Wet Walls, yesterday, and on my way there, I got me a copy of the ebook.

I love ghost stories, I read a lot of them in the winter (the atmosphere is right) and this one was presented as the sort of gothic delight I was looking for.

Later last night I read it in one sitting, and I was so completely fascinated that I decided a short review here on my blog was in order.
Here goes. Continue reading


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The House of Ka

51-HCjLLpWLTwo nights back I felt like celebrating a small personal victory, so I treated myself to a one buck ebook, and I got me The House of Ka, by Walter Bosley.

I was intrigued by the cover – and then of course the author runs the Lost Continent Library blog, so I was pretty sure I picked a winner.

The House of Ka is a 120 pages novella, and I read it in two sittings.
And very good it was. Continue reading