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Francesco A. Pizzo – the Take Away Interview


As announced, here is the first Take Away Interview. I will use this new series to meet authors and other creatives and interesting people in general, and let them provide contents for my blog. Because I am lazy, but I am also curious. I hope you are, too. Curious, not lazy. I have a nice list of prospect interviewees, and for starters, I have asked a few questions to Francesco Antonio Pizzo, the artist whose Patreon I pointed out to you a few days back. Because he’s a fellow Italian, and because I like the idea of Italians making a name for themselves outside of our local market. So, without further ado, here’s the interview. Enjoy! Welcome to Karavansara, Francesco, and thank you for accep...
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Dreamforge


I have just signed a contract for my story Sapiens, that just as I had announced a few days back, will be featured in a magazine later this year. The magazine is called Dreamforge , and it’s my sort of thing. And, also, is now on Kickstarter. What I like about Dreamforge is their focusing on the positive. While I like dystopias just as the next guy, I really feel the need for something positive and optimistic. Which does not mean a problem-free world, but a world in which problems can be solved. Checking out the Kickstarter page , you can appreciate not only the graphical quality of the magazine, but also the line-up of artists and writers. Cue to me screaming Oh my goodness, I’m gonna be pu...
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The Bradbury-Heinlein Method


So, to recap: Ray Bradbury said you should write a story per week, for one year, because nobody can write 52 stinkers in a row. On the other hand, Bob Heinlein said you should finish what you start writing, and send it off to a publisher, and keep posting it until you sell it, no matter how many times it bounces back. In the last months I’ve been applying what I am now calling the Bradbury-Heinlein Method: I wrote, finished and submitted 14 stories between October and December 2018: two were sold and four bounced back, one of them twice – and it was submitted a third time. And in 2019, that is in the last thirteen days, I sold another, and another bounced back – I got the pink slip today, an...
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Night thougths and story ideas


Last night I was going through a bout of insomnia, so I wrapped myself in a stack of blankets and I watched me something. I chose a Japanese animated series, one I liked a lot when I was a kid. A spin off of the original, 12 20-minutes episodes that came out in the mid-’90s and that I had missed at the time. I watched and enjoyed it a lot more than I expected. I liked the storytelling, the characters and their dynamics, and OK, there was a certain amount of fluff and adolescent angst but what the heck, it was a Japanese anime, it’s supposed to have those. And while I was between episodes, a strange sensation hit me… It was, I think, a personal perception of time. This thing I was watching, a...
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48 hours to write

I am turning off the cell phone and shutting down my connection because I got a very attractive call for a science fiction story yesterday, that comes with a slight drawback: the call closes in 48 hours. Can I make it? Of course I can. Maybe. The fun bit is, for one of those strange serendipitous things that happen, the call – that is for a story about the future of sex, of all things – arrived in my mailbox just as i was watching a video on Youtube. This video, from thew 1969 musical Sweet Charity: … and it sort of gave me the basic idea on which to start writing. Say, wouldn’t you like to know what’s goin’ on in my mind? Well, that got me something going on in my mind, and I’m currently 60...
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Raiders of the Lost Franchise: Biggles (1986)


So, the idea was proposed to do a few posts about movie franchises that never started. Movies, mostly shot in the 1980s, that were all set up to be the Next Star Wars, the Next Conan or the Next Indiana Jones, but for some reason (usually a mix of ineptitude, lack of funds and madness) went nowhere, and sometimes entered the legend. And I like very much the idea, and I think I’ll start with a movie that believed so much in its First in a Series status, that it proclaimed it in the title itself – well, at least in some countries. Today it is considered a cult movie by some, and one of the most ludicrous movies ever by others. The fact that it came with a very well established pulp cred, and i...
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New year’s clean-up (and hot soup)

The idea of going out for a pizza and some talk with my friends on Twelfth Night was good, because I needed to recharge my batteries – and as a result I wrote two stories in two days afterwards. But I also caught some kind of seasonal bug, so now here I am eating hot veggie soup, wrapped in seven layers of blankets. And because I am too wrecked to do anything intelligent, I am tweaking a few of my things: I’m cleaning up the Patreon profile, launching a new Pinterest account specifically for this blog, and I might do some smaller changes to Karavansara. Like, a new header, or something. No hope of sleeping anyway. Don’t panic should you see things change and then change again in the next few...
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Second submission: flash fiction


I’m well pleased with myself – not only I sent off the second submission of the year (I’ll have to put a counter here somewhere), but it’s a 1000-words flash fiction, a format I am always very uneasy with. I tend to be a long-winded sort of guy. I like long dialogues, and that’s not necessarily the best thing to do in a flash. One thing I found works just fine is to have a strong idea of the conclusion. I’d go as far as to say that the last line should be the first thing to write, in a flash fiction. Anyway, the story is now in the hands of the editors – and their judgment will be final. In the meantime, I’ll start working on the next short-short story. It would be nice to have it finished b...
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Something new: the Takeaway Interviews


It’s been now more than one year since I first decided I’d reprise on Karavansara the old cycle of interviews that I had done on my Italian blog, called “Pizza, Chinese or Kebab”. The idea was to interview writers, game designers and other people of a creative bend. Then things got out of hand, as usual, and time passed. But now here we are… The new series will be called The Takeaway Interviews, and I will try and get involved a few people whose work you can find in English – be it stories or games – and a few artists. The first interview is being edited, and I have a long list of targets – but if you want to suggest someone, please do in the comments, and I’ll see if I can reach them. Origi...
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Where’s the remake? Krull (1983)


One day someone will compile a list of all bad ideas in movie history, and very close to the top of the list there will be, I am certain, the words “Let’s make the next Star Wars.” Mind you, there’s nothing wrong with being ambitious and setting yourself a big bold target, but the problem with “let’s make the new (whatever)” is that the ghost of whatever it is you are trying to outclass will haunt your production. Which can be bad. Really bade. Case in point, a movie that was supposed to be “the next Star Wars”, and suffered for it, a lot: Krull. And I re-watched it the other night. Back in the day, I actually read the Krull novelization by Alan Dean Foster before I saw the movie, that I cau...
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The first submission of the year


I have just mailed off to the editor the first submission of the year, a 3100 words story called The Melancholy of Princess Bilkis – a Tale of Zothique. As I have mentioned in a previous post, this is for me the opportunity to publish a story in celebration of Clark Ashton Smith, an author I greatly admire. I wrote the whole story last night, starting at 1 am and finishing at 7 am. As soon as I finished my story, LibreOffice, which I used for the final edit and revision, froze three times in ten minutes, each time forcing me to recover the text and start anew. And then my PC hung, and restarted itself. Let’s consider these hangups a sign that my story is good, and will probably sell, and the...
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Stoic Week day 7: Nature


The final day of the Stoic Week takes us to the Stoic view of Nature, which is at the same time naive and perceptive. We will need to reconcile it with our own modern view, which is in itself an interesting exercise. The works of the gods are full of providence, and the works of fortune are not separate from nature or the interweaving and intertwining of the hings governed by providence. Everything flows from there. Further factors are necessity and the benefit of the whole universe, of which you are a part. What is brought by the nature of the whole and what maintains that nature is good for each part of nature. Just as the changes in the elements maintain the universe so too do the changes...
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A reminder for my Patrons

And for everybody else, too: the first batch of recommendations in the Odds and Ends series was posted yesterday to my Patreon page. It features: two books (one heavily discounted, the other free)a book bundlea documentary you can watch on Youtubea free online course for book loversa virtual field trip to ancient Egyptand a free game app Check it out if you are my Patrons and you missed it, and if you feel like, please give me feedback. I’m having quite a lot of fun sifting through the web for items to include in these posts, but I’d like to know what you’d like to see. Thank you! Original link
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Back west


I’m going to go back and re-read Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove for the third time in the next few weeks, which is weird because I got something like forty-odd books in my Christmas book haul and it was just incredible and my to read list was never so full. But there’s two reasons I’m going back to Gus & Call’s adventures. Well, OK, four. But the first reason is simply that it’s a great book and I feel like reading it again, and the second is I’m going to slate it up for the book club I’m holding on my Italian blog, because the Italian version’s out again and it’s real cheap. Reason three and four are more articulate. I’ve been severely thrashed, last night, because I read only ridiculous ge...
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Stoic Week day 6: Resilience


We go back to Marcus Aurelius again, and the guy is at it again with the following… Be like the headland, on which the waves break constantly, which still stands firm, while the foaming waters are put to rest around it. ‘It is y bad luck that this has happened to me.’ On the contrary, say, ‘It is my good luck that, although this has happened to me, I can bear it without getting upset, neither crushed by the present nor afraid of the future.’ This kind of event could have happened to anyone, but not everyone would have borne it without getting upset. Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 4.49 In the end, for the Stoics, it’s what we carry that counts – so if the outside world sucks, the important thi...
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Stoic Week day 5: Emotions


Terribly late, because we took a night off to see some friends and have dinner together. More of an Epicurean evening than a Stoic one, but still, today’s topic is emotion, and we start with Epictetus, a former slave that became a philosopher. It isn’t the things themselves that disturb people, but the judgements that they form about them. Death, for instance, is nothing terrible, or else it would have seemed so to Socrates too; no, it is in the judgement that death is terrible that the terror lies. Accordingly, whenever we are impeded, disturbed or distressed, we should never blame anyone else but only ourselves, that is, our judgements. It is an act of a poorly educated person to blame oth...
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Invoking the Emperor of Dreams


This is going to be an interesting weekend: I have a story I need to complete by Monday, and it’s turning into a headache. Its now 4 am in the morning as I write this (a very Lovecraftian state of affairs, don’t you think?) and I’ve started writing at 8 pm, and not a single word I wrote in these eight hours I did not cancel. repeatedly. And gladly so, because they sucked. I have the outline, the plot points mapped, the characters and their names and traits and back story, I know what will happen, and how. The twist is there, and the drama and the irony. Everything’s perfect. What sucks, and sucks big time, is the language. The story I am writing is for a tribute collection for the late, grea...
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Steampunk science

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Stoic Week day 4: Community


Fourth day of the Stoic Week, we are beginning to end, and again the suggested text to be pondered brings back high school memories: It is important to understand that nature creates in parents affection for their children; and parental affection is the source from which we trace the shared community of the human race … As it is obvious that it is natural to us to shrink from pain, so it is clear that we derive from nature itself the motive to love those to whom we have given birth. From this motive is developed the mutual concern which unites human beings as such. The fact of their common humanity means that one person should feel another to be his relative. Cicero, On Ends, 3.62-3. There i...
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Karavansara Free Library update

How to Download the Books That Just Entered the Public Domain Original link
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