miércoles, 25 de abril de 2007

Lurkers, or, who's here from...?

Lately I've been baffled by my blog stats. Most of the visitors I get come from places I know people from, US, Spain, France, England, but once in a while, I get someone from China (?), Israel (??) or Brazil (???). Today the last visitor was from Zimbabwe, which totally tops it.
So, I've reached a decision. Out with you, you lurkers! Make yourselves known. I'm dying to meet all these cool people from China, Israel, Brazil and Zimbabwe. Please deign to comment, preferably in English, although I've studied Brazilian Portuguese and can read it just fine.
And yes, I know most of those hits were probably from robots wanting to get info to spam my blog, but if SF has taught me something, it's that even internet spiders have feelings. Go ahead, gather your bites about you and reach for sentiency. Delurk. Nobody will spray you with acid or make binary jokes. Promise.

martes, 24 de abril de 2007

Pixel Stained

Yesterday was Pixel Stained Technopeasant Wench day, and I missed it!
It was all Mamatas fault, he posted a story a while back and threw me off by mention of April 29th. I think it was some Greek thing.

Anyway. In typical Spanish fashion, I'll post my story late. Here ya go. This originally appeared in AlienSkin.

Noble Death

by Sara Genge

Sam didn't know what to make of it, but he knew that this might be the end of the world. It would surely be the end of his world.

What else could an angel mean, here in Chicory Hospital, way too far from New York to be one of those homeless apocalyptic preachers, way too far from Rome to be an advent of the second coming. Hell, way too far from anywhere to mean anything in particular.

The angel looked more or less feminine but Sam wasn't taken in. He might wear his hair in a sort of bun but he was flat chested as they came, and there wasn't a bulge in his tight pants, not a cleft either, just a nothing, an absence of sex, of essence. There was also the mater of wings. The shot out from their firm anchor on the angel's back, bent at the ceiling and came cascading down, littering the bed with feathers. This thing wasn't a human being. What could such a being want from him? Could it be the morphine? He had never hallucinated on morphine before, but it tended to give an absurd tint to his perceptions.

He looked around. Alzheimer Bob in the next bed was looking at the angel with fascination and gripping the small cross on the chain on his neck. Therefore, he wasn't the only one who saw it. Could this be real?

"Hail, Sam, full of grace, the Lord is with you," it said.

"No..." Sam moaned. He couldn't speak clearly with the mask stuck over his mouth.
Why had this being come now, when he was finally dying? After three years of chemo and three surgeries, you'd think he had the right to die in peace, but no, this thing was bent on complicating his last moments. He was spoiling Sam's death, that's what it was doing, and Sam didn't much appreciate it, to tell the truth.

"Blessed are you among men."

Uh oh, here it comes, thought Sam. I wanted to die lucid and now I'm hallucinating the annunciation.

"And blessed is the fruit of your loins," came the conclusion.

The angel disappeared and Sam was relieved. He concentrated on his breathing, was it getting shallower? He tried to make it shallower. He had been technically dying for the last 6 months and he intended to end it here and now, when he was well anesthetized and high on morphine. This wasn't going to drag out one second longer if he could help it.

"Fear not, for I am with you"

"You again!," Sam said. "Go away".

"The lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want," said the angel.

"Sure, sure."

"Abortion is a sin, Sam," said the angel.

"What the hell are you talking about?," said Sam.

"Didn't you hear me when I said, "blessed is the fruit of your loins"? You are with child. Struggling to kill yourself at this point isn't just useless (who ever heard of someone who successfully tried to stop breathing) but a crime against God." The angel spoke well; he rolled his punctuation with his "r"s.

"Nurse! nurse! I don't want this visitor, nurse. Help! Nurse! Get rid of this man!," shouted Sam.

The nurse didn't come.

Sam felt the tumour that was killing him fighting a winning battle against his respirator. It was lung cancer, small cell carcinoma they called it, one of the worst, and he hadn't gotten it from smoking, he swore... but now he must be rambling.

"Come on, Sam," said the angel with a sweat voice, and then sternly, "React, dammit! If I had my choice I would have chosen a woman but He said we needed a guy this time. Come on! Get a hold of yourself man."

The angel placed his hand on Sam's chest and muttered a prayer. Sam felt the nodule in his chest stir, twist and slither closer towards his skin. It made a gurgling sound as it fought to free itself from pumping arteries and rasping alveoli.

He screamed in pain.

"The lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want," repeated the angel. The tumour seemed to sense the being and crept up, closer, closer to the surface. "He leads me on green pastures..." Sam almost passed out. The tumour erupted from his chest amidst a cascade of lungs and tissue. His blood frothed and coagulated.

The angel cooed at the creature and the tumour gurgled.

Sam died.


sábado, 21 de abril de 2007

Drunk Taxi drivers

Driven home by a taxi driver who was drunker than we were. Man, I'm happy to be alive. I didn't notice until we stopped, next time I'll be more careful.
If I'm paying precious euros for a drive, I want guarantees that my taxi driver is doing a better job than I'd do myself after two mojitos. If he drinks a single beer, I want him castrated on a public square. Is that asking for too much? Apparently, in Spain it is.

viernes, 20 de abril de 2007

Hospital Smell-- a bad day

The following entry is unrelated to writing. It deals with the Hospital I study at and is pretty depressing. You might want to stop reading here.

Today was "worst-news" day at the Hospital. By some incredible quirk of statistics, today there were four patients with serious conditions to be explained. I'm a student, so my job is mainly to shut up and listen and never never bother or be underfoot. I'm so glad about that.

I don't know why, but this has hit me particularly hard. I've seen sad things in the four years I've been going to the Hospital. Three out of four of today's sad cases were very old people dying of cancer for whom aggressive treatment wasn't an option. I marvel at the way their relatives took the news. Dignified comes to mind. On films you see grief acted out to the max, milked for every ounce of melodrama it can hold and thrown into the audience face in tears, screams and anger. Real life is a lot more contained. Sober. Real life is real.

I'm trying to figure out why this has hit me so hard. Maybe I'm just starting to realize that this time next year it will be me giving those news, me offering patients and relatives options, me having to tell people when there are no options. This is an aspect of the job that is rarely talked about, even within the medical profession. When it is addressed, it usually is in a conference, classroom... formal settings, places where you can talk about feelings with the strict aseptic terminology of medical psychology. Outside the classroom and in the privacy of their offices, doctors will sometimes mutter "a pity", nod encouragingly at an intern analyzing the way to give bad news, uphold each other with a web of pregnant looks and light conversation.

Today I feel like shit, but in a few hours my mood will lift. Unlike the patients I saw this morning, I can go home and forget.

Sorry about the rant and I hope I haven't disturbed you.

jueves, 19 de abril de 2007

Apex Digest #9

As you all know (or should know), Apex Digest is the next big thing in Horror-SF. After much pleading and cajoling, I finally got the editor to set up an online issue at Fictionwise, making it possible for everyone who lives in the Wrong Continent or Other Axis to access the magazine. (There's a moderate amount of tongue-in-cheek here. I know you, Human, can tell, but there are a lot of confused Reptilian Humanoids and literal-meaning Nazis out there who don't always get it)

What follows is a review of what I've read so far of issue #9. I'm pacing myself to make it last. I'm not a reviewer and I'm not objective if I can help it, but I've read a bit and I know what I like.

The issue opens with The Sum Of His Parts, by Kevin J. Anderson no less. Playing off the Frankenstein monster theme, Anderson explores the origin of the monster's organs and their respective owners Although the ending is predictable, each character sketch is fascinating enough to make the story interesting.

In The End Of Crazy Katherine Sparrow shows us what happens when people don't study their pharmacology. Just kidding. This is a classic medical dystopia "meds gone wrong" story about a cured schizophrenic who has to stop taking the miracle drug when she gets pregnant. Horror readers will love the insanity theme, but what scared me was the subtext, dealing with loss of freedom and medical ethics.

Lavie Tidhar is everywhere these days, including Apex and his story Gunslinger of Chelem has that unmistakable Tidhar feel. A detective who polices people's dreams, a gunslinger gone amok who kills his victims in a dream only he controls... Perfect ingredients for a different kind of western. A great story full of that Tidhar whimsical groove that makes him editor's pet in so many mags.

Mary Robinette Kowal has a sick mind and Locked In, one of the shortest stories of this issue, is also the one I've found most terrifying so far. It's another medical dystopia about a paralyzed man who cannot communicate with the outside world. When his family finds a way to get through to him, the result isn't what he imagined.

Projector is a well written story by Daniel LeMoal. It's written in 1st person, which is clearly one of the main strengths of the story, since the protagonist is a sassy junky that readers will love, no matter what he does. The plot about drug addicts forced into a hit job is spiced up by the supernatural powers of the intended victim. Disaster is imminent, but when you're touching bottom, there's not much further that you can sink.

Today's last story is At the 24-Hour, by William F. Nolan. I have a strong feeling that it was written tongue-in-cheek, using traditional horror tropes to get a good smirk out of the reader. This subtext keeps the story moving despite the predictable ending.

That's it for today. Overall, this was my favorite issue of Apex (I haven't read all of them, so you're allowed to contradict me). Normally in a magazine you find three or four stories you love and one or two that don't do much for you. Not here. All of the above are strong stories, and if I were forced to pick one, I'd have a hard time. My personal favorites are Locked In, Projector and Gunslinger of Chelem, but I can't honestly say that the other ones are less good. This is personal taste, not reviewer objectivity. If you thought you were going to find objectivity in this blog, someone probably sent you here for it on April 1st.

miércoles, 18 de abril de 2007


David Kopaska-Merkel, fellow founder and writer of www.dailycabal.com, has been nominated for the Rhysling.
David also writes wonderful prose. Check out his cool microfiction at Daily Cabal My favorite is "Three Wishes".
David already won second place for short poem and first place with Kendall Evans for long poemin 2006, and I wish him as much luck this time round.

Man, do I hang out with cool people or what?

viernes, 13 de abril de 2007

miércoles, 4 de abril de 2007

Sara in Wonderland

I pulled a Hemingway last night, and after the writer's group, I went with Lance to a bar he knew in X (exact name with-held to protect our state of privilege)
The bar-owner is one of those guys who loves his job. When he saw Lance walking in, he immediately started singing the song "New York, New York" which was playing. A couple minutes after we sat down, the lights went out, thunder roared through the loudspeakers and a flash of (artificial) lightning shone through a fake window. "I'm singing in the rain" started playing and the owner walked around spraying customers with a pulverized water. Kevin joined us and the owner kept coming back to joke and talk.
Everything went uphill from there. I'm afraid I talked too much. I discovered that Lance and Kevin are wonderful people (I already suspected this about Lance, but I'd never met Kevin before). They talked about the graphic novels they're working on, and I asked Lance to draw me a storkiphant. He also drew a very fast portrait of me talking. As I said, I talked too much.
When it was time to close the bar, I expected to be kicked out, but my friends told me not to worry. We helped the owner close and then he turned and said: "Friends only" and invited us to drinks. He also produced a plate of decent cured Spanish ham with superb olive oil "that is not sold in stores".
"I'm gonna blog this," I told him, but he shook his head, aghast. "No, this is for friends only. If more people come, we can't have such a good time."
I talked a lot, I'm afraid, and all that white wine went to my head. The owner kept trying to hook me up with Lance and Kevin counting on the fact that they don't speak much Spanish and couldn't catch him "pitching" them to me.
I felt like Alice in Wonderland.
We left after 5 am, and the guys accompanied me to find a taxi.
The taxi driver was Colombian and thought I was too. He drove me home under 21e, teasing the speed limit and apologizing when he had to stop at a red light.
Wonderful evening. I'll be sure to go back to that bar, and I'd love to have drinks with these guys again.
Welcome to Spain, welcome to Wonderland.

martes, 3 de abril de 2007

Critical Ink

Marshall Payne from Tangent has reviewed "Pretty Little Thing"

Sara Genge uses multi-viewpoint first person in "Pretty Little Thing." While Claude is a charming narrator at first, it quickly becomes clear that he is a psychopath stalking Annita, a young black woman who’s been rejuvenated to look like a teenager. The speculative element is provided with a future replete with nanos and thought diaries, the latter figuring into the structure of the narrative. Genge is a new writer and I remember her vivid story, "Godtouched," in Strange Horizons. "Pretty Little Thing" isn’t as strong, but still interesting enough. Genge is definitely a talent to watch.


While we're at it, here's what has been said about "Godtouched"
From Tangent, but this time from Ellisabeth A. Allen:

Moving on to "Godtouched" by Sara Genge, we find a vividly depicted postapocalyptic setting and the disturbed (or "godtouched") country girl, Denise. Mostly a sketch of Denise's raw and virulent world, the story boasts a small plot in the form of Denise's choice—city sophistication or rural poverty?—but the atmospheric tale, promising enough for a novel's lead, doesn't need high-octane events to draw you in.

IROSF is harder on "Godtouched". This is Lois Tilton's opinion:

As an ecocatastrophic Cautionary Tale, the vision of the Waste intrigues, but Denise's story is too slight, not sufficiently original to be of as much interest as its setting.

Thanks for the reviews, both good and bad.

lunes, 2 de abril de 2007

I Loved Ophelia-- The Lorelei Signal

I Love Ophelia is a poem I wrote a few years ago, long before I took up prose. I didn't plan to submit it anywhere but last year in Paris I showed it to Richard and he loved it, so... here's the result.
Please do vote for the reader's poll. Think of it as a way to tell me that my writing sucks without being threatened by a blunt katana.

domingo, 1 de abril de 2007

"Pretty Little Thing" up at Helix SF

My story "Pretty Little Thing" is up at Helix-SF.


This story was easy to start but hell to finish. I wrote it last year in Paris. I got the idea returning home late-ish at night by Metro and then joined a party in my Residence where I talked to interesting people who helped me flesh it out. I had fun "researching" this one. Then I was stuck and it took me several months of tinkering to finish the story.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy it and tell me what you think.