viernes, 31 de agosto de 2007

Kill Me

After spending all morning studying, I reached my frustration-anger-desperation high point of the week.

This is what happens if you google "kill me"

Only 68 coffees to go.

lunes, 27 de agosto de 2007


Today I managed to study the three main types of myocardiopathy and revise cardiac valves. I know this doesn't mean anything to any of the people who read my blog (being writer types and all that), but studying all this in one day means:

1. I hauled ass
2. I study from a rather abridged manual.

Just wanted to share my exasperation. Now, I'm off to finish those valves and hopefully start with "shock".

jueves, 23 de agosto de 2007

101 reasons and clicking compulsions

101 reasons to stop writing is back! 101 reasons is one of my regular time-wasting compulsive clicking blog stops and when Sean Lindsey went on hiatus, I found the habit was hard to kick. I kept returning to the blog and going duh! when I realized that there was no new content.

Well, one of those compulsive clicks paid off: 101 reasons has migrated to a new fancy blog and I anticipate many happy masochistic reads.

martes, 21 de agosto de 2007

"Family Values" in COSMOS 16

Issue 16 of Cosmos Magazine is out, with my story "Family Values" in it.

Here's the link to a nice reader comment in the Last Short Story project. I'm glad girliejones felt that way. She even called my writing "smooth".
Now, seriously, I'm glad she liked the goofiness of the story. It was fun to write, unlike some of my darker stories which take tons of frustration and rewrites. I want to write more of these.

jueves, 16 de agosto de 2007

Strange Horizons 2007 Fund Drive

The 2007 Fund Drive for Strange Horizons has been extended two more weeks. Everyone who hasn't donated until now has a chance to help meet the 2007 goal of 6000$. The current amount received is just over 4200$.

There are many good reasons to give to SH:

1. Strange Horizons has a unique vision of speculative fiction and probably one of the most interesting in the field. You may not like all of their stories, but at least they're guaranteed to surprise you. Fight the tedium!

2. With the dollar so low, 30$ is pocket change. Seriously.

3. The SH fund drives happen only once a year (at least this year). Although you can give at any time of the year, now's the only time you'll be pestered, cajoled or guilted out of cash.

4. Check out some stories

5. Did I mention there are prizes?

martes, 14 de agosto de 2007

GUD #1. A semi-review.

Continuing with my informal reviews, here are my comments on the first half of issue 1 of GUD Magazine.

I've left the poems out since I'm not into poetry.

Electroencephalography, by Darby Larson, reads like a SF fable. At first the childish style and fairy-tale characters took some getting used to, but as the story got darker, the pipping voice made it all the more terrifying. Dean is a lazy man who wants to make a robot to do his housework for him and gets his father and brother to make it for him. From there, the story gets surreal, leading to a strange ending which, nevertheless, does the story justice.

What happened was this: I woke up and the arrow was there, wedged through my breastbone and into my heart like a trowel. And, you know, I was shocked but not surprised. I thought, Well, this explains that sinking feeling I’ve had for the last thirty years.

Nadine Darling's Arrow tells us the story of a person who, literally, has an arrow through their heart. Being a romantic is a painful and embarrassing affair, and the protagonist goes through all the stages of arrow-acceptance, until they decide to do something about it. But even making a deal with the devil might not be enough to remove an arrow.
I'm glad this story was written. I'm thinking of all those teenagers who've ever been shot through the heart with an arrow: you're not alone, kids, it's ok to feel sad. People learn to cope with arrows, or in the case of this MC, find darker ways of ridding themselves of them.
The language in this story is superb, the humour subtle and understated. A great read and my favorite story in this first half of the issue.

Drive Thru by Kenneth Darling is a prose-poem about an airport. I try not to crit poems, since I don't have even basic knowledge of what a poem should be and I generally don't enjoy them, but the prose structure conned me into reading it and now I don't know what to say. It was sweet, cute, the imagery was good. I told you I didn't know shit about poems.

Hello Goodbye by Lavie Tidhar is a story I tried to understand. It has underwater dragon sex, something I've never seen anywhere else. The writing is awesome (duh, it's Tidhar) and it had an eerie dreamlike quality to it.
Baptised by the Baptist, he says and giggles again, and stares up
at the moons and takes a deep breath. He lies flat on his back, holding
in air, and his body becomes a dirigible floating on water; he is a
Phoenician sailing ship, going to Ur, a merchant of wine and souls.

In Aliens, by Jordan E. Rosenfeld, the MC is a waitress in a vegan restaurant where she hates the food and can't stand Nadia, another waitress.
The language borders on poetic and the desert imagery is vivid. A very nice read.

Not In The Yellow Pages by Lesley C. Weston, is a flash about someone searching for a hotel that isn't listed in the Yellow Pages.
He asks, “Do you remember when you used to love me?”
“I remember,” I say. The roof of my mouth and my teeth ache,
like they did when I was a kid wearing braces.

Yep, I wore braces and they can do that.

As with Arrow, this story is written in first person and the MC's gender isn't explicit. Here I have a feeling it might be a man, whereas in Arrow it felt like a woman's voice. In either case it doesn't matter since gender really doesn't add much to the story and I expect readers could fill in their gender of choice.

As with Drive Thru, I'm wondering if this wasn't almost meant as poetry. The last line certainly carries a punch that sounds like good poetry. Well, whatever the author meant it to be, it's good, so I'm not bitching.

Natural History is the story of a woman coming to terms with the loss of her husband. Gini Hamilton weaves a tale of anecdotes and memories, punctuated by the woman's findings: dead animals, bones, stones. Literary language, restrained emotion and believable characters. GUD.

Unzipped is not another Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder story. For one, if I had noticed that was what it was about, I would have chucked the story across the room. I'm sick of stereotypes of Vietnam vets hitting the deck every time someone breaks a glass. Most cases of PTSD last less than 3-4 months. What's more, most people who live through a traumatic event don't develop PTSD.
Thankfully, the opening paragraphs are so cleverly worded that by the time I found out about that detail I was in love and couldn't stop reading. Steven J. Dines takes the theme into new, medically inaccurate places (I'm not complaining, this is fiction and I don't think it was the author's intent to portray the condition precisely), where guilt, madness and literary flair merge nicely. Dark. That's the way I like it.

Max Velocity by Leslie Claire Walker is about a woman who is breeding. This is no ordinary unwanted pregnancy, in this future, bearing a child costs a woman a lot more than just her figure, her time or her career. The bad guys are seriously screwed, the good guys aren't really good and there is no escaping nature (or a random mutation, whatever). A great way to remember to use birth control and one of the few horror stories that actually scared me.

All in all, I'm amazed at the quality of this first half of GUD#1. Most were impressive stories and there were no stinkers which is more than can be said for some top SF mags. My favorites were Arrow, Aliens and Max Velocity.

domingo, 5 de agosto de 2007

Apex #10--a semi review

It's clear that Apex has been getting better issue by issue, so it stands to reason that Apex #10 is the best one yet. And I used to think horror wasn't really my thing...

Cherie Priest's Bad Sushi is a pretty straight-forward horror piece in which sushi turns sour. The interesting protagonist (old Japanese ex- WWII combatant living in the USA) keeps the story rolling and me off sushi for about a week.

The second story, Daydreams, by Lavie Tidhar is good even by Tidhar standards. Set in the universe of Gunslinger of Chelem (a previous Apex story), it depicts a world in which dreams come real and super-detectives in the REM unit of the police force go into the field (not) counting sheep and clutching their teddy-bears.
The action is gripping (and freaking weird) and the conclusion, like most of Tidhar's stuff, is inconclusive but strangely satisfying.

What is it about this guy that reminds me of Frank Herbert? You read his stories and "get" only 10% of the plot, all the while wishing that you were more intelligent because that glimpse tells you the other 90% must be awesome. I wonder if it's not all a facade, make-believe that there's stuff hidden between the lines when there isn't. Either way, the technique works. It makes me feel like I've been transported into a future that I, poor twenty-first century mortal that I am, cannot begin to comprehend. This isn't the first (or fourth) Tidhar story I've read, but I'm sure going to keep on the lookout for more of his work.

What if ghosts didn't turn up to identify their killer? Memories of the Knacker's Yard, by Ian Creasey, explores this possibility. In a world where murder investigations should be easy-peasy, Malcolm Chenier finds himself pursuing the slasher, a killer whose motive are souls.

The world-building in this piece is gorgeous and the well-paced plot leads to a psychologically acute end.

In Pigs and Feaches by Patrice E. Sarath. A virus called super-A (super-Alzheimers) spreads through brains and leaves them plaque-ridden and mushy. Is there something left underneath dementia?

Part 2 of Cain XP11 by Geoffrey Girard. I'll leave this until I have read the whole story.

Monument, by Nancy Fulda is this issue's Parting Shot. Loss, regret, misunderstanding and the good writing you'd expect from Nancy Fulda.

viernes, 3 de agosto de 2007

Sale to Apex!

Apex Digest has agreed to publish "Dear Diary" for the Apex parting shot. "Dear Diary" belongs to a series of short shorts that are going up at the Daily Cabal.

I'm real proud of my little story. I'm very fond of Apex and I've been trying to get in for a while.

The only bummer is that I was planning on posting a review of Apex 10 this week and this sort of screws with that. But, what the hell, everyone knew I was partial to Apex anyway (why else would I try to be published there?), so I'll simply do my best to give a straight review and hope that the three people who bother to read this blog don't mind.