Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Eerie Worlds is going to change. Big time. Things are going to be much different for me and you all.

Further information in the near future.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Review: EQMM - Mar/Apr 2014

This is a late and short review due to a few events.
First, I found a job! I am very happy about it as I hope it will bring me success in the future.
Second, baseball. I went went to a few college games and I started working on the 2014 season with the help of Baseball America's books and Who's who in Baseball.

March/April 2014 double issue of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine is average, and I don't mean in a dispregiative way. No story in this issue is outstanding as no story is dull. Simply put, is a more than decent reading, full of mysteries and interesting plots.
It is definitely an issue worthy of the cover price.

The cover reminded me of "Pan's Labyrinth"

Friday, February 14, 2014

On American folklore

I admit my ignorance on American folklore. Neil Gaiman's American Gods is an amazing attempt to answer to some mythological questions, but strictly speaking it doesn't really touch folklore. Since I have no serious knowledge on local lore, I checked out this book:

Thursday, February 13, 2014

2014 - Reading List

- Stephen King, "The Shining", currently reading
- L. Sprague de Camp, "Dark Valley Destiny - The life of Robert E. Howard", currently reading
- Analog - April 2014, read, February 2014
- Asimov's - March 2014, read, February 2014
- Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine - Mar/Apr 2014, read, February 2014
- Stephen King, "Carrie", read, February 2014
- Stephen King, 'salem's Lot, read, February 2014

- Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, April 2014, read, January 2014
- Asimov's - February 2014, read, January 2014
- Clarkesworld, Jan 2014, Issue 88, read, January 2014
- Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine - Jan/Feb 2014 - Volume 126 No. 1&2, read, January 2014
- H.P. Lovecraft, "A Means to Freedom - Letters to Robert E. Howard", read, January 2014
- H.P. Lovecraft, "Essential Solitude - Letters to August Derleth", read, January 2014
- H.P. Lovecraft, "Letters from New York", read, January 2014

KEY: Author/Magazine,[ "Title",] [Issue,] status, finish date.

Antisocial social.

Social interactions are fascinating. Thus, the idea that they are quickly disappearing disturbs me profoundly. 
A few days ago I was having lunch with my family at the bar section of a Mexican restaurant (On the Border, if you really want to know). Surrounded by people, fajitas and cervezas, I noticed the presence of five television sets. No one, was looking at them. However, the place was awfully quiet for a packed bar. A family of four next to me was completely absorbed by iPhones (not sure which model). The three kids and their mom were blankly staring at each own’s device. It took them at least a minute to acknowledge that the waitress brought them the free nachos. 

A group of four girlfriends walked in and started talking - one complaining to the manager about the location of my kids, facing the spirits - until two of them began chatting on their smartphone. The two girls without the phone kept looking at their friend's virtual chat, actually dividing the four-people group into a de facto two two-people groups. They kept being silent - chuckling once in a while - with the two furiously thumb-writing on their phones for at least fifteen minutes. A nice couple - two young loving birds? - kept glancing at each other’s eyes every minute or so while continuing playing a game on a smartphone. 
During that lunch, kids were sitting at the table with their mind elsewhere. Parents were simply paying the check. I wonder if they are not interested in what lives their kids are living. Friendship was substituted by the idea that being friends simply means sitting at the same table.
In the past couple of years I noticed that this anti-social trend is getting more intrusive. Less sociality in favor of virtuality. Reflecting on what I saw I believe that I am the sad witness of moments that are gone forever.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

George R.R. Martin vs. H.P. Lovecraft

Review: "Carrie" by Stephen King

On April, 5th 1974 a novel titled "Carrie" by an unknown author named Stephen King hit the shelves. Mr. King (whoever he is) wrote the novel on a portable typewriter while living in a trailer as he was struggling to make ends meet. The author himself (and many critics) believed that his book was garbage as a few months earlier he threw the manuscript in the trash, only to be rescued by his wife Tabitha.

On April, 5th 1974 the world met with Carrie White, a high school student bullied by her peers. She was one of the most disturbing (and disturbed) characters in literature. She was living in an obsessive world between the punishing school and her semi-crazy religious mother (knee, pray and repent). Carrie had no life to live, she had no hope. But, she had an amazing gift.

On April, 5th 1974 a person anonymous to the world was the first one to pick up a book, a Doubleday edition. On the cover, a half picture of a girl and a yellow stylized title on a strange hemochromatic (blood, blood) background. This person was the first paying customer of a brand new publishing empire and the first involuntary witness of Carrie White's struggles in high school.

Carrie, First Edition (1974)

Carrie is Stephen King's first novel. It spawned at least two movies, the most famous by Brian De Palma starring Sissi Spacek, in the theaters two years after the novel was released.
Carrie is most definitely a well written book, although some readers might find King's narrative frustrating as it jumps to several places in just the turn of a page. Carrie is not the chronological narration of Carrie White's ordeal during her high school years, but rather a collection of documentation and first hand accounts mixed with some omniscient narration.

King's novel impresses since the first pages, where White's first menstrual period happens at her school's showers in front of the other girls. Of course, they bully her and she panics. Unfortunately, during the novel she is tortured more and more and she fails to get any kind comfort from her religious extremist mother (a character vaguely similar to The Mist's Mrs. Carmody). Since she is an outsider, no one knows her true gift: telekinesis. This gift will lead to serious trouble to the New England town of Chamberlain.

 One interesting thing to notice is that Stephen King reveals the ending very early in the book. There is almost no denouement. As in a Columbo episode, the reader will know soon what happened in Chamberlain and will have only to find out the events leading to the ending. In all actuality, the main event - the prom - happens halfway through the book! Kudos to King for being able to keep the reader interested with a superb, although risky, narration.
Overall, a pretty good book which is worth reading.

Next is Stephen King's Salem's Lot.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Eerie Starbucks

Eerie Starbucks this morning. While I read Stephen King, a bunch of quiet homeless men are enjoying a Grande while taking turns to light up a smoke outside. 
Meanwhile, an old man is trying to figure out how to connect his brand new iPhone 5s - box on the table - to his new laptop.
By the motions of his head it's clear that his attempts have been so far unsuccessful. 

Next to me a young boy looking exactly like the vampire Spike from Buffy stares at the wall. I wonder if he has a Brit accent. At the table behind me a curious young guy ready to go to Church adjusts his tie while reading a seemingly interesting book on the Gracchi. An old lady, silvery hair, picks up stuff from the ground. 

Oh Starbucks, the crossroads of life with a jazz soundtrack.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Review: Analog, April 2014, Vol. CXXXIV No. 4

A pretty good issue, although there is nothing really impressive. "Whaliens" by Tidhar made me laugh out loud.

"A Fierce Calming Presence" by Jordan Jeffers is this month's novelette. An interesting story about a federal ecologist who has been called on Ceres to investigate attacks by gulls. Within cries from the local authorities to exterminate (Avatar style) the attacking birds, an evil plot will be uncovered. Enjoyable.

"Pollution" by Don Webb. Billy Parsons lives in Japan and wants to be a japanese. He tries everything - including being interested in "japanese zombies" - to fit in but can't. Sad story.

"The Oracle of Boca Raton" by Eric Baylis. Short piece on learning on the job. Mystique piece which left me pretty cold.

"Wind Reaper" by Jon Hakes.  A four page story on alternative energy and hurricanes. Interesting idea.

"It's not 'The Lady or the Tiger?' It's 'Which Tiger?'" by Ian Randal Strock. It seems that lately bars are becoming important for science fiction as Asimov's (Vol. 38, No.3, March 2014) had a similar piece. It's a sad tale on success, failure and the future. I enjoyed thoroughly and I am glad it ended the way it did.

"Whaliens" by Lavie Tidhar. Best piece in this issue, although some people might actually hate it. Whaliens (alien whales...) come to Earth and decide to investigate human religions. The aliens expect the US government to teach them Judaism within a week or they will destroy our planet. Meanwhile, cats do not approve this invasion, as Earth and humans are in their power (if you have cats like me, you know it is true). It seems that cats don't want to lose their status and will do anything to keep it. Meanwhile a sci-fi writer is put in charge by the government to come up with a plan. It's incredibly messed up and funny.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Review: Asimov's, March 2014, Vol. 38 No. 3 (Whole #: 458)

For once I agree with Lois Tilton's review on Locus. This issue is, simply stated, dull.
My question is, what happened to Asimov's? February's issue (not reviewed here) was awful - I wanted to throw the magazine outside of the window. March's issue is slightly better but only thanks to Peter Wood's story which is the only one worthy of being published. The statement is more surprising if its lack of originality is taken into account.

The Plantimal by Ken Liu & Mike Resnick. A very old couple decide to adopt a Plantimal, a sort of plant that might have a similar shape of a baby. Very quickly old sorrows emerge as the two kept secrets from each other. At times touching, this story does not deliver even if the idea is decent.

Drink in a Small Town by Peter Wood. Best of the issue. Would've been unnoticed as it feels of "already seen", but it's narrated quite well and majestically engages the reader.

Solomon's Little Sister by Jay O'Connel. A boring Virtual Reality story where characters can be killed over and over.

The Redemption of Kip Banjeree by Genevieve Williams. A story about a pissed-off teenager. Boring.

Through Portal by Dominica Phetteplace. A girl is lost in a time portal and her parents try to find her at any cost. Will they retrieve the correct girl? Boring.

Walking Gear by Sean Monaghan. Replacing limbs ain't cheap and Den knows it. For this reason he tries to rescue his sister, Jenni, who lost her leg and became a prostitute. Could have been more interesting, but fails to.

All the Pretty Little Mermaids by Cat Rambo. Petra creates toys, in this case mermaids. Boring.

Declaration by James Patrick Kelly. This would've been a good political tale about reality and future virtual worlds if the setting was more serious.