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SciFi Magpie’s Take on the Eupocalypse

The insightful and quirky blog of sci-fi writer/editor Michelle Brown, SciFi Magpie, made mention of the Eupocalypse series this week. It’s a rare honor for an editor to step out and highlight one of her clients’ work in her own valuable blog real estate, so on that count I am grateful. But on another level, her post is very insightful about the reasons we read (an write) post-apocalyptic fiction

SciFi Magpie Screen Shot 2018-11-27 at 15.12.37
Sci-Fi Magpie

and what gifts we take from it.

Give it a read:

https://scifimagpie.blogspot.com/2018/11/bad-broken-and-seed-of-hope-how-dark.html

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Excerpt From: Peri Dwyer Worrell. “Watch It Burn” (Eupocalypse, #2), Chapter 36

Bad things happen

when you’re a brave adventurer looking for risk in a cruel world. Such things happen to wealthy girls in country-club neighborhoods and to poor girls who grow up in the slums. Sometimes you never see the guy again (other times he winds up nominated to the Supreme Court)…

“Once she was lying down in the dark, the ghosts of her past that Mother Laura had summoned came back to haunt her. She remembered her first love; she fifteen and eager to dispose of her virginity, Dennis a worldly-wise (or so it seemed) sixteen, and more than willing to help. They used to find little niches like this one in the unmowed corners of the parks, around the backs of alleys they’d slip their supple teenaged bodies through chain-link fence to get into, or (her favorite) on a blanket on the roof of his apartment building, the sun in its blazing heat bringing out the contrast of his brown skin with her pale whiteness.
One day, he lay on one elbow after they’d made love, stroking her sleek, firm adolescent body, and said, “One day, we’ll be married and have a daughter. She’ll have café-au-lait skin and eyes as green as yours.” D.D. smiled now, remembering.
Then she remembered Yvonne, Dennis’s mother, who had figured out their oh-so-transparent lies and gumshoed them up onto the roof. D.D. in her bra, picking up her shirt to pull it on, turning and coming face to face with Yvonne’s furious demand that they come downstairs right now!
Delaying it, dressing slowly and apprehensively, dragging their feet down twenty-four flights, to find Yvonne and D.D.’s parents embedded in the living room. Yvonne shrieking into her face words like whore and slut and aren’t you ashamed? D.D.’s mother and father silently taking in the cruelty, speechless and unsure how to react, Dennis posed rigidly, expressionless, a stone, not looking at her or taking her hand, underneath the Eldridge Cleaver poster on the wall.
No, I am not ashamed. I will never be ashamed. And I am never coming back.
Her parents still sitting, still impassive, on Yvonne’s sofa. The door slamming behind her so satisfyingly, the doorman downstairs backing up a step when he saw her furious tear-streaked face. She didn’t remember walking home, but she would have stopped the tears and put on a street face, because crying white girl’s tears in the street of that neighborhood was like slinging a bucket of chum to sharks.

Getting to her walk-up tenement building somehow. Unlocking the first door, to the street, and Calvin coming up, the boy who had been eyeing her when she walked by the crowd of Puerto Rican and black boys who hung out on the next street—eyeing her but not saying anything crude or making kissing noises or hissing sounds, like some of them did. She’d smiled at him a few times before she met Dennis, and even wrote in her diary that he was cute, making a little heart instead of the dot over the “i” in his name.

Calvin was suddenly behind her in the entryway as she fitted her key in the second door and turned it, and then he was pressing her against the wall at the foot of the stairs, bigger and more solid than she’d thought, his mouth bruising hers and his chest squeezing the air out of her lungs. Laughing when she struggled to push him off her, covering her mouth with his again when she finally got enough breath to try to scream, his hands, his cock, his rancid smell, the pain, and too late, the sound of a door opening upstairs and another tenant clattering down the stairwell, five floors up.

He’d ghosted. She’d pulled up her shorts and run inside her family’s empty apartment before anyone could see her like that. She had cried herself to sleep, as she was crying now.

…And waking at the first light of dawn, shivering and wet with dew, with hands and face bloated with bug bites.”

 

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Devi Mahatmya

I am the Queen, the gatherer-up of treasures, most thoughtful, first of those who merit worship.
Thus gods have established me in many places with many homes to enter and abide in.
Through me alone all eat the food that feeds them, – each man who sees, breathes, hears the word outspoken.
They know it not, yet I reside in the essence of the Universe. Hear, one and all, the truth as I declare it.
I, verily, myself announce and utter the word that gods and men alike shall welcome.
I make the man I love exceeding mighty, make him nourished, a sage, and one who knows Brahman.
I bend the bow for Rudra [Shiva], that his arrow may strike, and slay the hater of devotion.
I rouse and order battle for the people, I created Earth and Heaven and reside as their Inner Controller.
On the world’s summit I bring forth sky the Father: my home is in the waters, in the ocean as Mother.
Thence I pervade all existing creatures, as their Inner Supreme Self, and manifest them with my body.
I created all worlds at my will, without any higher being, and permeate and dwell within them.

The eternal and infinite consciousness is I, it is my greatness dwelling in everything.

 

–Devi Sukta, Rigveda 10.125.3 – 10.125.8

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War. What is it Good For?

The new state of peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea is something to celebrate!

https://www.democracynow.org/2018/7/18/headlines/direct_flights_resume_between_ethiopia_and_eritrea?utm_source=Democracy+Now%21&utm_campaign=0cbd09a71b-Daily_Digest_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_fa2346a853-0cbd09a71b-192203481

 

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The South

There’s a reason the first chapter of Machine Sickness starts in the South. There’s a reason Deirdre Davis is a southerner. That wasn’t by chance, and it wasn’t solely because I chose to follow the classic writer’s advice to “write what you know.” I have lived in the southern USA for more of my life than anywhere else, but I was born in the West, grew up in New York City,  went to undergrad school in Chicago, got my Doctor of Chiropractic degree in Atlanta, and now I live in Mexico.

The shame and rage that Americans feel about the hypocrisy of a nation supposedly based on freedom that compromised that principle for political unity, is othered and alienated and transferred to the South. To read mainstream media, you would think that slavery, legally-mandated segregation, racial massacres, and lynching were isolated only in the South and performed only by Southerners, whereas the truth is that these abhorrent practices were common in the North even after slave importation was banned and even after the passage of the 13th Amendment. Reading mainstream media, you’d imagine that the people whom it is still okay to refer to by ethnic pejoratives like “redneck” and “hillbilly” (usually preceded by the word “ignorant”), were the ones responsible for slavery, when the “poor white trash” of the South were overwhelmingly not slave owners and some suffered from a job market depressed by slave labor. While the elite generals of the Union were wined and dined by plantation owners, the 1-percenters of their day, these people were scorned. The plagues of domestic violence, alcoholism, and learned economic helplessness descended through generations.

The historical awareness among Scots-Irish descendants of being on the losing side of the Civil War is exacerbated by the tradition of military honor and clan loyalty passed down from their gaelic-language-speaking ancestors of the British Isles. The sense of unfair play of small holders, sharecroppers, and agricultural workers, whose red necks came from exposing white skin to the Southern sun while growing the raw materials for Northern factories, yielded a coarse and sometimes grim sense of humor, so that DD remembers her mother saying she was “always one to call a spade a goddam shovel.”

In DD, you have a character somewhat like Detective Clarice Starling in the Hannibal Lecter stories. In one prison interview scene, Hannibal gets under Clarice’s skin by pointing out that she is only a couple of generations removed “from poor white trash.” DD is a brilliant scientist, a highly educated woman, but she will never completely shake the hypervigilance and pragmatism of her background; her family relationships reflect a modern alienation as well as epigenetic dysfunction; she doesn’t design or engineer, she tinkers. She’s acutely aware of physical threats to her safety in ways that people who’ve always felt safe are not, but what goes unstated is that she’s also aware of those who are superlatively safe and don’t feel like it.

Yet, the Eupocalypse is an opportunity to start over in a world where notions of class and wealth, risk and safety, are recalibrated. It’s a world where the materials of modern life are lost, but the ideas are not.

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Excerpt: Watch It Burn

From Eupocalypse, Book 2:

And what a storm it was! The ozone from the lightning, borne on the frigid whipping breeze, scoured the aroma of man-sweat and vomit from his awareness. He grasped a rope tied to the cabin wall. The lightning itself branched, over and over again, in dazzling revelation, its beauty gone before his eyes could drink it in, followed much too fast —much too close—by the earsplitting bang of thunder. The ship was arcing into the air on one wave and crashing down on the next, bringing torrents of seawater across the deck that washed unsecured shipmates overboard. A blinding flash came, at one with the thunder, raising his hair, and he looked up and saw that one of the sails was on fire.

Then a jolt knocked Li’s hand loose of the rope and sent him sprawling against the rail. The ship had stopped moving, but the brutal force of the furious ocean had not. The next wave broke over the deck in frothing madness and took the stunned Li with it.

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Where is the Safe Haven?

Being an author is more than just creating entertainment; in its best form, it’s a way of communicating a world view and a philosophy of life. Sometimes people ask for a succinct definition, such as today: On a social media site, an insightful young lady asked me, “Where do you look for hope, inspiration, or safe haven?”

This is my response:

There is no safe haven; there is only a brief blink of fragmented awareness as we hurtle through endless space. For hope, I look at the remarkable progress that people have made in the past 200 years in solving the problems of oppression, poverty, and warfare while creating unimaginable levels of comfort and convenience, all without help–nay, despite the interference–of those who would command and control them, steal their wealth, and take the credit. I am inspired by people I meet in daily life who manage to create incredible knowledge, insight, beauty, and usefulness despite the challenges common to the human condition.

This is the eupocalypse vision: the world as we know it is ending, has already ended. But the root of the word “eupocalypse” is “eu”, meaning “good,” or “right.” The seed of the network that is humanity is already embedded in the ground of our world.

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Will I Like Machine Sickness?

Sure, it’s only $3.99, but if you don’t like the book, that’s $3.99 down the drain. So, what authors do you like?

A site called “I write like…” has a fun feature where you can insert a snippet of prose and it will analyze it and match it with a famous author. Using various chapters of Machine Sickness, these are the results: