Here, There and Everywhere

Posts tagged ‘future’

Redesigned by Death

41d4DKAXPfLI Avatar by Heather Harrison.
Reviewed by Gabriel Constans.

I’ve said before that I don’t read much sci-fi, but every once in awhile something catches my eye, or yells in my ear. I Avatar is one of those yellers. The story, written by Heather Harrison, describes a time in the 20th century, and a character named Panama, who is suddenly reactivated in the year 2082. At first she’s not sure what has happened, but soon discovers that her handler is called Gina, and her name is now Sila.

“During my first few weeks as an avatar, there was a lot of whining and crying involved. I can’t say I’m proud of how I handled it, but hell, give me a break. Finding out you died and were stuck spending the rest of eternity as someone’s video game piece sucked ass. On the positive side, at least I was able to think. Avatars are supposed to be dead, as in not retaining any emotions, feelings, or thoughts. I on the other hand, retained all three.”

It turns out that young gamers in the future (Gina) have the same kind of love interests as those nowadays, and Sila (Panama) is with Gina all the way (literally). There are some wonderful twists and turns in this story. The process by which one becomes an avatar is bizarre, yet believable. If you take an episode of Black Mirror and Westworld, and throw them in bed together, you might wake up with something similar to I Avatar.

Sink Your Teeth Into It

51r5342n2LL._AC_US218_Flash Fiction by Cathbad Maponus.
Reviewed by Gabriel Constans.

If you like short shorts that cross many genres (horror, fantasy, science fiction, dystopian, etc.), then definitely get yourself a copy of Flash Fiction. There are trips into the future, into space, present unrealities, and lots of killing, dying, and violence.

Writing flash fiction, also known as short shorts, is a unique endeavor. Having an entire story make sense, grab your attention, and surprise you, all with a few sentences, is not an easy task. At least to do it well isn’t, and Ms. Maponus does it very well.

A couple of my favorites in this well-crafted collection are “The Veil” and “Old Man Jasper”. Some of the titles are as clever as the stories, such as “The Cat Wore Prada”. Here is one that I read twice, and enjoyed both times.

IF SHE REALLY IS…

“Henny Porter, ye are charged of witchcraft. Do ye plead guilty and beg the Good Lord’s forgiveness?” The Magistrate questioned.

“I gladly admit I practice the Craft!” Henny offered cheerfully. “Aye to the first part; Nay to the second.”

His face ghastly pale, Pastor Franken spoke. “Henny! Do you realize what such an admission means?!”

“Do not worry, Parson,” Henny replied, smiling warmly.

The Magistrate pounded the gavel. “Henny, you are found guilty of Witchcraft. Ye shall be burned at the stake at dusk!”

That night, it rained fire. Many bodies were buried; Henny’s was not among them.

After looking around a little on the web, I discovered that there are not that many collections of short shorts, and some of them seem questionable. Flash Fictionby Cathbad Maponus, is one you can sink your teeth into (perhaps literally).

A Long Time To Die

Dying Takes It Out of You – Book One of the Madonna Diaries
by S.S. Bazinet. Reviewed by Gabriel Constans.

513xwn-wYJLMental gymnastics, emotional turmoil, and brotherly love, all add weight to this dystopian thriller. Dying Takes It Out of You is set in the near future, when a virus has been deployed by terrorists, and the entire world is threatened. Dory is one of those infected, who believes he’d rather die than live in this shit hole that has become his life. His brother Milton, a scientist and doctor, has other ideas for Dory, and tries to save him by finding a cure at all costs. It may cost them everything.

Ms. Bazinet has taken a terrifying world in the near future, and turned it into a philosophical and ideological tale about understanding, family, and what is worth living for, without giving up an iota of fear or suspense. The beginning is intentionally misleading, making readers believe that the pursuer is evil, and the narrator (Dory) is running for his life. The sudden switch in who is in danger, and the shift from which person is good, and who is bad, is well executed.

In the process of Milton’s heroics to save his brother, who craves blood, is afraid he’ll go crazy, and will most likely die a horrible death within weeks, Dory describes his experience. “Sometimes a person doesn’t know how strong they are until they keep dying and coming back. A few days in, Milton said that I was having a convulsion and then clunk, I was dead again. The old vessel in my chest decided it had had enough and just stopped working in mid fit. Even Milton was surprised. Most people take longer to kill.”

This fantasy, by S. S. Bazinet, explores the depths a loved one (in this case his twin brother) will take to keep them alive. The world she creates is not that distant, or foreign, and has a strong connection with its surroundings. Memories that Dory has of an abusive father, and kind mother, are also interspersed with lucid dreams and conversations with Thomas, an individual known as one of the Watchers. These dialogues provide Dory with insight and hope, and make Dying Takes It Out of You all the better.

Power of Now Is Over

586613838e010d433bacb209ce65ea56c69e859e-thumbFrom My Grandmother’s Kitchen by Tova Tarantino Toshiba. Acknowledgments. Excerpt from Zen Master Tova Tarantino Toshiba: The Illustrious and Delusional Abbess of Satire.

The power of now is already the past. The past will become the future and the future does not exist. Where are we going?

More koans and stories: Zen Master Tova Tarantino Toshiba: The Illustrious and Delusional Abbess of Satire.

What I Learned From Futbol

Watching the fútbol festivities over the past month has taught me much and more about the power of sport – its ability to unite nations toward a common cause, create hope for the future, and celebrate the victories of others as one’s own.

What if these same responses – unity, hope for the future, and celebration of success – also happened each and every time a poor entrepreneur pulled herself out of poverty?

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In Honduras – a player in this summer’s games – FINCA reaches nearly 20,000 individuals, and we consider each success akin to a game-winning goal. For Ana Osorio, that goal was receiving a FINCA loan for her cheese business, allowing her to buy greater quantities of milk at better prices. Initially clearing just US$2 in profit per day, Ana has nearly quadrupled her earnings, allowing her to better provide for herself and her family.

Join FINCA as we celebrate the success of Ana and the over one million other microentrepreneurs in 22 countries who have benefitted from FINCA loans – and show your support today.

Thank you for your generosity.

Sincerely,

Soledad Gompf
Vice President
FINCA

Keep Girls Strong

Dear Gabriel,

A baby girl comes into this world brimming with potential – ready to grow, live, and dream.

But too often, society will get in her way, stacking up a mountain of challenges in front of her.

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Sometimes it starts right away by robbing her of her health because of a lack of food or clean water. Sometimes it comes later – when her family cannot afford to send her to school or her local school refuses to allow girls to attend. Before she is twelve, she may even be forced to marry a man twice her age.

For over 60 years, CARE has been addressing the underlying causes of poverty and attacking the obstacles that stand between girls and their ability to realize their full potential.

With your help, we can meet a girl’s basic need for food, water, and a place to live. We can build schools and help communities realize that girls belong in the classroom, not at the altar.

Together, we can help women fulfill their entrepreneurial dreams and watch women lift up their families, and entire communities, out of poverty.

That’s what works… but only when people like you commit to pitching in. Every bit will help rush urgently-needed support to the girls and families who need it – and until December 31st, your gift will be matched. Make a gift now!

That’s right – when you donate before December 31st, your gift will be matched, dollar for dollar, up to $1 million. This amazing opportunity could not come at a better time.

In many parts of the world, educating and empowering girls is a deadly serious matter. A few months ago, just days before the first International Day of the Girl, 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head because of her outspoken advocacy for the rights of girls to go to school. Miraculously, she survived and from her recovery room refused to abandon the belief that girls deserve a fair chance in this world – the kind of chance they get when they go to school.

When girls are willing to show such amazing courage, we must step up to act as safeguards – we must stand strong in the fight to win girls’ right to dream, learn, and grow.

CARE has not only helped build schools for girls in the region Malala calls home – our field staff also partnered with local organizations to rebuild over 40 schools for girls in the country of Pakistan. CARE supports youth activities like sporting events and youth forums. Globally, our education work focuses on girls between the ages of 10 and 14, when they are making the critical transition from childhood to adulthood.

Around the world, we are fighting poverty in many different ways – through repairing community wells, creating village savings and loan associations to help poor communities start small businesses, managing crises, and so much more. When I think about the path to a brighter future, I firmly believe that working with girls is the key to our success.

Please help keep girls strong. Every gift matters – please give today and help us meet our goal of $1 million by December 31st. Every dollar will be matched.

Thank you for everything you do.

Sincerely,

Tolli Love
Vice President, CARE

Museums Connecting Us All

Dear Gabriel,

Museums aren’t just rainy day activities. They shed light on accomplishments and cultures. They give us all a chance to encounter “celebrity” items while giving them contextual significance. In many cases, museums are the best available tools to truly connect the past to our present.

One exciting new museum will give us a chance to learn about American narratives too often shunted aside. Learn more about how you can help make African American history come alive for our country and for future generations.

Unfortunately, museums like this one are few and far between in America, despite the diverse available content. As far as I’m concerned, that’s all the more reason for us to show how much we celebrate treasures that illustrate African American history and culture!

As Americans, we all share the responsibility of preserving African American history and culture as best we can. Show your support for the celebration and preservation of African American history and culture today.

Thanks for taking action,

Claire K.
Care2 and ThePetitionSite Team

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