Saturday, April 17, 2010

Book Review: 12 Burning Wheels Review

12 Burning Wheels
Cesar Torres
MBrane SF
© 2010

Microfiction. Read it. It's easy. Highly consumable. It's like chewing on gummy bears or a Hershey's kiss (you can't eat just one) except that this kind of literary candy can make one as tense as a rollercoaster drop, and just as queasy, but then, as you wobble away, you realize that you could do the whole damned thing over again. Don't believe me? Try 12 Burning Wheels. Nibble from the middle if you like, wolf down the last story, or begin at the start and you'll find yourself scrolling onwards. Wonder to yourself—so then—what happened next?

A story a day straight for twelve days, now that requires an author certain of his powers. You try teasing twelve, consecutive stories from your gray matter sometime. Perhaps a sub-theme of 12 Burning Wheels is infection. Author infects reader with curiosity. Characters infect one another with desire, fear, and death. Fellow writers may be infected worst of all and compelled to try their hand at a similar challenge. In 12 Burning Wheels, Love often consorts with Death, the Erotic sometimes wears the face of a ghoul, and well...isn't casual violence absurd? Let me mention there is reccuring cannibalism. Yummy.

This reviewer delights in the following stories, but I'm sure you'll have your own favorites.
Machina appeals to my MacHead leanings. The customer reviews were hilarious! Made me wish the application was actually available. Can't argue the ninety-nine cent price either.

Mantis Love is the most upbeat tale for the quirky romantic in me. Two gay High School Seniors dare to go to their prom in style. Yaoi Nation are you reading? Even the pain of the brutal reception the lovers receive and the loss of a grand, old artifact: the Mantis vehicle itself, melt in the face of youthful passion. Love rules! I cheered at the end.

A Conversation With the Elephant reminds me of my own experiences with audiocidal music. Whoa, Dude, India is a serious reaper for the cause. I am ever sooooo grateful the Rhinoceros concert took place in my imagination. It reminds me of the "I Survived the Mok Concert T-Shirt" line from the animated, cult classic movie Rock and Rule.

Dig Your Own Hole I adored because Mr. Torres managed to defy my expectations and simultaneously preserve the marriage of myth, magic, and traditional people's contract with the world they inhabit. It is as darkly beautiful and compelling a tale as Shirley Jackson's The Lottery.

Victoria and her job made me grin. Protein JLTC-19-47 and Ambrosevia stands shoulder to shoulder with the other infamous human flesh-derived product: Soylent Green. Why am I not surprised at their exclusivity and their benefits?

Lastly, I'll mention Honey. I'm quite fond of Circe and always wondered what became of her after Odysseus dumped her. I see my girl has been hard at work extracting revenge in pounds of human flesh. I bow to her continued awesome wrathfulness.

The End.

Note: This copy of 12 Burning Wheels was an electronic ARC acquired from the author upon the reviewer's request.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Marriage Equality and Me

'Lo Peoples,

I'm an independent Black voter in MA, but I'm no Tea-bagger.

Barb Davis-White doesn't speak for me. I've been fuming since what she said hit the headlines back in February. Rosa Parks isn't here to challenge anything said in her name. Using the word sodomy in a sentence like that is a cheap shot designed to stir furor. Sodomy is avidly practiced by more than just a few "straight" folks. Newsflash: the legal definition includes oral as well as nether visitations.
Think about that one, hetero folks, before you get too comfortable.

Very rarely do I get up on a political soapbox, but keeping my peace isn't happening this time. A lot of Black people bristle at the linking of LGBTQ rights and Civil Rights. I'm not one of them. I have LGBTQ people for friends and family. Every time someone like Ms. Davis-White says something hurtful like that they are automatically condemning fellow persons of color who are also LGBTQ.

I am also one of those out-the-box thinkers who includes "white" amongst People of Color. White is a color is it not? As sensitive as I am to issues of race, the idealist in me believes in the solidarity of the human race. Yeah, we are all one. Until we act like it, I'm going to capitalize on being Black.

Years ago, a Latino, gay male couple I knew got married in MA before it became legal. I enjoyed my status as a member of the wedding party. The grooms wore matching vests. I and the white mother of my bi-racial godchild represented one groom's side of the family. We were it, I'm sorry to report even though we weren't blood relatives. The happy grooms later moved to CA to create a new life together. Once a marriage like theirs became legal here I teased them about coming back to MA to do it all over again. I never saw Prop 8 coming.

This year, my Black, lesbian godsister is getting married to her longtime, Jewish female partner. When my godsister's blood kin couldn't overcome their objections to my gorgeous godsister's being who she is—her partner's family stepped in and gave her the missing love and support. You bet I'm going to party down when I go to the community wedding celebration afterwards.

So check out these next two in the following link. Aren't they a dreamy couple? I didn't have the privilege of knowing Peter but I know Steve. Can you imagine on top of having to deal with a partner's loss—being penalized when it comes to dealing with the IRS each and every tax season? Damn straight, it ain't fair! I dream of a world where all that matters when two human beings vow before the justice of the peace, a celebrant, priest, minister, or rabbi is that they hold to their vows. Let them enjoy the same Federal recognition and benefits awarded to all married couples. I'll say a few words of power in Yoruba to that end: Ashe. Afoshe. Let it be. Let it be. Let it be. Modupe.

In closing, I'll state for the record that I wanna be able to attend more LGBT weddings! Jump that broom! So I can throw that rice... and maybe catch... a bouquet.


Her Tangh-i-ness