Sunday, December 12, 2010

12 Days of the Ethereal Gazette Issue 12 - Day 1

Today I start my review of stories in the Ethereal Gazette Issue 12. For more information on this review process see my post from yesterday.

"Eight O’Clock in the Morning" by Ray Faraday Nelson

What can one say about a classic sci-fi story? George Nada, an average man in an average city, becomes aware that aliens are living undetected amongst humans, fooling the humans with a sort of hypnosis broadcast over radio and television. George almost immediately gets a phone call telling him that he will have a heart attack at eight o’clock the next morning. George sets out to make the most of the time he may or may not have left and tries to alert others to what’s going on. It’s not the strongest sci-fi story I’ve read, but it has a nice little twist at the end and is worth reading.

Fortunately, you don’t have to buy EG12 to read this story. You can read it here for free. This is, coincidentally, where Nicky got his version of the story from. In the “Editor’s Lounge” in EG12, Nicky writes, “I had to re-edit Faraday's story “8 O'clock In The Morning” because it was poorly transcribed to a Geocities page with stills from the 1988 classic. The story had double words in the original text so I had to give it a proper treatment before I decided to publish it.” Too bad a proper treatment didn’t include fixing the typos – such as “care” for “car”, “ntohing” for “nothing” and “teh for “the” – that appear in both the on-line version and Nicky’s version.

Grade: B+

"Motopsycho" by Rick Curti

This is a story about a motorcross rider who’s gone psycho and the journalist, Tim, who ends up stopping him...or does he? I’m not sure how to describe it beyond that because this story was just plain awful.

When I first started reading it, I thought I had found another one of Nicky’s pen names because the writing is such a smorgasbord of grammar errors that my brain hurt trying to read it. However, the story had none of Nicky’s usual topics and themes. I Googled the author’s name and found this blog (amongst others), so I think this guy is for real. Interestingly, the name of this story is listed as “Motorpsycho” on his blog and as “Motopsycho” in EG12. Another Nicky misspelling?

The bad news is that Mr. Curti writes just as poorly as Nicky. Yep, l know. Long time EONs will find that hard to believe. So let me give a few examples, starting with the opening paragraph:

“The town of Waterfall Hills a peaceful and close knit community just outside of Hollywood, Florida have been plagued by grisly mysterious murders. Everyone is in fear for there lives, doors and windows are locked where before the worst thing you heard was someone getting a speeding ticket after hours.”

It continues:

“There are no explanations for the hideous crimes some people were decapitated while others had body parts hacked off like it was nothing. Everyone’s in a panic, at night when they watch television or read a newspaper, reports of another murder surface that brings the total to a dozen with no end insight. The murderer just vanishes like a thief into the night, with no description of the killer there are times there are no murder’s for weeks and all of a sudden ten people will be found butchered to death.”

Er…And it doesn’t get any better. Here’s all one sentence later in the story:

“As months passed and the killer already claiming his 100th victim with no end in sight, Tim went into a deep depression and started medicating himself with drugs and alcohol, his old demons were coming back to haunt him it had been many years that he had touched that garbage and even though his parents were not around anymore they would be so disappointed in him, so he quickly snapped out of it checked himself into rehab and made it his mission to find his parents killer and put an end to one of the darkest moments in the town’s history.”

Grade: D-

"A Black Awakening" by Deborah Richards

This is a story about….actually I don’t know what the hell it was about. It reads like 2000 words of bad stream-of-consciousness prose were run through Babelfish a few times - say, English to Russian to Cantonese to Swahili and back to English - then tossed a blender, pureed, and poured out onto the page. I’l let the prose speak for itself:

“A coffin A Black mystic smell, so fowl creeps its way into my nostrils, I am taken into a knew world, a admission of quilt, as my name is called and he book of me is opened, I see clear, the pass and present of yesterday, while my future looks so bleak…”

“As the tormented man in me is left behind in a distance world so ancient -- long deceased but so knew all too well.”

“Always I repeat to myself as I search for heavens door; cry for me know more, as the image of me is not seen, The mirage of my life is a view of long ago, of a time when the oceans breath, breathed for me, as I inhaled it salted air, and I am home, standing in my door way, knocking to be invited in, a howling when calls out my name…”

“A self-murder preceded its righteousness in the eyes of the wronged. So my within homicidal intent in the we hour of the night -- bleached the moon with blood.”

“Thunderous drum beat, there feet made stained marks, whispered conversation loud as my tortured senses echo’s the ribbing effect as if where right beside them.”

This is worse than Nicky and Mr. Curti, multiplied together and raised to the 12th power.

Grade: F-

Tomorrow: three more stories


Lewis said...

Oh god, that's some terrible prose right there. I've also been thinking about how Nicky seems to accept just about anything in conjunction with his habit of preying on trusting amateur writers from places like Fictionpress, and I can't help but wonder if it isn't just bad taste but actually something of a business decision in his warped little mind. I can't remember if he stopped offering hard copies along with the token payment for domestic writers as well as international ones, but then it wouldn't really matter too much. My theory is based on the average person, quite understandably I should add, being excited at getting "published" and wanting multiples to give to friends and family, or maybe they would support the writer by buying their own. Either way the more stories Nicky puts in the more copies he sells beyond the ones he buys himself.

This is just a suspicion of mine and of course I have no proof, but I could definitely see a nitwit like Nicky coming up with a scheme like that.

Jenny said...

I suspect you may be right about him not turning anyone down because he wants more sales. He's also got this incorrect notion that a larger anthology is better (regardless of the quality of the stories in it). Fortunately the next batch of stories are not as bad.

Rusty said...

Ouch! My brain hurts just from reading those lines you quoted.

Yes, Nicky thinks bigger is always better, which explains why his "rewrites" always involve adding another 2000 or so words to his previous version. But, if he thinks that by accepting every story submitted translates into more sales (i.e. newbie authors buying his books to see their stories in print), it would behoove him to at least let people know he published their stories.

I wonder how many of the writers whose stories are included are aware that their stories were used. If Issue 12 is anything like Issue 10, there must be a handful who don't know.

Rusty said...

Darn editing errors. Strike the word "by" from the middle of my previous comment. Or, add the word "it" in the appropriate place. Either way would read better than I typed it.

Anonymous said...

That first story is just They Live... where's the originalit... Why am I even thinking like that?

There's one against the No Fan Fiction rule...

Jenny said...

@anon: Yes, the first story is what the movie "They Live" was based on. I believe this story has been published quite a few times, so this is reprint #86 or so.

Anonymous said...

Fair enough. I didn't know They Live was based on a short story. So this means that the "Big name" that Nicky's been bragging about having for issue 12 is just a free to use story from the 70's????!!!??

Anonymous said...

Sorry, the 60's

Anonymous said...

Is Rick Curti 12 years old? the artwork on that site is atrocious.

"hello and welcome to "Hairaising Stories" my name is Rick Curti and I am the creator/artist/writer of my horror magazine. I want to share my work to the public and inspire other artist's as myself to live there dream. if you have any stories and are interested in my work, don't be shy and live me a message, hope you enjoy my work.

Hair-raising spelt wrong throughout. Where's the capital letter on "Hello"? "Share my work to the public"? Not with the public? "And inspire other artist's as myself" - greengrocer's apostrophe on artists and it would normally be like myself rather than as. "there dream" - that should be "their dream" you twonk. Missed capital on the word if to start the next sentence where he encourages us to live him a message rather than leave him a message... not bad error rate for such a short paragraph.