We don’t actually celebrate Halloween here in Greece. But, in a clear case of culture seepage from Hollywood, we do have Halloween parties!
Even though we don’t actually have a festival of the dead, the roots of such celebrations are from the ancient Anthesteria, which was a 3-day festival honouring Dionysos. On the third day, the Feast of Pots, cooked meat and fruit were left outside for the souls of the dead. No one dared touched them, they weren’t for the living. And when the day ended, they called out loud for the spirits to begone, that the Anthesteria was over.
In modern times, the only thing close to trick or treating is kids going for Christmas Carols. And we dress up in our Carnival, or Mardi Gras, which is another Dionysian leftover. People dress up in either silly or scary costumes during that celebration.
So yeah, we don’t actually have Halloween but there has been cultural cross-pollination, and we do have scary events and parties on October 31st. Any excuse for a party, really.
But the trick or treating is left to the ghosts.
Here’s a short story set in the God Complex Universe. It takes place on Halloween night, at a party, in Athens.
Wear the mask. It will come off in the morning
When a young man from a village comes to the big city to study, he finds himself overwhelmed by the urban lifestyle. But will he manage to blend in by going to a Halloween party, when his crush asks him to help decorate the place, when the abandoned villa becomes all too spooky for him and when the illusory masks everyone wears seem to never come off?
Yeah, I noticed the trend and it bugs me a little. No, people, dystopian doesn’t mean post-apocalyptic. Post-ap is something after a major catastrophe, dystopian means Orwellian surveillance nightmare. You know, kinda like the God Complex Universe.
Sometimes the two genres overlap like in the Hunger Games, but one does not necessarily mean the other. Anyway, here are some grim and post-apocalyptic books for you to choose from.
You’ll find all that, and most importantly, you’ll find it across all major retailers. Yeah, we’ve made it the norm.
Google Play Books
Any shop you prefer, we’re on it. First weekend of November only, 5-6 Nov. Get ready cause it’s closing in fast.
Amazon is Introducing the All-New Kindle for Kids Bundle
The all-new Kindle for Kids Bundle includes the latest Kindle e-reader without sponsored screensavers, a kid-friendly cover, plus a 2-year worry-free guarantee.
The thinner and lighter Kindle e-reader offers more than 250,000 children’s titles and can power up a young reader’s vocabulary with tools like Word Wise and Vocabulary Builder. They can alsoset reading goals and track progress with Kindle FreeTime.
This bundle comes with a 2-year worry-free guarantee, meaning that if they break it, return it and it will be replaced for free. No questions asked. It’s the perfect e-reader designed with kids in mind.
This group is currently beta. Meaning things are about to change at any time.
So what can you do over there? Well, except talk about the God Complex books, we can discuss articles, favorite mythologies, movies like Wonder Woman and Thor, books like Ilium and Percy Jackson, anything you like. Keep it civil, but light swearing is allowed.
It gets a bit academic, and I think the subject doesn’t need that much analysis but I like some of the points. I’ve even had a realization:
A kitsch self-parody
For all its outward cynicism, cyberpunk is often wilfully naive; conspiracies are unravelled, the lone maverick is redeemed, the lone aberration at the head of the system is taken out and all is well again. For all its gritty imagery, this dissonantly contradicts reality. Indeed it is questionable whether cyberpunk is an entirely dystopian genre. For the oligarch-villains occupying the luxury penthouses and boardrooms in which boss battles occur, this is utopia. The ubiquity of scaffolding in the genre’s platform games suggests there is even a building boom. It is a great time to be an engineer. Even for the average citizen, perhaps things aren’t that bad; there are plenty of exotic street-food outlets and sports to enjoy (you can follow the blood and chrome progress of Brutal Deluxe in the Bitmap Brothers’ 2007 Speedball series). Escape to off-world colonies, as we are told repeatedly by advertising neo-blimps, is an option for the rich and genetically sound. Some of the tyrannies are fairly relative. In X-Kaliber 2097 (1994), the reign of the warlord Raptor means “there are no more jobs to go to,” echoing the current fear that automation might render us all unemployable. “Well,” we might say, “thank god for that.” Even when the apocalypse beckons or has already happened (the release of the planet-decimating biochemical Lucifer-Alpha in 1988’s Snatcher, for example), it is survivable.
I like that. Yes, deep down cyberpunk is wish fulfillment, does have a happy ending, the corporations do lose. Vices are plentiful, humanity has far-out options for life extension and survival, heroes are cool and larger-than-life.
My kind of cyberpunk is rather light. All the tropes are there, but they are a backdrop to character and plot. Mega corporations crush people and effectively become worshiped, but we see the casual interactions and the family issues. Not the sweeping socio-economic ones, which frankly, would make a boring read.
Following the maxim of its baptist William Gibson that “the future is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed,” cyberpunk has always been a scrapyard, with pieces of what is to come scattered through the past and present. Indeed, its saving grace is that it recognizes, as other futurology often fails to, that the future will be a collage and it will be considerably older than the present.
That scrapyard is what I try to put in my own stories. A bit of Greek mythology, a bit of plausible technology, a narrative that draws you in, and some action to keep it exciting. Because, make no mistake, violence is at the cybernetic heart of cyberpunk.
The fear and power of plugging in and losing our humanity in the process, continually evident in cyberpunk, is again not new; we find precedents in Descartes’ Demon and Plato’s Cave. There is also a certain guilty pleasure in immersing yourself in a videogame world that warns you of the dangers of immersing yourself in videogame worlds. The early game Interphase (1989), by The Assembly Line, deftly equates virtual reality with dream-space, a crossover we will no doubt increasingly see with advances in VR, AI and augmented reality. At that time such developments seemed the stuff of dreams, but they are incrementally becoming more real. In Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs (2014), the hacking abilities of the lead character Aiden Pearce suggest that the human brain, the city and cyberspace are now interwoven networks. To accumulate great power in the latter two is to potentially wield power over the first.
When the daughter of Greece’s premier singer fails to sing as expected, she finds out about a biker group of women. But will she manage to find the elusive Orosa, the bikers’ motovlogger, when all she has to go on are random street-sightings of criminal behaviour, when her family is opposed to her following this path and when her dad’s employer wants to keep her as she was for marketing purposes?
Do you want to know what’s next for the voiceless Aura? Do you wanna meet the Amazons? Then read this coming of age story in a world where fate is quite literal.
When a group of teenage gamers get shaken down by some local thugs, they decide to test their team skills on the real world. But will they manage to turn their neighbourhood back into a safe place again, when the local gang has kidnapped their friend, when their own inexperience is a threat to their lives, and when their involvement brings in more unwanted attention?
Meet the boys (and a girl)
Detroll is the chief. His hobbies include gaming, strategising and confronting trolls on the internet. Hellbovine is a PVP addict. A second-generation player-vs-player gamer that has taken up his father’s legacy and wants to climb the gaming charts. Ambassador is a sweet kid who works at his father’s gyro place. Zodovolo is pretty much their mascot. And Crazy Iva is the girl they never expected having on their guild (hence the sons naming). But no-one dares call her girl to her face, lest they get their nose bitten off.
OK, it’s not that they don’t like me, it’s rather like they don’t hit on me.
Ever. Never ever.
I mean, I don’t get what I’m doing wrong. I have my relationship status set to single and everything. My height doesn’t help either. I’m five percent short of two meters. But that’s not the worst part. The absolute frickin worst is my nickname.
My name is Adelaide, so it was bound to get mocked at school.
My parents shortened it to Ada at an early age.
Then they went up and died.
That reduced the total number of people who love me on planet earth, to zero.
My yiayia, that’s my grandmother, is the only person left who still loves me.
Just a bit.
Out of need.
She is like ninety eight years old and part-Robocop. Whatever empathy she might have had is gone over the decades. She is like a squeezed version of a human, where you take out the squishy feely stuff and leave a bag of bones behind, lubricated by spit and bile.
I know you’d think that my yiayia loves me deep down, and that she is just like all other lovin’ and carin’ cookie-making machines in the world.
Well, she does not. She calls me by my nickname, which I hate.
So, back to my nickname. It was at school, thirteen years old. I was bullied all day long by this boy Chris. Chris was obnoxious, smelly, and hit all kids at school. He liked me better, which is to say he hit me the most. I was an expert at avoiding him at all times, but in some cases he remembered all about me and eventually he would find me and torture me.
He’d steal my lunch. He’d throw dirt on my hair. He’d make fun of me, pointing his greasy finger at me and the rest of the bully-posse would laugh at me.
Chris was the bane of my existence during my childhood.
It didn’t help that I was beginning to grow much taller than him.
If Chris was nasty before, then after my growth spurt he acted as if it was his legal obligation to bully me. The mere heights of my adolescence were threatening his street-cred, even though I had done nothing to provoke him. I crouched to lessen my frame, I avoided him, I made sure never to look down on him.
It didn’t matter. Chris hated my guts. My tall, leaning over him guts.
I had discovered Ada Lovelace at that time. She was my hero. A countess from a century long forgotten, the very first computer programmer. I wanted to be her, I simply adored her.
The teacher asked for our role models, what kind of work we wanted to do when we’d grown up. That ill-fated moment, I raised my hand and said, “I want to be a computer programmer, like Ada Lovelace.”
Chris misheard the name and mocked, “Loveless? You wanna be Ada Loveless for the rest of your life? Hahaha!” And they laughed. Even the teacher cracked up a bit before she demanded silence.
Boom. It stuck.
Since then I’m loveless.
Do you want to know what’s next for the virgin computer nerd? Do you wanna meet the nasty Yiayia?
Join the Mythographers and be the first to learn all about Ada!
Yes, mythical creatures now have their own Twitter profiles. Feel free to follow her, if you dare.
In the story Erinyes, Mahi is a self-adoring teenager who, just like most teenagers these days, only cares about the amount of likes and retweets that she gets on her (admittedly hot) selfie pics.
The entity she notices on her selfies is becoming more and more solid, until it actually starts chasing her non-stop. That entity is Erinyes, and she chases her victims precisely every 109 minutes for one frantic minute of intense manhunt. Along with her friend, Deppy, a remarkably tech-savvy girl in her cutesy personality, and the enigmatic Prodromos, a conspiracy-theorist rebel hacker, Mahi has to find out the truth behind an insane corporate conspiracy while Erinyes is following her. Possibly forever.