My short story “You don’t know what real loneliness feels like” was just published at the New English Review, April 2021 edition (they shortened the title to “Loneliness”, which I don’t like so much, but it’s OK). The story “The Great Unvaxxed” was also recently published in the Off-Guardian (March 29).
I may be publishing other stories and articles in the near future, so keep a look for that. I will post the links here.
P. S. Also “Scenes from 2030” was published now at the Off-Guardian. That one is more humorous, check it out.
A new book of original short stories is now available. All the stories (except two) were written during the recent “pandemic” that started on February 2020 and is still going on. A few of the stories are thematically related to current events, but others are not. Some are science fiction, some are humorous, some are a bit dark. Still, they all seem to match together somehow. The book can be purchased on Amazon in both print or ebook format, or at our own little shop.
The first edition of our literature and art magazine, “Geist”, is just out, and you can read it for free. A multilingual magazine with texts in English and German, Portuguese, French and Italian translated to English, and artworks by several international artists.
Poems, short stories, photographs, paintings and illustrations – it’s all there. Please check it out here: Geist Magazine.
The last book release by Contrarium is “Dark Fairy Tales”, a wonderful collection of lesser-known fairy tales. We chose stories that were a bit darker in tone, but not all are tragic and some are humorous too.
The volume includes three melancholy and not so well-known stories by Hans Christian Andersen, two darkly humorous stories by the Grimm Brothers whcih you may or may not have heard about, a fairy tale from Giambattista Basile’s wonderful and unfortunately not so well-known collection called “Pentamerone”, and a story by Charles Perrault that you’ve probably read before, although perhaps not in the original version. This last story is the only one that is probably more famous, but it was unavoidable to include it in a collection of “dark fairy tales”. Although, of course, many other tales could have been included.
For the illustrations we used colourized stills of German expressionist movies. It might seem an unusual combination, but the images surprisingly match the tone of the stories. This full colour, 64 page book is a real treat for both adults and children.
I personally always loved fairy tales, and even as an adult I still love to read them. I particularly like Andersen (The Snow Queen is one of my favourites), but Basile was a great recent discovery. Even though Perrault is considered the “grandfather of fairy tales”, Basile came before with his collection of folk tales published in 1634. Perhaps because it was written in Neapolitan it didn’t get so much attention; even today not so many people know about him. A recent movie by Mateo Garrone, “Tale of Tales” (2015) is based on his works, so perhaps this will help to popularize it.
The book can be purchased in both digital or print form at Amazon, or at our site shop.
There is a lot of discussion about vaccines these days, particularly because fo the “corona” phenomenon. Personally, while I am not an “anti-vaxxer”, I tend to dislike taking vaccines, taking medicines, going to the doctor, etc. I suppose that, instead of being hypochondriac, I am actually a little bit iatrophobic. So I tend to avoid all kind of medical procedures if I can. But of course even I can accept that medicine and in particular modern medicine can be very useful sometimes…
Now there is a big discussion about possible side effects of vaccines, especially in light of the “corona” phenomenon. Of course, since a vaccine is basically an attenuated virus, it can cause side effects, at least in a minority of the population. Also, many vaccines contain thimerosal as a preservative, which is an organic compound that includes mercury, which, as we all know, can not be discharged by the body and is usually not very healthy. And the link between vaccination and a recent increase in autism has not been, as far as I know, completely debunked.
But the more worrying recent phenomenon is the push, famously by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, but also by others, of the “RNA vaccines“. While they do not “alter your DNA” as some argue (although DNA vaccines might), they work in a different way from normal vaccines, making your own organism produce a pathogen. Now, this may not be as scary as it sounds, but its experimental and radical concept seems a bit dangerous, and given that they have not even been tested in large scale in humans, the idea of using one to treat millions of people for “COVID” causes certain concern.
Of course, I should say that I am in general a bit skeptical of the whole “corona” phenomenon, and particularly of the sometimes excessively authoritarian lockdown measures that have destroyed many economies and livelihoods, as well as completely atomized even more social life, not always with an apparent need (I mean, I understand that certain measures needed to be taken by the authorities, but I am not sure if this global lockdown for so long and with such huge effects was worth its worse consequences; also there were so many conflicting regulations, from using to not using masks, and some silly ones, such as telling people to use masks outdoors, or inside your car, as many still do, which seems a bit pointless.) But that’s another story, for another day…
But since this is basically a blog about literature, I would like to conclude by mentioning a few (fiction) books that deal with this issue. The classic “War of the Worlds”, by H. G. Wells, can perhaps be seen as a propaganda for vaccination or immunization (as the powerful and technologically superior Martians are eventually killed by Earth pathogens to which they have no defence).
“The Decameron” also famously takes place during the plague in Italy, and Daniel Defoe’s “A Journal of the Plague Year”, which is nor a real journal but a novel, is also interesting. More recently, “Blindness” by José Saramago and “Anna” by Niccolò Ammaniti, are modern takes on very specific pandemics. The movie “La Jetée“, by Chris Marker, is a classic science fiction short about pandemics worth watching (it inspired the more well-known, but less interesting, “Twelve Monkeys”).
But specifically about vaccines, I don’t remember anything right now except H. P. Lovecraft’s “Herbert West, Reanimator“, which doesn’t seem to have a particularly benevolent view of doctors, medicine and such…