Confessions of my Past, Present and Future
If you're an insatiable reader like me, you'll know exactly how difficult it is to select a book that touched you in some way, because there's simply too many to choose from! I read legions of wonderful (and terrible) books over the years, but there is one that will always remain in my mind—Cold Skin by Spanish anthropologist/novelist Albert Sanchez Pinol. The opening paragraph alone enchanted me:
“We are never very far from those we hate. For this very reason, we shall never be truly close to those we love. An appalling fact, I knew it well enough when I embarked. But some truths deserve our attention; others are best left alone.”
The novel itself, chronicles the story of a former fighter for the independence of Ireland who, unmotivated by the events of the Western World, decides to escape from the society in which he lives. He accepts a job offer as a weather official on a remote island in the south Atlantic close to the Antarctic Circle.
On this island there is only one inhabitant, the signals official Batis Caffo, who does not help the Irishman, and hides all the information which he has on the island. So the hero has to spend a night alone, where he suffers the attack of strange monsters that are similar to frogs. They’re called Sitauca.
I confessed previously in interviews, how much I relish books that examine isolation and without a doubt—this is one of them. The idea of someone, eager to escape the shackles of society (by a self-imposed exile) interested me greatly (most of us can relate to that, right?) not to mention seeking a refuge in a solitary lighthouse and being terrorised at night by frog-like monsters! Okay, this notion might be slightly less appealing, but what if one of those "monsters" could be trapped and domesticated? Would that not open a new door of possibilities? Depravities even? Let’s just say that the protagonist opens some of these doors…
Encountering an alien species and getting intimate with it, is also an intriguing concept (not in a funny, Jay and Silent Bob kind of way - "There he goes, homeboy fucked a Martian once." – quote from Clerks II, you’ll know this if you’re a Kevin Smith fan) but more in a spiritual way. To seek a connection, to establish a bond, powerful enough to shatter language barriers—a cognition. The protagonist and one of the Sitauca share an understanding. They’re both outcasts of their races. He renounces his people just as she renounces hers. The only difference is that she is much closer to the Sitauca than he is to humans.
Any further revelation would spoil the story. I strongly encourage you to pick up a copy and read it for yourself. You don’t have to take my word for it—the novel has been translated into 37 languages!
Stuck On You by Jasper Bark. I stumbled upon this gem on Crystal Lake Publishing’s website several weeks ago. The plot of the story is so unique, so rare—trust me, you will never read anything like it! At first, I wasn’t sure whether to laugh, puke, masturbate or indulge in a weird combination of all three! The description of the novella speaks for itself really:
“This is the sickest, filthiest and most horny novella you’re likely to read this year. It will turn you on even as it turns your stomach. Think you’ve seen everything there is to see in horror and erotica? Think again! Just when you think this story can’t get any lower it finds new depths to plumb.”
Yes, I can vouch that the above statement is true. I’m also willing to admit that I loved every single page (I’m not ashamed, dammit!) and if you have a strong stomach, a wicked sense of humour—I’m sure you will love it, too. There's also a clever, unforeseen little twist at the end that makes the tale even more memorable.
This isn't a life-changing book by any means (it's not supposed to be) and some readers might find it repulsive, but I can promise you this much, it will stick in your memory for years to come. It possesses a certain charm and a certain way of getting...Stuck On You.
As to what I will be reading (or writing) in the distant future—only time will tell. In terms of reading, thinking too far ahead makes me nervous. Technology is advancing rapidly so who knows what the reading experience will be like in the next twenty years? We might all have implants in our brains that will allow us to read as fast as Number Five in Short Circuit (wouldn’t that be great?).
I’ve always been an avid reader of everything and I don’t limit myself to one genre, such as horror for example. I read all kinds of genres. Fantasy, biographies, thrillers, historic fiction—anything I can learn something from (excluding the Sookie Stackhouse novels which I bought by accident—promise!) so I’m sure I will stay on that course in the future.
The only aspect that frustrates me, is that I’m a very slow reader (bring on those implants!). Seriously, it takes me months to finish a book—depending on how enthralling I find it of course.
As far as writing goes, I’m planning to carry on honing my skills and learning the craft, which will hopefully allow me to produce bigger and better stories. Our life experiences shape us into who we are (and what we write) so I think I will always tell stories that have a dark element to them. Every chapter of my life contained a dark element of some sort and I’m sure there are many more dark chapters to come.
His work appeared in various magazines and anthologies around the world such as Schlock, Inner Sins, Sanitarium and Psychopomp.
Moribund Tales, his first collection of short dark fiction was published by Creativia and became Amazon's Top 10 bestselling Horror anthology in UK, USA and Canada.
You can see more of Erik at his website.
Erik’s author page can be found here.