I’m so sorry for the delay of this post❤️
THE PURPOSE OF REALITY [SOLAR & LUNAR] BY STEVE SIMPSON
RELEASE DATE: September 6, 2022
GENRE: SOLAR: Speculative Fiction Short Stories | LUNAR: Speculative Poetry
The Purpose of Reality: Solar
The Purpose of Reality collection had me very intrigued when I recieved the tour invite. I am glad I had the opportunity to read both Solar and Lunar. This review is for Solar.
What an absolutely mind-bending, intriguing read. There is an atmosphere throughout each story that is hard to describe but it’s addicting. I couldn’t stop reading once I started and had to finish every story in one sitting.
Author Steve Simpson’s writing is poetic and often haunting. The collection explores the bounds of reality and different world-ending possibilities. It is weird. Weird in such a beautiful way.
This is one of those times where you’ll have to take my word for it because this is difficult to review. Every story in this is worthy of its own 5 stars. Highly recommended.
Thank you to Meerkat Press and the author for the review copy. All opinions are my own.
The Purpose of Reality: Lunar
The Purpose of Reality collection had me very intrigued when I recieved the tour invite. I am glad I had the opportunity to read both Solar and Lunar. This review is for Lunar.
In Lunar, Steve Simpson presents us with a beautifully atmospheric collection of poetry. We are brought into this weird and wonderful collection, and honestly, I read all of Lunar in one sitting.
Playing in the confines of reality, Lunar is incredibly unique and unlike anything I’ve read in quite some time. I highly recommend this!
Thank you to Meerkat Press and the author for the review copy. All opinions are my own.
Steve Simpson’s remarkable collections of speculative short stories and poetry, both with illustrations, are dream-like, playful and wildly inventive. Here is a selection of the beings within:
The detective, who carelessly morphs into birds and insects, and cannot choose between brooding and moping, until a stylish grayscale client with retrolescent highlights appears.
Proteus, Homo Sapiens Beta, who discovered fire and put it out, who created a rudimentary encyclopedia that he pedaled across Gondwanaland on weekends.
At Claire’s school, the walls were cardboard, and her chain-smoking math teacher never allowed numbers to be mentioned. He used a drawing of a press to flatten slices of air into tissue paper for kites, and he was Claire’s favorite, because all the other teachers were ghosts. One day, with a little pasta and a little mambo, everything changed.
Aldona worked in the Damasco Auto scrapyard, and when the electromagnet on the crane burned out and dropped the blue Passat, no one saw the electric-winged shape that had been trapped by the magnet. After all, there was nothing to be concerned about: the alien space fleet had been driven away by the earth’s nuclear defenses.
Excerpt from The Purpose of Reality: Solar
The Apartment on Copernicus Street
Aldona lowered the crane’s electromagnet gently until it kissed the roof of the Passat and held it tight. The car was just a husk now. She’d removed the engine and dismantled the drive train, stripped out everything that could be sold. She hoisted it into the air, and as she arced it toward the scrap pile, she found herself thinking of another blue Passat, the very first car she’d worked on at Damasco Auto.
She remembered walking across the yard next to Senhor Damasco on that first day, with the other mechanics calling out to her, the usual machista commentary that was really meant to impress their workmates. Ignore those juveniles, he’d said, making sure his voice carried. Get back to work, clowns.
Crossing the yard had been the easy part. The problem was that she’d recognized the car. She’d seen it on the news the day before, sandwiched between a bus and a semitrailer on the Via Serrana, along with a photo of the family that wouldn’t be going back to São Paulo at the end of the school holidays. Inside the crushed cabin there were torn clothes, coloring books on the back seat, and russet patches staining the upholstery that for a moment she didn’t recognize.
She’d started on the motor, but no matter how many times she wiped her eyes, she couldn’t see to hold the spanner on the bolts.
Senhor Damasco, half amused, had been watching. Things happen out of the blue, moça. No one understands, only the Holy Father. You’ll get used it. And so she had.
Aldona’s thoughts came back to the present, and she checked the instrument panel. The current was inching into the red, the electromagnet was drawing too much power. She left the Passat dangling and climbed out of the cabin to take a look.
There was an aura around the magnet, a glow filled with scintillating flecks of light. The coils were buzzing, passing full capacity, and there was a metallic smell of ozone in the air. As she watched, the roof of the Passat began to glow cherry red. She ran back toward the crane to power down, and didn’t see the struggling shape pinned by the magnetic field, that extended sizzling electric wings beating wildly until it broke free, and the car crashed to the ground.
“Take your boots off, no Morlocks in the apartment.” Xavier poked his head around the balcony door. “ Meu Deus, what happened to you?”
Aldona looked down at the dirt and oil caked on her overalls. “There was an accident with the crane, it was overheating. I was in a hurry to switch off the electromagnet and I tripped. I’m fine.”
“There are oil pools and pieces of junk everywhere in that yard. Damasco should clean it up before someone gets seriously hurt.”
Aldona had a vague idea that something might have happened before she fell. A wave of electricity might have swept through her body, tingling in her hands and feet like soda water. But unless she slipped in a pool of oil, Aldona liked to keep both her boots planted firmly on the ground, well away from imaginary waves of electricity, and she thought nothing more of it.
“We both know Senhor Damasco isn’t going to do that. I’ll be more careful next time, promise. How are the mirrors going?”
“No bad luck yet.”
Since they’d moved in the month before, they’d been making the rented apartment their home.
Aldona’s, with the sunflowers and hibiscus in planters on the balcony, and the row of mugs in the kitchen displaying a fresco of frolicking capybaras.
Really, Morlockinha? They’re so . . . so . . . I don’t even know what they are .
I got them at the markets, they’re hand-painted. Aren’t they cute?
Xavier’s, with his filing cabinet and desk with inspirational sayings blu-tacked to the wall behind. She’d quietly watched him from the door as he tried out different layouts, pens and paper, keyboard and mouse, leaning back in his chair and inspecting them, touching his long fingers together against his lips, adjusting a pencil a few millimeters, and continuing until the aesthetic pleased him.
Xavier’s and Aldona’s, with an assembly of secondhand mirrors on the balcony, mounted to frames that Aldona had machined according to Xavier’s calculations of the winter ecliptic, so that as the sun crossed the northern sky, the mirrors always reflected sunlight into the apartment.
After Aldona had showered and changed, Xavier suggested they go out for dinner. “But first I want to show you something.”
There was an image of a solar flare on his computer screen. He expanded it and pointed at the center. “You see these dark patches?”
Aldona had seen her share of solar flares. She remembered when they’d first started going out, choosing restaurants for Friday nights. After they’d covered the weather, politics, and debated whether the Chilean wine was too sweet, the salad dressing too tart or the salmon too plain, his conversation would turn to the corona, the solar wind, and his specialty, the solar flares that leapt like flaming tigers across the chromosphere. He would talk about his research so passionately that she understood how much this tall thin man with a beak of a nose loved his work at the Federal University, and a little later, how much she loved him.
“This eruption happened at the end of 2022, a month before the aliens reached Earth. We think they’re magnetic cusps, and there are nine of them. The aliens came from the sun, their ships skimmed kinetic energy from a solar flare, that’s how they launched themselves.”
The invasion began on the thirteenth of January 2023, and it was over in less than hour. When the fleet of nine alien spacecraft were first detected by the Hubble Space Telescope, SETI and like-minded groups had argued for communication, for the priceless exchange of information that would come from first contact, but day by day, with their multispectral broadcasts of music and mathematics ignored by the approaching life forms, their protests had become half-hearted, and even the true believers began to see the silence of the aliens as ominous.
The alien craft were massive, over a kilometer in length, and they were enveloped in powerful magnetic fields, easy to track in almost any part of the electromagnetic spectrum. On invasion day, when they spiraled into orbit, laser guided missiles rose lazily through the atmosphere, until their trajectories met in the empty space where moments before an alien craft had been orbiting, and their nuclear warheads were automatically detonated.
After all the scans came back negative, the world’s presidents, prime ministers and chairpersons patted each other on the back and announced that, by working together, the human race had defeated the extraterrestrials.
High-speed composite videos showed a transient aurora, bright streamers of high-energy particles cascading toward the earth right at the moment each alien craft disappeared. None of the streamers reached the tropopause, twenty kilometers above the surface, and they weren’t considered to pose any risk to terrestrial life.
Steve Simpson lives in Sydney, and he’s never been able to work out exactly what he does, although he would probably feed the cat if he had one. His poetry and short stories have appeared in various magazines and anthologies, and in the visual arts, works created with his image evolution software have been shown at several exhibitions. In the sciences, he’s published over 200 research papers, most recently in clinical neurology, where he’s developed a unique system for visualising mental states via EEG. Awards include the Peter Doherty Innovation Prize, for technology to make vehicles safer.
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