True Review
Current Issue Number 86 Vol.29   October 2013
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
   
E-Hostage

Do you dread the morning routine as much as I?

Mine goes something like this: press the “on” button to the laptop, trudge downstairs holding my Deer Park water bottle, reach in the darkness for the light, miss the switch, hit the switch, venture into my teeny-tiny bathroom, plop down, wonder how I am still alive . . . and then I reach up for a book to read, to escape the future.

After 15 minutes of fantasy, the real horror creeps in.

Knowing I have to face . . . the inbox of my Outlook e-mail.

Keeping order. That’s the tough part, order in an orderless world.

Talk about order -- many years ago, my boss Everett was mesmerized by my organizational skills. File cabinets with accurate labels. Reporter’s notebooks with records of dates, events, and locations. Stories filed in chronological order. Contents of storage cabinets carefully marked.

Ask and ye shall find – instantly.

Everett remarked that my organizational skills approached genius.

Not really. Some people can stay organized doing the work of 10 people. Some people, with luck and God’s precious grace, can organize the work of one.

Years before that, another boss had so much stuff piled around his desk it took him 10 minutes to find a memo. Apparently he never read the company-wide e-mail that noted we need to get organized and not waste so much time during the day trying to find something.

In the novel “1984”, George Orwell predicted a lot of things, including cameras all over the place recording our every move. But it would take a truly great science fiction writer to come up with e-mail stress, or better described an “e-hostage” situation.

We are held completely hostage to our Outlook (or Hotmail or Gmail or whatever-mail) we use. Our lives and business completely depend on e-mail. I get easily 100 e-mails a day.

I deleted my Send box the other day. One month: 1,305 e-mails.

It’s almost like being a self-publisher when you’re sending out those numbers of e-mails on a regular basis.

In August 1988, I was part of a project tasked to examine the administration and use of e-mails in tank warfare (I kid you not) as part of a Department of Defense project. E-mails were used by the military to send out instructions to tank commanders. E-mail in that day amounted to an orange DEC Computer screen, similar to what we have now, with TO: and SUBJECT: and a little box to tell the guys what to do.

A group of us from a Navy contractor at Andrews Air Force Base were assigned to the project. We professionals were a curious group: the gambler; the divorced woman in search of a date; the early Tea Party member; the prankster, and me, the journalist. Never was sure how they came up with that motley collection of characters.

Still, it’s funny how today, each one of them represents the soul of e-mail marketing and blasting in addition to Match.com and a million unsavory Websites. 

Still, no one in the group could come close to my favorite spam e-mails, misspellings and all:

“This is Amrak Shubatahi, and I am desperately in search of American who has your last name. I have 10 million US $ to provide to you from 20 million US $ in holdings in Swiss account, as long as you contact me in 48 hrs. You see, I am being jailed for 10 days, with small bond. Afterword, I will be released to family in U.S. protected territority. But I need you’re bond fee. Please contact me so we can arrange payment.”

I desperately want to respond, “This is the FBI. You are surrounded. Come out with your hands up!”

But do that and a million more e-mails will flood my in-box because the robot-clowns who generate this garbage will detect a live computer with a live person.

As if turning on the computer switch wasn’t hell enough.

Another month, another 1,300 e-mails. And still held hostage.

Andrew M. Andrews

In This Issue

Mending The Moon 100 Days in Deadland A Cold Season Rites of Passage

Red is for Rage The Hand of Osiris Apocalypse The Haunting of Twenty-First Century America

Saucer Country Click on Book Cover for Review A Commonplace Killing

Pray for Us Sinners Fingal O' Reilly, Irish Doctor If Angels Fight Inferno

Recommended In True Review
Ghosts Know

GHOSTS KNOW:

GHOSTS KNOW, by Ramsey Campbell. TOR (www.torge-forge.com), 2013, 285 pp., $25.99. ISBN 978-0-7653-3633-0 (click to purchase).

Radio talk show hosts and mysterious psychics – and how provocative that combination can be – provide the fuel for another engaging and horrifying novel from Campbell.

Andrew M. Andrews
23 Years on Fire

23 YEARS ON FIRE:

23 YEARS ON FIRE, by Joel Shepherd. Pyr/Prometheus (www.prometheusbooks.com), 2013, 435 pp., $16.95. ISBN 978-1-61614-810-2 (click to purchase).

Hunter-killer android Cassandra Kresnov returns in this book to aid the Federation to visit a portion of League space called New Torah to find a way to stop a regime of corporations from building synthetic soldiers. What she discovers will test her belief and loyalties to her known universe.

Andrew M. Andrews
Anathema

ANATHEMA:

ANATHEMA by D.A. Dalessandro. First Folio Press (www.anathemathenovel.com), 2013, 279 pp., $10.99. ISBN 978-0-98951-051-6 (click to purchase).

A creature has come to terrorize the isolated island of Nantucket in 1856, before science could even grasp the concept of evolution and before anybody could grasp the concept of a monster that could be explained. In Nantucket in the mid-19th Century, there was Prudence Mott and Harvard medical student Balthazar Andrews. Anathema is the first of a planned trilogy. The second novel, Armies of the Night, according to the author’s Website (anathemathenovel.com) is set during the Civil War.

Andrew M. Andrews
Crooked

CROOKED:

CROOKED by Richard Pett. Broken Eye Books (www.brokeneyebooks.com), 2013, 541 pp., $19.99. 978-1-94037-200-6 (click to purchase).

From the press release: “If you’re a fan of the decayed streets of Mieville, Vandermeer, Lovecraft, and Conan Doyle, Richard Pett’s grim, phantasmagorical tale of urban fantasy and revolution may be just up your alley.”

Andrew M. Andrews

Next Time In True Review
Hauntings

HAUNTINGS:

HAUNTINGS ed. by Ellen Datlow. Tachyon Publications (www.tachyonpublications.com), 2013, 422 pp., $16.95. ISBN 978-1-61696-088-9 (click to purchase).

Everything You Need

EVERYTHING YOU NEED:

EVERYTHING YOU NEED by Michael Marshall Smith. Earthling Publications (www.earthlingpub.com), 2013, 280 pp., $45.00. ISBN 978-0-9838071-4-8 (click to purchase).

Strange Playgrounds

STRANGE PLAYGROUNDS:

STRANGE PLAYGROUNDS by George Daniel Lea. Dark Moon Books (www.darkmoonbooks.com), 2013, 320 pp., $15.95. ISBN 978-0-98940-906-6 (click to purchase).

Beyond The Sun

BEYOND THE SUN:

BEYOND THE SUN ed. by Bryan Thomas Schmidt. Fairwood Press (www.fairwoodpress.com), 2013, 290 pp., $17.99. ISBN 978-1-933846-38-5 (click to purchase).

Apocalypse 13

SHE WALKS IN DARKNESS:

SHE WALKS IN DARKNESS by Evangeline Walton. Tachyon Publications (www.tachyonpublications.com), 2013, 184 pp., $14.95. ISBN 978-1-61696-133-6 (click to purchase).