Pleiades Upon The Stones and other tales: ZineZoned Review
What really happened is that my mother bought the Zine and the glossy cover attracted me, so I decided to give it a read. While by their nature, zines are naturally thin, this one was at least ripe with enough content to justify its publication.
In fact, I can honestly say that it is a lot more attractive than my zine. Fortunately, there is no need for me to draw comparisons between myself and the author of this booklet, because as I've discovered, we write in very different, contrasting genres.
I read every piece in the Zine except for Sirena -- for the simple reason that it was the only story written in Tagalog and reading such a story would be more of a chore than a leisurely endeavor for me.
Anyway, from my readings of the pieces including in this particular publication, I got the impression that the author has a very Lovecraftian style of writing. The narrative style actually changes a bit with each story, but the elements of her stories always have this eerie, otherworldly feel to them.
In short, this book has some very atmospheric stories. While I will never really want to write these types of stories, I can definitely appreciate them.
Here are the two that really stuck in my head, along with some mild critique.
Pleiades Upon The Stones
This is the titular story and it definitely has that epic feel to it. It follows the journey of one Asper as he discovers a forbidden city of legend and is invited to the other world by a majestic woman seated upon a glass throne.
While the tale seems to be one of wish fulfillment and traveling to another world -- there is a dark twist at the end.
The piece was very well written over-all and I really have no complaints about the writer's facility of the English language. In fact, I'm pretty sure that even native speakers would not be able to tell the difference.
With that out of the way, I had the impression that everything around the story was built towards making that final reveal at the end (which I will not spoil, of course.) -- and it was fine, because it takes a little bit of time for the meaning of the final paragraph to actually set in. While the storytelling is seemingly straightforward, it does hide some clever symbolism in-between.
Also, the allusion to the eye of providence should serve as enough warning to the reader that this was not an ordinary fairy tale story.
It gave me this feeling of emptiness at the end -- like a glimpse of what one might feel from reading an Anne Rice novel or an Alan Moore comic (call them "graphic novels" if you want to be pedantic about it.)
Needless to say, it was an enjoyable read.
My one complaint: I felt that Asper's final decision could have been foreshadowed more throughout the piece by revealing bits and pieces about his personality. This is a very minor complaint, though.
If you have ever seen any of those modern Japanese horror stories that they sometimes show on TV, then you'll know what to expect with Shoreline.
This story is told through the eyes of Emily, who has some kind of connection with her cousin, Elias. As a character, Emily's main concern in her narrations would be her relationship with her cousin Elias.
This particular tale makes no pretense at the very start. It begins inside a drinking establishment where the main character is getting drunk with her female friends with her cousin Elias (who was not yet aware of her presence) who was engaging in obscene, drunken talk with his male buddies. There is tension in their initial encounter because of this type of setting.
Yet, even though Emily often tells the reader how she would like to be rid of Elias, it is pretty obvious that she does not really hate him.
Of course, the story then takes another turn for the strange when the supernatural elements are introduced. Personally, these moments were the best parts of the story because it broke up the monotony of the false expectation that this would be some nearly incestuous love story between kissing cousins -- fortunately, Shoreline is not that type of story -- and prospective readers would do well not to underestimate the author by presuming as much until they've read the piece in its entirety.
I would say that this story was my personal favorite in the zine -- although again, it is definitely not the type of story that I would write myself.
It is not my nature to give a numerical rating as that doesn't say anything about how you actually felt about the piece.
Therefore, I will conclude by saying that Pleiades Upon The Stones and other tales is well-recommended if you like seemingly everyday stories with a dark, Filipino lower mythology twist.
The author's blog can be found here: http://malditanglibrarian.blogspot.com