Sven Kloepping (*1979) is a freelance writer from Dortmund/Germany. World-famous author of the bestsellers 'How to make children yearning for detention' and 'Let's do reggae in death row now'.

It means “it works anyway!” but the translation does not contain the Romanian flavor of the original saying. “Merge si-asa!” has its own story; it’s like a taboo or like a milestone in the collective memory. It used to work that way for long time; it used to be unnecessary to correct a thing when it worked badly, because that thing was not intended to be sold to anybody. The thing we are talking about here might be a law or a habit or—even worse—a contract. In the western world, a contract is a signature that concludes a discussion and if one of the parts breaks the contract’s rules, that part will be avoided in the future and it will be known as a less trusty partner, which will affect it directly. The lack of trust in the western world is synonymous with the bankruptcy. Unfortunately, in the eastern world—and particularly here, in Romania—one can afford to ignore the contract’s rules in principle due to the long process of justice. Another aspect of the motivation that makes a contract just a usual paper, is the lack of a competition that might promote somebody to a certain point in a hierarchy. This way, if you know the right person, you can obtain the right position, which is unnatural, but it happens all the time. From this point, until the situation when a signed contract becomes nothing but a piece of paper, the distance is very short. “Merge si-asa!” will not disappear until those who are directly affected by the situation will not take a strong position against the person involved in this lie. Until the liars will not be removed from their important positions, the game will continue and, day after day, situations like those described above will continue to be common cases. Actually, “Merge si-asa!” is directly linked with the idea of a lie. Because it does not work that way any longer and even if they are too stupid to admit it, the liars are known by everybody and sooner or later they will be overwhelmed by a deep shame. In that day, there will be one less liar in the world, not a common liar, but exactly the character we are talking about right now.

I am a mathematician, skilled at the Bucharest University. Teaching in my every-day life it often happens to dream about never known worlds, mostly the virtual worlds I imagine for my pupils.

The alarm clock rang again, like every other day… Geo got on his feet slowly, yawning and stretching lazily. After a frugal breakfast he hastily ran out from the staircase holding the handles of his old bike. After a glance at both left and right directions, he sprinted into the traffic heading for his office… At his office he turned on his PC and checked his email… Just the everyday spam…

I was born in the springtime, under the eyes of Mercury. That happened in 1964. At fifteen I even did not know that Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, writers who embellished my childhood, wrote science-fiction.

From raves to rebukes, fiction and science writer, Nina Munteanu, reviews the latest fiction, non-fiction books and movies related to SF/Fantasy & Horror. This month she reviews Philip Pullman’s latest trilogy, “His Dark Materials.” Wrongly (I think) categorized by many as just a YA (young adult) fantasy, this SF-fantasy slipstream should appeal to readers of all ages. It is, after all, a multi-layered tale of universal scope. Pullman, himself, de-emphasizes the fantasy elements of his tale, calling it “stark realism” because these elements (such as daemons) are used to embody phycological truths about human personality. Say’s Pullman, “I am trying to write a book about what it means to be human.” The coming-of-age of an intrepid girl and boy serves as an elegant metaphor to explore the story of everyman’s journey toward enlightenment and whose every step comes with it a price. It brings to mind a quote by Victor Frankl: “What is to give light must endure burning.” When I review a work, I first evaluate it as a reader: does it hold my interest? Is it a good story? Then I review it as a scientist: does it make sense, does it make proper use of a logical scientific premise, particularly if it is SF or speculative fiction? I also look for whether it is imaginative and provides something new. In my work as a scientific consultant, I am constantly challenged to support my arguments with evidence, whether it be valid data, current theory or known scientific principal. But I also recognize that science also requires creative speculation (often unsupported) to widen its boundaries. Lastly, I evaluate the work as an editor and writer: paying attention to craft and how the story was constructed, often looking for why the story evoked my reader’s reaction in the first place. I look for characterization, plot, pace and theme and how these weave into the overall story arc. I look for vivid writing, use of metaphor and scope of the story. After all this, stories are very much a matter of “taste” and my evaluation of whether the story is a “good read”, “not worthwhile” or “brilliant” remains subjective and my opinion only. You may agree or disagree based on your own evaluation criteria and taste. I am interested in your opinion of these reviews and whether they are helpful and informative. I invite your comments or questions by writing me at the following e-mail address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

“The angels play their horns all day/The whole earth in progression seems to pass by./But does anyone hear the music they play?/Does anyone even try?” Bob Dylan “For everyone his Gabriel and the Mocker,/The stillness, and the fountain, and the Master.” Mervyn Peake Daniel Eldritch’s mother died in Memphis, Tennessee, on December 5, 20--.

Okay, so it’s a little dated (the first book in the trilogy appeared in 1995 by DelRey with the third appearing in mass market October, 2001) but I just read it this year and I’m very excited about it. The three books include: “The Golden Compass”; “The Subtle Knife”; and “The Amber Spyglass”.

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