Some people see things that others cannot. Tales of Mystery and Imagination. “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown” (H.P. Lovecraft).

Clarice Lispector: O Morto no Mar da Urca

Clarice Lispector, O Morto no Mar da Urca, Relatos de terror, Horror stories, Short stories, Science fiction stories, Anthology of horror, Antología de terror, Anthology of mystery, Antología de misterio, Scary stories, Scary Tales, Science Fiction Short Stories, Historias de ciencia ficcion, Salomé Guadalupe Ingelmo

Eu estava no apartamento de d. Lourdes, costureira, provando meu vestido pintado pela Olly - e dona Lourdes disse: morreu um homem no mar, olhe os bombeiros. Olhei e só vi o mar que devia ser muito salgado, mar azul, casas brancas. E o morto?
O morto em salmoura. Não quero morrer! gritei-me muda dentro do meu vestido. O vestido é amarelo e azul. E eu? morta de calor, não morta de mar azul.
Vou contar um segredo: meu vestido é lindo e não quero morrer. Na sexta-feira o vestido estará em casa, e no sábado eu o usarei. Sem morte, só mar azul. Existem nuvens amarelas? Existem douradas. Eu não tenho história. O morto tem? Tem: foi tomar banho de mar na Urca, o bobo, e morreu, quem mandou? Eu tomo banho de mar com cuidado, não sou tola, e só vou à Urca para provar vestidos. E três blusas. S. foi comigo. Ela é minuciosa na prova. E o morto? minuciosamente morto?
Morto de bobo que era. Só se deve ir à Urca para provar vestido alegre. A mulher, que sou eu, só quer alegria. Mas eu me curvo diante da morte. Que virá, virá, virá. Quando? aí é que está, pode vir a qualquer momento. Mas eu, que estava provando o vestido no calor da manhã, pedi uma prova de Deus. E senti uma coisa intensíssima, um perfume intenso demais de rosas. Entaõ tive a prova, as duas provas; de Deus e do vestido.
Só se deve morrer de morte morrida, nunca de desastre, nunca de afogação no mar. Eu peço proteção para os meus, que são muitos. E a proteção, tenho certeza, virá.

David Langford: Graffiti in the Library of Babel

David Langford, Graffiti in the Library of Babel  , Relatos de terror, Horror stories, Short stories, Science fiction stories, Anthology of horror, Antología de terror, Anthology of mystery, Antología de misterio, Scary stories, Scary Tales, Science Fiction Short Stories, Historias de ciencia ficcion, Salomé Guadalupe Ingelmo

"There seems to be no difference at all between the message of maximum content (or maximum ambiguity) and the message of zero content (noise)."

-- John Sladek, "The Communicants"

As it turned out, they had no sense of drama. They failed to descend in shiny flying discs, or even to fill some little-used frequency with a tantalizing stutter of sequenced primes. No: they came with spray cans and spirit pens, scrawling their grubby little tags across our heritage.

Or as an apologetic TotLib intern first broke the news: "Sir, someone's done something nasty all over Jane Austen."

# # #

The Total Library project is named in homage to Kurd Lasswitz's thought experiment "Die Universal Bibliothek," which inspired a famous story by Jorge Luis Borges. Another influence is the "World Brain" concept proposed by H. G. Wells. Assembling the totality of world literature and knowledge should allow a rich degree of cross-referencing and interdisciplinary…

Ceri Evans looked up from the brochure. Even in this white office that smelt of top management, she could never resist a straight line: "Why, congratulations, Professor. I think you may have invented the Internet!"

"Doctor, not Professor, and I do not use the title," said Ngombi with well-simulated patience. "Call me Joseph. The essential point of TotLib is that we are isolated from the net. No trolls, no hackers, none of what that Manson book called sleazo inputs. Controlled rather than chaotic cross-referencing."

"But still you seem to have these taggers?"

"Congratulations, Doctor Evans! I think you may have just deduced the contents of my original email to you."

Pere Gimferrer: En la cocina

Pere Gimferrer, En la cocina, Relatos de terror, Horror stories, Short stories, Science fiction stories, Anthology of horror, Antología de terror, Anthology of mystery, Antología de misterio, Scary stories, Scary Tales, Science Fiction Short Stories, Historias de ciencia ficcion, Salomé Guadalupe Ingelmo

Esta mañana, en la cocina había una bestia: un oso hormiguero, diríase. Al principio creí que lo soñaba.

(Me había quedado pesadamente dormido leyendo a Kafka, y conturbaban mis sueños dragones austrohúngaros)

Pero eran bien reales las manos que me zarandeaban y la fatiga perpendicular del pasillo.

La bestia se agazapaba al fondo, cerca del lavadero. Pensé si sería anfibia. No parecía peligrosa. En todo caso, nada había hecho a María cuando, minutos antes, la descubrió al lavar la vajilla. La ventana estaba cerrada. Evidentemente sólo había podido entrar por la abertura del ventilador. se me ocurrió abrirle la ventana. Pero no me constaba que pudiera irse. Permanecía heladamente inmóvil, agitada sólo por su respiración. Tal vez se hallaba herida, dormida, o enferma. Por otro lado, cabía también que me atacase súbitamente. Reclinada sobre sí misma como estaba, me era imposible ver la parte inferior de su cabeza. Su conformación sugería una lengua vibrátil; acaso, unos colmillos acuchillados. Los ojos se me negaban bajo un pelaje oscuro y erizado.

Quizá debía sacrificar a la bestia. El revólver se imponía como único instrumento viable; estremecía imaginar el desgarramiento de aquella masa rugosa bajo la incisión del metal. Pero un fallo podía excitarla y, por lo demás, no había en casa revólver alguno. Encerrarla en la cocina perturbaría nuestro régimen doméstico, sin contar con que la prolongada reclusión produce efectos del todo imprevisibles en algunas especies. Donde estaba no ocasionaba grandes trastornos, así que resolví dejarla.

Arthur Machen: The Children of the Pool

Arthur Machen, The Children of the Pool, Relatos de terror, Horror stories, Short stories, Science fiction stories, Anthology of horror, Antología de terror, Anthology of mystery, Antología de misterio, Scary stories, Scary Tales, Science Fiction Short Stories, Historias de ciencia ficcion, Salomé Guadalupe Ingelmo

A couple of summers ago I was staying with old friends in my native county, on the Welsh border. It was in the heat and drought of a hot and dry year, and I came into those green, well-watered valleys with a sense of a great refreshment. Here was relief from the burning of London streets, from the close and airless nights, when all the myriad walls of brick and stone and concrete and the pavements that are endless give out into the heavy darkness the fires that all day long have been drawn from the sun. And from those roadways that have become like railways, with their changing lamps, and their yellow globes, and their bars and studs of steel; from the menace of instant death if your feet stray from the track: from all this what a rest to walk under the green leaf in quiet, and hear the stream trickling from the heart of the hill.
My friends were old friends, and they were urgent that I should go my own way. There was breakfast at nine, but it was equally serviceable and excellent at ten; and I could be in for something cold for lunch, if I liked; and if I didn't like I could stay away till dinner at half past seven; and then there was all the evening for talks about old times and about the changes, with comfortable drinks, and bed soothed by memories and tobacco, and by the brook that twisted under dark alders through the meadow below. And not a red bungalow to be seen for many a mile around! Sometimes, when the heat even in that green land was more than burning, and the wind from the mountains in the west ceased, I would stay all day under shade on the lawn, but more often I went afield and trod remembered ways, and tried to find new ones, in that happy and bewildered country. There, paths go wandering into undiscovered valleys, there from deep and narrow lanes with overshadowing hedges, still smaller tracks that I suppose are old bridlepaths, creep obscurely, obviously leading nowhere in particular.
It was on a day of cooler air that I went adventuring abroad on such an expedition. It was a "day of the veil." There were no clouds in the sky, but a high mist, grey and luminous, had been drawn all over it. At one moment, it would seem that the sun must shine through, and the blue appear; and then the trees in the wood would seem to blossom, and the meadows lightened; and then again the veil would be drawn. I struck off by the stony lane that led from the back of the house up over the hill; I had last gone that way a-many years ago, of a winter afternoon, when the ruts were frozen into hard ridges, and dark pines on high places rose above snow, and the sun was red and still above the mountain. I remembered that the way had given good sport, with twists to right and left, and unexpected descents, and then risings to places of thorn and bracken, till it darkened to the hushed stillness of a winter's night, and I turned homeward reluctant. Now I took another chance with all the summer day before me, and resolved to come to some end and conclusion of the matter.
I think I had gone beyond the point at which I had stopped and turned back as the frozen darkness and the bright stars came on me. I remembered the dip in the hedge, from which I saw the round tumulus on high at the end of the mountain wall; and there was the white farm on the hill-side, and the farmer was still calling to his dog, as he—or his father—had called before, his voice high and thin in the distance. After this point, I seemed to be in undiscovered country; the ash trees grew densely on either side of the way and met above it: I went on and on into the unknown in the manner of the only good guide-books, which are the tales of old knights. The road went down, and climbed, and again descended, all through the deep of the wood. Then, on both sides, the trees ceased, though the hedges were so high that I could see nothing of the way of the land about me. And just at the wood's ending, there was one of those tracks or little paths of which I have spoken, going off from my lane on the right, and winding out of sight quickly under all its leafage of hazel and wild rose, maple and hornbeam, with a holly here and there, and honeysuckle golden, and dark briony shining and twining everywhere. I could not resist the invitation of a path so obscure and uncertain, and set out on its track of green and profuse grass, with the ground beneath still soft to the feet, even in the drought of that fiery summer. The way wound, as far as I could make out, on the slope of a hill, neither ascending nor descending, and after a mile or more of this rich walking, it suddenly ceased, and I found myself on a bare hill-side, on a rough track that went down to a grey house. It was now a farm by its looks and surroundings, but there were signs of old state about it: good sixteenth-century mullioned windows and a Jacobean porch projecting from the centre, with dim armorial bearings mouldering above the door.

Manuel Mujica Láinez: El hombrecito del azulejo

Manuel Mujica Láinez, El hombrecito del azulejo, Relatos de terror, Horror stories, Short stories, Science fiction stories, Anthology of horror, Antología de terror, Anthology of mystery, Antología de misterio, Scary stories, Scary Tales, Science Fiction Short Stories, Historias de ciencia ficcion, Salomé Guadalupe Ingelmo

Los dos médicos cruzan el zaguán hablando en voz baja. Su juventud puede más que sus barbas y que sus levitas severas, y brilla en sus ojos claros. Uno de ellos, el doctor Ignacio Pirovano, es alto, de facciones resueltamente esculpidas. Apoya una de las manos grandes, robustas, en el hombro del otro, y comenta:

-Esta noche será la crisis.

-Sí -responde el doctor Eduardo Wilde-; hemos hecho cuanto pudimos.

-Veremos mañana. Tiene que pasar esta noche… Hay que esperar…

Y salen en silencio. A sus amigos del club, a sus compañeros de la Facultad, del Lazareto y del Hospital del Alto de San Telmo, les hubiera costado reconocerles, tan serios van, tan ensimismados, porque son dos hombres famosos por su buen humor, que en el primero se expresa con farsas estudiantiles y en el segundo con chisporroteos de ironía mordaz.

Cierran la puerta de calle sin ruido y sus pasos se apagan en la noche. Detrás, en el gran patio que la luna enjalbega, la Muerte aguarda, sentada en el brocal del pozo. Ha oído el comentario y en su calavera flota una mueca que hace las veces de sonrisa. También lo oyó el hombrecito del azulejo.

El hombrecito del azulejo es un ser singular. Nació en Francia, en Desvres, departamento del Paso de Calais, y vino a Buenos Aires por equivocación. Sus manufactureros, los Fourmaintraux, no lo destinaban aquí, pero lo incluyeron por error dentro de uno de los cajones rotulados para la capital argentina, e hizo el viaje, embalado prolijamente el único distinto de los azulejos del lote. Los demás, los que ahora lo acompañan en el zócalo, son azules corno él, con dibujos geométricos estampados cuya tonalidad se deslíe hacia el blanco del centro lechoso, pero ninguno se honra con su diseño: el de un hombrecito azul, barbudo, con calzas antiguas, gorro de duende y un bastón en la mano derecha. Cuando el obrero que ornamentaba el zaguán porteño topó con él, lo dejó aparte, porque su presencia intrusa interrumpía el friso; mas luego le hizo falta un azulejo para completar y lo colocó en un extremo, junto a la historiada cancela que separa zaguán y patio, pensando que nadie lo descubriría. Y el tiempo transcurrió sin que ninguno notara que entre los baldosines había uno, disimulado por la penumbra de la galería, tan diverso. Entraban los lecheros, los pescadores, los vendedores de escobas y plumeros hechos por los indios pampas; depositaban en el suelo sus hondos canastos, y no se percataban del menudo extranjero del zócalo. Otras veces eran las señoronas de visita las que atravesaban el zaguán y tampoco lo veían, ni lo veían las chinas crinudas que pelaban la pava a la puerta aprovechando la hora en que el ama rezaba el rosario en la Iglesia de San Miguel. Hasta que un día la casa se vendió y entre sus nuevos habitantes hubo un niño, quien lo halló de inmediato.

Edward Frederic Benson: The Man Who Went Too Far

Edward Frederic Benson, The Man Who Went Too Far, Relatos de terror, Horror stories, Short stories, Science fiction stories, Anthology of horror, Antología de terror, Anthology of mystery, Antología de misterio, Scary stories, Scary Tales, Science Fiction Short Stories, Historias de ciencia ficcion, Salomé Guadalupe Ingelmo

The little village of St. Faith's nestles in a hollow of wooded till up on the north bank of the river Fawn in the country of Hampshire, huddling close round its grey Norman church as if for spiritual protection against the fays and fairies, the trolls and "little people," who might be supposed still to linger in the vast empty spaces of the New Forest, and to come after dusk and do their doubtful businesses. Once outside the hamlet you may walk in any direction (so long as you avoid the high road which leads to Brockenhurst) for the length of a summer afternoon without seeing sign of human habitation, or possibly even catching sight of another human being.

Shaggy wild ponies may stop their feeding for a moment as you pass, the white scuts of rabbits will vanish into their burrows, a brown viper perhaps will glide from your path into a clump of heather, and unseen birds will chuckle in the bushes, but it may easily happen that for a long day you will see nothing human. But you will not feel in the least lonely; in summer, at any rate, the sunlight will be gay with butterflies, and the air thick with all those woodland sounds which like instruments in an orchestra combine to play the great symphony of the yearly festival of June.

Winds whisper in the birches, and sigh among the firs; bees are busy with their redolent labour among the heather, a myriad birds chirp in the green temples of the forest trees, and the voice of the river prattling over stony places, bubbling into pools, chuckling and gulping round corners, gives you the sense that many presences and companions are near at hand.

Yet, oddly enough, though one would have thought that these benign and cheerful influences of wholesome air and spaciousness of forest were very healthful comrades for a man, in so far as Nature can really influence this wonderful human genus which has in these centuries learned to defy her most violent storms in its well-established houses, to bridle her torrents and make them light its streets, to tunnel her mountains and plough her seas, the inhabitants of St. Faith's will not willingly venture into the forest after dark. For in spite of the silence and loneliness of the hooded night it seems that a man is not sure in what company he may suddenly find himself, and though it is difficult to get from these villagers any very clear story of occult appearances, the feeling is widespread. One story indeed I have heard with some definiteness, the tale of a monstrous goat that has been seen to skip with hellish glee about the woods and shady places, and this perhaps is connected with the story which I have here attempted to piece together. It too is well-known to them; for all remember the young artist who died here not long ago, a young man, or so he struck the beholder, of great personal beauty, with something about him that made men's faces to smile and brighten when they looked on him. His ghost they will tell you "walks" constantly by the stream and through the woods which he loved so, and in especial it haunts a certain house, the last of the village, where he lived, and its garden in which he was done to death. For my part I am inclined to think that the terror of the forest dates chiefly from that day.

Pere Calders: El testament de la hiena

Pere Calders, El testament de la hiena, Relatos de terror, Horror stories, Short stories, Science fiction stories, Anthology of horror, Antología de terror, Anthology of mystery, Antología de misterio, Scary stories, Scary Tales, Science Fiction Short Stories, Historias de ciencia ficcion, Salomé Guadalupe Ingelmo

M'havien delegat per a assassinar un funcionan i, encara que em vingués a repèl, havia de complir. En aquest món, si només fèiem allò que ens ve de gust ens estovaríem. A més, considero que quan un home milita, ha d'ésser disciplinat i obedient.
El funcionari em va rebre de seguida, perqué li portava de part d'una amiga seva una carta magistralment falsificada. Figurava que li duia un paquet confidencial i, en asseure'm davant d'ell, a l'altra banda de la gran taula de ministre, vaig obrir la cartera de mà i en vaig treure la pistola amb el silenciador posat. El burócrata es va tornar groc i es mostra molt estranyat. No se sabia avenir, em digué, que hagués passat els controls de vigilancia. En explicar-li que els teníem sota suborn, va condemnar farisaicament la corrupció que imperava.
Em feia llàstima. Potser era la falta de costum o es devia a l'abim que hi ha entre les prediques i les accions. El cert és que no em decidia a engegar-li el tret, no hi havia prou franquesa. Això sense comptar els escrúpols, que també pesen.
—Qué li passa? —em va preguntar el personatge.
—És que vosté hauria d'ajudar —vaig respondre-li—. Si disparo amb presses i el toco malament, patirà i em farà patir a mi. En canvi, programant-ho entre tots dos, podem encertar de bones a primeres una ferida fulminant, mortal de necessitat, que ens permeti de prescindir del daltabaix de l'agonia...
Em va dedicar un gest despectiu amb el brae, com si m'enviés a la porra, i s'alcà del setial amb l'aire de fer unes quantes gambades. «Quiet!», vaig cridar-li. No s'aturà i ni tan sols es va girar per mirar-me. Recorregué el despatx amunt i avall, sense reparar en la meva presencia. Cal dir que jo tenia molt disminuida la capacitat d'espantar, pel fet d'haver declarat d'entrada el meu propòsit de matar-lo. Qué podia afegir que em fes més perillos?
—Miri que si disparo de mala fe i li toco el nervi, la sentida pot ser brutal —vaig dir-li amb veu ronca—. Hi ha fiblades pitjors que la mort mateixa...
Se'm va plantar al davant i em clava una mirada interrogadora.
—Com està d'anatomia topogràfica? —em pregunta—. Vol dir que sap on apuntar, no ja per martiritzar-me (tal com insinua), sino per a eliminar-me, que és la pedra de toc d'aquesta entrevista?
—No —vaig contestar-li—. No sé anatomia de cap mena, fora del coneixement senzill de la figura. La idea és anar de cara al cor i deixar que la naturalesa faci el seu curs.
—I on el tinc el cor, si no és indiscreció?
—Al costat esquerre, com tothom.
—No. Com tothom, el tinc entre els dos pulmons, justament damunt del diafragma. A vostè li falten els coneixements indispensables...
M'havia fet el propòsit de tenir paciéncia perqué, pobre home, prou tribulació devia passar. Eren unes reflexions que em feia aleshores, desconeixedor del caràcter de la meva víctima. I, de passada, que se'm permeti una consideració que pot ésser útil a molts: quan es vol matar algú, convé conéixer-li el caràcter i les sortides abans d'embolicar-se. Tant de bo que jo ho hagués tingut en compte!

Robert Silverberg: Not Our Brother

Robert Silverberg, Not Our Brother, Relatos de terror, Horror stories, Short stories, Science fiction stories, Anthology of horror, Antología de terror, Anthology of mystery, Antología de misterio, Scary stories, Scary Tales, Science Fiction Short Stories, Historias de ciencia ficcion, Salomé Guadalupe Ingelmo

Halperin came into San Simón Zuluaga in late October, a couple of days before the fiesta of the local patron saint, when the men of the town would dance in masks. He wanted to see that. This part of Mexico was famous for its masks, grotesque and terrifying ones portraying devils and monsters and fiends. Halperin had been collecting them for three years. But masks on a wall are one thing, and masks on dancers in the town plaza quite another.
San Simón was a mountain town about halfway between Acapulco and Taxco. “Tourists don’t go there,” Guzmán López had told him. “The road is terrible and the only hotel is a Cucaracha Hilton—five rooms, straw mattresses.” Guzmán ran a gallery in Acapulco where Halperin had bought a great many masks. He was a suave, cosmopolitan man from Mexico City, with smooth dark skin and a bald head that gleamed as if it had been polished. “But they still do the Bat Dance there, the Lord of the Animals Dance. It is the only place left that performs it. This is from San Simón Zuluaga,” said Guzmán, and pointed to an intricate and astonishing mask in purple and yellow depicting a bat with outspread leathery wings that was at the same time somehow also a human skull and a jaguar. Halperin would have paid ten thousand pesos for it, but Guzmán was not interested in selling. “Go to San Simón,” he said. “You’ll see others like this.”
“For sale?”
Guzman laughed and crossed himself. “Don’t suggest it. In Rome, would you make an offer for the Pope’s robes? These masks are sacred.”
“I want one. How did you get this one?”
“Sometimes favors are done. But not for strangers. Perhaps I’ll be able to work something out for you.”
“You’ll be there, then?”
“I go every year for the Bat Dance,” said Guzmán. “It’s important to me. To touch the real Mexico, the old Mexico. I am too much a Spaniard, not enough an Aztec; so I go back and drink from the source. Do you understand?”
“I think so,” Halperin said. “Yes.”
“You want to see the true Mexico?”
“Do they still slice out hearts with an obsidian dagger?”
Guzmán said, chuckling, “If they do, they don’t tell me about it. But they know the old gods there. You should go. You would learn much. You might even experience interesting dangers.”
“Danger doesn’t interest me a whole lot,” said Halperin.

Gonzalo Suárez: Al volver de la zeta

Gonzalo Suárez, Al volver de la zeta, Relatos de terror, Horror stories, Short stories, Science fiction stories, Anthology of horror, Antología de terror, Anthology of mystery, Antología de misterio, Scary stories, Scary Tales, Science Fiction Short Stories, Historias de ciencia ficcion, Salomé Guadalupe Ingelmo

¡Espe...rooo! ¡Espe...rooo!
—¿La oye? Es ella. Su voz me resulta inconfundible, a pesar de la distancia. La reconocería entre un millón de voces, porque no tiene nada de humano. ¿El aullido de un cachorro? ¿Hay algo más humano que el aullido de un cachorro? No, no. Ella no grita para lamentarse, sino para hacerse oír. Más bien es como una sirena. Fría y penetrante. Atraviesa los muros, y deja un rastro helado. Pensará que hablo literariamente, ¿no es verdad? Sin embargo...
—¿Cuántos años hace que murió?
—¿Quién? ¿Ella? Esperaba la pregunta. Sabía que usted había adivinado. Basta con oírla una vez para comprender. Lo que me asombra verdaderamente no es la distancia de tiempo sino la de espacio, porque está enterrada en el cementerio Oeste de la ciudad, y su nicho ocupa tan poco lugar, entre tantos nichos... —¿Causas que provocaron la defunción?
—Los días, al sucederse unos a otros sin interrupción.
—¿Ella o yo? Perdone, se refiere a ella, claro, a ella... Era muy guapa y empezó a quedarse arrugada y escuálida, blanca...
—Usted la recuerda muerta, y yo quiero que me hable de ella cuando todavía estaba viva.
—¿Le da miedo comprender?
—No he venido a comprender sino a investigar.
—Ya. Su misión es investigar... ¿Y quién tiene por misión comprender? ¿A quién le pagan para que comprenda? ¿A quién?
—Evidentemente existen algunos fallos en la estructura actual de la sociedad, pero trabajamos para que llegue algún día en que estos fallos sean subsanados. ¿Por qué grita?
—¿Ella? Oh, realmente... no sé... escuche...
— ¡Espe... rooo! ¡Espe... rooo!
—¿La oye?
—Me alegra saber que también usted oye su voz. A veces he temido que fuera tan sólo un producto de mi imaginación...
—¿Desde hace cuánto tiempo llama?

Greg Egan: Closer

Nobody wants to spend eternity alone.

("Intimacy," I once told Sian, after we'd made love, "is the only cure for solipsism." She laughed and said, "Don't get too ambitious, Michael. So far, it hasn't even cured me of masturbation.")

True solipsism, though, was never my problem. From the very first time I considered the question, I accepted that there could be no way of proving the reality of an external world, let alone the existence of other minds - but I also accepted that taking both on faith was the only practical way of dealing with everyday life.

The question which obsessed me was this: Assuming that other people existed, how did they apprehend that existence? How did they experience being? Could I ever truly understand what consciousness was like for another person - any more than I could for an ape, or a cat, or an insect?

If not, I was alone.

I desperately wanted to believe that other people were somehow knowable, but it wasn't something I could bring myself to take for granted. I knew there could be no absolute proof, but I wanted to be persuaded, I needed to be compelled.

No literature, no poetry, no drama, however personally resonant I found it, could ever quite convince me that I'd glimpsed the author's soul. Language had evolved to facilitate cooperation in the conquest of the physical world, not to describe subjective reality. Love, anger, jealousy, resentment, grief - all were defined, ultimately, in terms of external circumstances and observable actions. When an image or metaphor rang true for me, it proved only that I shared with the author a set of definitions, a culturally sanctioned list of word associations. After all, many publishers used computer programs - highly specialised, but unsophisticated algorithms, without the remotest possibility of self-awareness - to routinely produce both literature, and literary criticism, indistinguishable from the human product. Not just formularised garbage, either; on several occasions, I'd been deeply affected by works which I'd later discovered had been cranked out by unthinking software. This didn't prove that human literature communicated nothing of the author's inner life, but it certainly made clear how much room there was for doubt.

Unlike many of my friends, I had no qualms whatsoever when, at the age of eighteen, the time came for me to "switch." My organic brain was removed and discarded, and control of my body handed over to my "jewel" - the Ndoli Device, a neural-net computer implanted shortly after birth, which had since learnt to imitate my brain, down to the level of individual neurons. I had no qualms, not because I was at all convinced that the jewel and the brain experienced consciousness identically, but because, from an early age, I'd identified myself solely with the jewel. My brain was a kind of bootstrap device, nothing more, and to mourn its loss would have been as absurd as mourning my emergence from some primitive stage of embryological neural development. Switching was simply what humans did now, an established part of the life cycle, even if it was mediated by our culture, and not by our genes.

Javier Redal: El horror sin nombre

Javier Redal, El horror sin nombre, Relatos de terror, Horror stories, Short stories, Science fiction stories, Anthology of horror, Antología de terror, Anthology of mystery, Antología de misterio, Scary stories, Scary Tales, Science Fiction Short Stories, Historias de ciencia ficcion, Salomé Guadalupe Ingelmo

Es una desgracia que los científicos, que por la naturaleza de su trabajo deberían ser tolerantes y abiertos hacia las ideas nuevas, se muestren con harta frecuencia mezquinos, egoístas y burlones con los innovadores. Han pasado siglos, pero aún impera entre los grandes académicos -eso son, y no científicos- el «Magister dixit» de la Edad Media.
El caso del recientemente fallecido doctor Miguel Torres, químico, es doblemente terrible. Se ha ignorado su descubrimiento, pero ese mismo descubrimiento le acarreó una espantosa muerte. Aunque al aludir a incredulidad, debo admitir que gran parte de la culpa recayó en el propio doctor Torres. En sus conversaciones solía hablar con ironía de las normas de prestigio entre la sociedad científica: en la sociedad aristocrática se valora al hombre por sus antepasados, en la capitalista por la riqueza que posee... y en la científica, por el número (más que por la calidad) de sus publicaciones. Como dicen los anglófonos, «publish or perish»; publica o perece. Yo le conocí debido a su interés por la bioquímica, a la que llamaba «el Gran Arte de la Edad Aactual», como la alquimia lo fue en el medievo. Trabajé para él cierto tiempo, luego dejamos de vernos, y lo volví a encontrar años más tarde... poco antes de su muerte.

El primer atisbo del horror en que se vio envuelto lo tuve justamente entonces; en dos años que no le había visto, el tiempo había trancurrido muy veloz en él. Su rostro arrugado y cansado parecía haber envejecido veinte años.
Caminábamos por la calle; era uno de esos atardeceres nublados y sombríos, en los que el sol parece tener prisa en ocultarse tras enormes nubes negras, como un anticipo de la noche. Había llovido todo el día de forma lenta y contínua, pero ya había cesado a esa hora, y a mí siempre me ha gustado el olor del aire limpio y húmedo. Súbitamente, al volver una esquina, una repentina ráfaga de fetidez asaltó nuestros olfatos. Hice la mueca de repulsión obligada en estos casos, y me volví hacia él. Pero mi acompañante se vio afectado de manera singular: palideció repentinamente, al tiempo que una expresión de inefable terror aparecía en su rostro. Fui a decirle la explicación inmediata: sin duda, unos obreros estaban limpiando la alcantarilla cercana; pero no tuve tiempo. La tapa circular de hierro se alzó, empujada por un hombre desde abajo, y Torres se desmayó tras lanzar un grito de terror como jamás lo escuché en un ser humano.

Brian W. Aldiss: Neanderthal Planet

Brian W. Aldiss, Neanderthal Planet, Relatos de terror, Horror stories, Short stories, Science fiction stories, Anthology of horror, Antología de terror, Anthology of mystery, Antología de misterio, Scary stories, Scary Tales, Science Fiction Short Stories, Historias de ciencia ficcion, Salomé Guadalupe Ingelmo

Hidden machines varied the five axioms of the Scanning Place. They ran through a series of arbitrary systems, consisting of Kolmogorovian finite sets, counterpointed harmonically by a one-to-one assignment nonnegative real numbers, so that the parietal areas shifted constantly in strict relationships projected by the Master Boff deep under Manhattan.
Chief Scanner—he affected the name of Euler— patiently watched the modulations as he awaited a call. Self-consistency: that was the principle in action. It should govern all phases of life. It was the aesthetic principle of machines. Yet, not three miles away, the wild robots sported and rampaged in the bush.
Amber light burned on his beta panel.
Instantaneously, he modulated his call number.
The incoming signal decoded itself as "We've spotted Anderson, chief." The anonymous vane-bug reported coordinates and signed off.
It had taken them Boff knew how long—seven days—to locate Anderson after his escape.
They had done the logical thing and searched far afield for him. But man was not logical; he had stayed almost within the shadow of the New York dome. Euler beamed an impulse into a Hive Mind channel, calling off the search.
He fired his jets and took off.
The axioms yawned out above him. He passed into the open, flying over the poly-polyhedrons of New Newyork. As the buildings went through their transparency phases, he saw them swarming with his own kind. He could open out channels to any one of them, if required; and, as chief, he could, if required, switch any one of them to automatic, to his own control, just as the Dominants could automate him if the need arose.
Euler "saw" a sound-complex signal below him, and dived, deretracting a vane to land silently. He came down by a half-track that had transmitted the signal.
It gave its call number and beamed, "Anderson is eight hundred meters ahead, chief. If you join me, we will move forward."
"What support have we?" A single dense impulse.
“Three more like me, sir. Plus incapacitating gear."
“This man must not be destructed."
"We comprehend, chief." Total exchange of signals occupied less than a microsecond.
He clamped himself magnetically to the half-track, and they rolled forward. The ground was broken and littered by piles of debris, on the soil of which coarse weeds grew. Beyond it all the huge fossil of old New York, still under its force jelly, gray, unwithering because unliving. Only the bright multishapes of the new complex relieved a whole country full of desolation.

José Carlos Canalda: Manuscrito encontrado en un manicomio

José Carlos Canalda, Manuscrito encontrado en un manicomio, Relatos de terror, Horror stories, Short stories, Science fiction stories, Anthology of horror, Antología de terror, Anthology of mystery, Antología de misterio, Scary stories, Scary Tales, Science Fiction Short Stories, Historias de ciencia ficcion, Salomé Guadalupe Ingelmo

Descubrí que algo iba mal un día en que, al levantarme por la mañana, me encontré con un hermoso cardenal en la espinilla derecha. Yo no recordaba en absoluto haberme dado ningún golpe ni en la pierna ni en ninguna otra parte del cuerpo, pero a juzgar por el tamaño y el color del moretón el golpe debería haber sido de consideración... Y me dolía el condenado, me dolía como si me lo hubiera dado.

Intrigado por el origen de la magulladura, pero apremiado por la hora de entrada al trabajo, me apliqué apresuradamente una crema analgésica y salí pitando de casa. Con el ajetreo, primero del tren y después de la oficina (para ser lunes la jornada había comenzado fuertecilla), me olvidé completamente del cardenal... Hasta que al volver a casa me di un fuerte golpe en la espinilla lastimada al tropezar con el estribo del tren.

Maldije la maldita casualidad que había hecho que me diera dos golpes justo en el mismo sitio, pero al fin y al cabo, peor hubiera sido, me dije, fastidiarme las dos piernas. Además el cardenal no me dolía más que antes, con lo cual casi me di por contento.

Pasaron varias semanas y tanto el dolor como el hematoma acabaron desapareciendo, mientras la feroz rutina devoraba mi vida. Yo ya había olvidado el peculiar incidente, cuando una tarde comenzó a dolerme la muñeca de un modo terrible. Era domingo y yo estaba viendo tranquilamente una película en la televisión, con lo cual ni siquiera me quedaba el recurso de pensar que se hubiera tratado de una mala postura en la cama.

Recurrí de nuevo a la pomada analgésica, pero esta vez el dolor era demasiado fuerte y ni siquiera las pastillas que tomé a continuación consiguieron aplacarlo. Varias horas más tarde, en vista de que la muñeca me dolía cada vez más, decidí acudir al médico de urgencias. El ambulatorio estaba cerca de casa, apenas a diez minutos andando, por lo que resolví ir a pie. Entonces empezaron los problemas. Había llovidotodo el día y el suelo se encontraba encharcado. No había previsto esta circunstancia, y llevaba un calzado de suela lisa bastante inadecuado, así que ocurrió lo que tenía que ocurrir. Al saltar para evitar un charco resbalé y me caí cuan largo era en mitad de la calle. Más corrido que una mona y con el orgullo doliéndome más que cualquier otra parte del cuerpo —por fortuna apenas hubo espectadores del humillante tropiezo— volví a mi casa para cambiarme de ropa, ya que la que llevaba puesta había quedado bastante malparada... Y de zapatos, por supuesto, ya que la muñeca me dolíacada vez más y no podía eludir una visita al médico.

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Tales of Mystery and Imagination

" Tales of Mystery and Imagination es un blog sin ánimo de lucro cuyo único fin consiste en rendir justo homenaje
a los escritores de terror, ciencia-ficción y fantasía del mundo. Los derechos de los textos que aquí aparecen pertenecen a cada autor.

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