Category Archives: Cicada Survival Guide

I, Cicada

My name is Troma. I am a commanding queen of this year’s crusaders of Brood II periodical cicadas. To the untrained eye, I look just like my countless minions. But if you ever see me up close, you will notice that I have striking red wings. When fluttering, they look like splattering blood.

For my minions, digging their way up through the ground and becoming airborne has been a fairytale. After seventeen years of subterranean living, dreaming the same dream every day, they finally got to see it come true. They went into their molting as mere ugly crawling bugs but come out as truly hideous flying cicadas.

For me, it had to be done with flair. I crawled onto a snarly branch of a tall tree, wove myself an orange cocoon, invited my childhood friend Popo inside and sealed the cocoon. Then I metamorphosed.

When I awoke, my cocoon was a translucent globe, basking in the warm sun. Every inch of my exoskeleton felt vibrant and elastic. Instead of those embarrassingly chubby diggers, I now had three pairs of elegant legs. And the sense of levitation was surreal. But for the feathery touch between my virgin feet and the silky inside of my cocoon, there was hardly any reminder of gravity.

My body had acquired a shiny patina. What had been my bumpy scapulae were now crisp wings. By my feet, as I had suspected, laid the carcass of Popo, mummified. Her beady red eyes had lost their glistening glamour. She had been my last meal. I had sucked every last bit of her hemolymph with abandon, slurping loudly as a great queen nymph should.

It had to be done. It’s been done that way for thousands of years and will continue to be done that way for thousands more. A queen nymph must feed on a seventeen-year-old female nymph, to mark her metamorphosis.

***

God created periodical cicadas as an ascetic species. As nymphs, our tubular bodies are decorated with annuli that mark the shell stretching we have to endure in our subterranean years. When a nymph has acquired seventeen rings on his or her body, he or she is ready to dig upward and follow the cicada dream.

I had seventeen rings. But unlike the nondescript amber rings ubiquitous on cicada nymphs, mine were exquisitely green, like tomato vines. That rare hue was my badge of honor for cannibalism.

I was not born a cannibal. If I were, would I ever have had a childhood friend? I can’t fully explain how I had managed to keep my sucker off Popo for seventeen long years. But I was a queen nymph, poised to become a cicada queen and to command a million-cicada army. Following the example of my fellow great rulers in the animal kingdom, I sometimes behave unpredictably on purpose, just to inspire fear in my subjects. I kept Popo alive because I wanted to be unpredictable. Also, I had always wondered how she would taste when she was seventeen.

***

I am named Troma after the deadly venom that invaded and commandeered me when I was a baby nymph. The cicada in me and the venom in me have since thrived in symbiosis. All queen nymphs are chosen by Troma.

The venom comes to possess a chosen female nymph by way of a fungal spore. I do not know where I came into bodily contact with a Troma fungus. There was no sting. No pain. No lesion. Not even a visible patch of moisture or slime. But the tenacious fungal virus infected my body one day.

I felt it the next day. I was ravenously hungry, but I had no more appetite for tree milk. When the soil cooled down at night, a sharp itch shot through me, head to tail. And it would repeat throughout the night.

The itch would turn into a subtle pain and, as the days went by, into a sharp one. I was starved and terrified as I witnessed my shell hardening into armor and my sucker sharpening into a dagger.

Then I came to terms with Troma when she became my brain, and I her soil. I realized that I would simply die if I went on fasting.

From then on, I burrowed around and hunted for the most odorous female nymphs. I feasted on their gooey innards and slept with their corpses. A piece of advice from Troma: To learn to rule is to learn to kill.

All male nymphs will become male cicadas one day. The moment they crawl out of their nymph shells after molting and start to fly, there will be only one thing on their mind: Mating. They will rush toward where there is female scent, in the most reckless fashion.

With the behemoth female scent I possess, I have begotten myself an army of shrieking, sex-crazed kamakazes.

***

Through the hole I licked to escape my cocoon, I hear the buzzing of male cicadas already swarming in heat. Obviously, the intensity of my scent drives them insane. The smellier a female cicada, the more desirable she is.

As I dive into the open air, dazzled by the sun and chased by an army of brilliantly winged male cicadas, I realize that I have truly become the mythical cicada queen.

I beguile my army of suitors along an uncharted path, bouncing through rays of sunlight in the forest.

It is all part of the deal, I think to myself. At a pit stop atop a tree, I let the winner of the long chase rest upon me and fertilize the first batch of eggs in my belly. Every cicada queen before me has left a long trail of dead female nymphs.

I dive into the sky again. This time, I lead the my army into a low cruise just above the ground. Such a stunt invites cicadas in the nearby trees to join, male and female alike. If my fleet has started as a flying carpet in the sky, now it looks like a black tornado twister menacing the land.

Straight ahead, a honeycomb-shaped human abode stands taller than the tallest tree, and wide as a hill. I lead my army in a reconnaissance circle around it. When we try to approach the humans, I see them react with melodramatic facial expressions and wild gesticulations. And many of my suitors crash into the invisible shields the humans have placed in the shell of their abode.

But I find an opening near the ground in the shell. Hundreds of thousands of cicadas faithfully follow me into a long, dark tunnel.

This is a gamble. But there is a great chance that we can come in contact with the humans.

Once we get inside, we need to find our way up. All the humans we have seen seem to be perched on higher levels of the abode.

To trust myself is to trust Troma.

M. Eigh Interviews with CicadaPhobia

Lori Milani, a.k.a. “CicadaPhobia,” has been featured in a WashingtonPost special on Cicada on May 18. (http://bit.ly/109Q621) Lori did an extensive interview with the M. Eigh on May 30. For those who are interested in how the book “The Cicada Survival Guide” was conceived, please hop over CicadaPhobia’s site and read the interview. (http://bit.ly/11dWdQO)

An Amazon TOP 500 REVIEWER Reviews The Cicada Survival Guide

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I woke up to some blessing this morning. Robin Lee, who wears Amazon’s coveted “TOP 500 REVIEWER” badge, has read “The Cicada Survival Guide” and given it a professional review. You can see the book’s review page here: http://amzn.to/10Vk4lc.

Robin said the following about the book:

top_reviews

“Biological Weapons”

This author wrote an excellent novella in a unique way..It is a mixed recipe, of an escaped man made virus, government conspiracy, cover-ups, and the emergence of Brood II….Which Scientists predict this year, the Cicadas will be in colossal numbers….It’s not just a survival guide, but a possible real depiction of an ecological disaster…This story is dark humor, intriguing, gross, thought provoking and real horrifying….The characters could have been fleshed out more but for this part of the story they are not the main point……Each new chapter is told from the characters view point…..

Through the yrs a biological infectious agent has seeped into the fungus of the trees…The Cicadas have been feeding off this for 17 dormant years….It has been named “Troma” and the bugs are brand new mutations, that Americans are unaware of…This new species smells the scent of blood and seeks it out…If you have a open cut, you better hide, because this is a blood born pathogen of death….The symptoms are: severe itchiness, complete disintegration of your body, eventually takes command of your brain and drives you insane….It takes 72 hrs for the full effect….
This is not a zombie novel because the infected don’t reanimate, they just become deadly killers in every way….

Warning: If you see a large Cicada with bright red blood colored metallic wings, instead of their green ones, you better run fast…..

This novel was just excellent.I hope this author thinks about continuing this as a series for the summer it has really great potential..I personally would like to see a Part 2 and 3……


Free Book on Amazon: The Cicada Survival Guide

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Any day now, billions of winged insects will rise up and swarm over the entire East Coast? Are we ready?

Troma is ready for us. She’s been underground for 17 years, while inside of her a deadly virus is slowly turning this queen cicada into a cannibalistic mastermind with one goal: To infect the human race.

It’s them against us in this fun sci-fi novella, which also includes the adventures of a CIA agent, Russian counterspy and unlucky FBI officer as they battle the swarm. Recipes are included for those inclined to culinary adventure.

Thank you for your consideration. Info about the book is here http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CNKZ0GO.

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About the author:

M. Eigh was born in China and, before getting an MBA, he received a BSc from China’s prestigious Tsinghua University, where most modern day Chinese ruling elites obtain their academic pedigree. But the alma mater is about the only thing he has in common with the techno-dictators of today’s China.

In his younger days, M. Eigh was a published poet in Chinese; at the age of fifteen, he won the first-place award in a prefecture-wide youth literature competition. He can be found at http://m.eigh.com.

He’s on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/by.m.eigh.

He tweets at: https://twitter.com/m_eigh

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Readers say:

“This author wrote an excellent novella in a unique way.”

“creepy fun with spy overtones.”

“I survived, and I want to read more!”

“Gripping plot!”

“Such an interesting story.”

“Waiting For Part 2 & 3, If Available…”

Charity Starts from a Deep Pocket

In his 2010 People’s Choice Awards acceptance speech, Keith Urban blared out: “I don’t even care if you guys download my music illegally. I really don’t care. …”

At the time when I heard it on TV, I was quite impressed. After all, what connects him and his fans or audience is the music they all love. He was extending his charity to people on the worng side of the moral divide, to people who stole from him. It’s noblesse oblige.

It also reflected wisdom. After all, people who are hell-bent to steal will steal. People who can’t afford to pay have to steal. There are also people who can afford to buy, but given the chance to steal, may opt to steal. Sometimes, you just have to turn a blind eye on things. You can’t take what what’s right and what’s wrong too seriously. There is an ancient Chinese saying: If a body of water is purified, no fish can survive in it; if a man is morally viglant to the extreme, he has no firends. Keith Urban’s got it. Or as the buddhists may put it: he has seen it through.

It all sounded good to me, until today. I googled my own name “M. Eigh” this morning and a dozen piracy sites popped up, offering torrents(peer-hosted free downloads) of my books. “The Cicada Survival Guide,” “Bitter Tea and Braided Hair” and “Revolution Is a Dinner Party — Rogue Pluralism in China” are all in the offer. That’s when I realized that Keith Urban’s nonchalance comes at a steep sticker price. And when it is you who have to pay that price, it is not easy to feel as charitable as Mr. Keith Urban.

I’m not a rich man. Far from it. I could use the sales that have been lost to those free download. On the other hand, some of those who download my books free are from China, where a mere $2.99 translates to about ¥20 which is more than what a regular trade paperback book costs in China. Plus, due to government censorship, these books are not available in regular online market places like Amazon. And yet plus again, most Chinese do not have a foreign bank issued credit card and are not able to pay for foreign online purchases. Those are people who would never buy my books. For what it is worth, I am mighty glad that they get a chance to download and read them.

Against this backdrop, I’ve come to appreciate more the $0.99 or $2.99 they spent on my books. When they buy a book by M. Eigh, they are not only engaging in a generous act, but also a righteous one. To those who have ever purchased my books (the ebooks online and the paperbacks in Metro stations and parks,) I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Check out my humble Amazon author page when you get a chance: http://www.amazon.com/author/meigh

The Silver Lining of a Swarmageddon: Cicadas Are Perfectly Edible

Well, the full title of this post should be “The Silver Lining of a Swarmageddon for a Third World Country.” According to a White Paper released by UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), insects are perfectly edible and should make up a good portion of mankind’s diet. If everyone in America substitutes a beef burger with a handful of insects once a month, our collective carbon footprint will be reduced by a whopping 5%! (Not an official statistics, just my own guesstimate. )

The FAO report, entitled “Edible insects: Future prospects for food and feed security” and available online at http://www.fao.org/docrep/018/i3253e/i3253e.pdf, unequivocally lists cicada as one of the premium choice of an insect diet. On page fifteen of the report, it states, under the heading of “The role of insects”:

(Many more recipes are offered in The Cicada Survival Guide.)

It is estimated that insects form part of the traditional diets of at least 2 billion people. More than 1 900 species have reportedly been used as food. Insects deliver a host of ecological services that are fundamental to the survival of humankind. They also play an important role as pollinators in plant reproduction, in improving soil fertility through waste bioconversion,and in natural biocontrol for harmful pest species, and they provide a variety of valuable products for humans such as honey and silk and medical applications such as maggot therapy.

In addition, insects have assumed their place in human cultures as collection items and ornaments and in movies, visual arts and literature. Globally, the most commonly consumed insects are beetles (Coleoptera) (31 percent), caterpillars (Lepidoptera) (18 percent) and bees, wasps and ants (Hymenoptera) (14 percent). Following these are grasshoppers, locusts and crickets (Orthoptera) (13 percent), cicadas, leafhoppers, planthoppers, scale insects andtrue bugs (Hemiptera) (10 percent), termites (Isoptera) (3 percent), dragonflies (Odonata) (3 percent), flies (Diptera) (2 percent) and other orders (5 percent).

The FAO report is literally littered with the word “cicada”, “cicadas” and “cicadidae.” Apparently, in many countries or regions, cicadas constitute part of people’s regular diet. The report cites Lao People’s Democratic Republic, island of New Guinea as examples of places where people eat cicadas. The report even showcases the “diversity” of insects that go into people’s diet in the Central African Republic, where cicadas and crickets, along with some minor bugs, constitute a whopping 8% of their insectile diet.

Now that we’ve got the “are cicadas really safe to eat” question out of the way, it’s time to get prepared for the sarmageddon. As Confucius says, if you can’t beat ‘em, eat ‘em!

Tomorrow, I will post a killer cicada recipe. Or you can check out the many fascinating cicada recipes recorded in my Sci Fi novella, “The Cicada Survival Guide,” now on sale on Amazon.

M. Eigh

Cicada Recipe: Cicada Poppers

Serves four.

Ingredients:
•    1 & 1/2 cups cicadas, peeled and cleaned
•    2 eggs, beaten
•    1 cup cornstarch
•    1/2 cup panko (Japanese) bread crumbs
•    3 cups vegetable oil

(Many more recipes are offered in The Cicada Survival Guide.)

Directions:
•    Place the cornstarch, eggs and bread crumbs in separate containers. Coat the cicadas with cornstarch; then eggs, then bread crumbs.
•    In a deep frying pan or wok, heat oil to about 400°(if the oil starts to smoke, you’ve heated it to too high a temperature.) Fry coated cicadas in few batches, for 5 minutes or until golden brown each. Drain on paper towels.

Serving:
Serve the poppers with ketchup or cocktail sauce.



(Many more recipes are offered in The Cicada Survival Guide.)

Cicada Recipe: Double Sauteed Nymphs

The young cicada nymphs harvested mid-molting offer the most tender texture and deserve a cooking method that best preserves their natural moisture and injects a balanced blend of flavor.
What can better achieve that end than the double sauté method?

(Many more recipes are offered in The Cicada Survival Guide.)

Cookware: This dish is first parboiled in a deep pot and then fried in a wok.

Serves four.

Ingredients:
·    1 tablespoon of sake or cooking wine of any type
·    2 tablespoons of canola or other type of vegetable oil
·    6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
·    1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root.
·    1 thumb-sized fresh ginger root. Flatten it between two cutting boards, or simply smash it flat with a cleaver
·    2 cups large cicada nymphs, peeled and cleaned
·    1/2 cup soy sauce.
·    1 tablespoon brown sugar
·    1 teaspoon rice vinegar
·    1 tablespoon Chinese miso or Japanese miso paste
·    2 stalks finely chopped leeks

Directions:
·    Place flattened ginger root in a deep soup pot. Add two quarts of water and bring to a boil. Place cicada nymphs into the boiling water, turn down the fire to low and let the pot simmer for 5 minutes. Drain when done. Caution: Never put any salt in the pot, as salt will dehydrate the nymphs and rob them of their natural moisture.
·    Heat the vegetable oil in a wok, then add the minced ginger and chopped garlic. Add soy sauce and give the mix a good swirl and stir before you add in the drained nymphs.
·    Add sake or cooking wine and keep stirring over high heat. Add brown sugar and vinegar and stir. Finally, add miso paste and stir vigorously.
·    Add chopped leeks and stir for 30 seconds.

Serving:
Double sautéed nymphs go well with brown or white rice, cuscus, quinoa, nan or roti.
Enhancement tips:
Double sautéed nymphs can be easily spiced up when placed onto individual serving plates. Simply sprinkle Japanese Nichimi Togarashi (seven-flavor spice) to taste.
Double sautéed nymphs go well with pretty much all alcoholic beverages.

check out many other cicada recipes in The Cicada Survival Guide.


The Cicadas Are Coming!

The cicadas are coming. Brood II Periodical Cicadas are coming!

A swarm of Brood II cicadas brought down an elevator in an apartment building, turned a Secret Service agent into a murderer, attacked a CIA agent on the steps of the Capital Hill … More importantly, they were carriers of something lethal.

Do you want to know why the government has launched a massive aerial insecticide spray in an attempt to wipe the cicadas out? Do you even know how to defend yourself with taser shakes? If you don’t, better pick up a copy of “The Cicada Survival Guide” today.

For those brave enough, a victory can be celebrated with a feast on these bugs. Delicious and battle-tested cicada recipes included!

Pick up a survival guide today.

Cicada horrors and delicious cicada recipes go really well in this book!