Cabinet of Wonders, 4.18.15

Cabinet of Curiosities, See the Elephant Magazine

S. Watson’s American Museum of Living Curiosities
British Library, via Museum of Hoaxes

Web fiction reviews by Lauren Colie

April is showering talent down upon us. With the dreary weather comes a flood of memories, emotion and even a circus tent. In this cabinet collection you’ll find heart-wrenching lost love, chest-tightening found love and deep-breath-before-the-plunge decisions about the future. Let these stories wash over you with innovative ideas and carefully-crafted emotional content.

A Review of Ishq, by Usman Malik at Nightmare Magazine

I looked at my mother’s still form in the gloom. There is an Urdu word which has no English equivalent: Ishq. Means the state of a lover’s heart during separation, contemplation, or annihilation unto the lover. The point where the lover becomes the beloved. Sometimes it also means nostalgia for a love forever gone and the love which remains after death.

Battling with cancer, our narrator’s mother is eager to share all of her memories from growing up in Pakistan. One story centers around her sister, crippled by polio, and the handsome shakarkandi vendor who refuses to leave her side, even in death. Amma explores her past feelings and exorcises the ghost of Parveen through sharing the tale. Read more »

Contest & Open Submissions Update, 4.11.15

Metaphysical Circus Press, See the Elephant Magazine

The Unicorn Is Found, tapestry, ca. 1495–1505
Southern Netherlands

Greetings Esteemed Writers and Readers

from Melanie Lamaga, publisher/ed. in chief

Since mid-January the ringmasters and performers here at MCP have been hard at work raising the tents and preparing the stage for our first issue of See the Elephant Magazine. In other words, we’ve been reading submissions and contest entries — lots of them.

I’m pleased to announce that we are in the final round of selections now, and are on track to notify everyone of our decisions by May 1 ( May Day, appropriately enough, that ancient celebration of fertility and spring where those so inclined dance naked around a pole. Ahem. But I digress.)

Some might say that finding good stories in a deluge of unsolicited submissions and a contest for new writers is as difficult as finding a unicorn, but that hasn’t happened here at the circus. In fact, I am happily wading in a pool of stories so fine that it humbles and amazes me. The only shadow on the horizon is the prospect of having to turn away stories that I truly admire, for lack of funds to buy them all.

The level of quality that we’ve received, even as a brand new magazine, confirms the conviction that lead me to found this press: we are in a renaissance of literature in the fantastic modes. Of course, I’m sure the quality of submissions is helped by the fact that we are paying writers pro rates, but that, too, is as it should be. Writing well is very hard work, and all of us need to eat.

In closing, I would like to thank everyone who submitted their work to us. You’ll be hearing from us soon, if you haven’t already. We truly appreciate your participation and hope that you will continue writing (and reading) these kinds of stories. There is a need for literature that explores the unreality of reality, and the reality of unreality. We  invite you to continue traveling with the circus on its metaphysical journey and engage with us via social media. We want to hear from you!

Follow the Circus and once a week we’ll send you some beautiful strange: notice of open submission periods & contests, reviews, new books and giveaways, and more. Your information will never be shared and you can unsubscribe anytime.

Weird Pairings: Borges + Tiger, River, Flame

Borges Quote plus image, sharebable by Metaphysical Circus Press

The Quote:  “Time is a river which carries me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger that devours me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire that consumes me, but I am the fire. ”

Borges battled the notion of time both in his fiction, such as “The Garden of Forking Paths” and in philosophical essays such as, “A New Refutation of Time,” where he proposes that idealism may be applied to time. In other words, that reality as we perceive it is fundamentally mental or spiritual, not physical.

The Image: Collage by Sophia Hermes. “The tiger is reflected in the river. Can we truthfully say that one is more real than the other? The flame emerges from the water, a union of opposites, an impossibility that hints at realities beyond.”


Cabinet of Wonders, 4.4.15

Cabinet of Wonders, Metaphysical Circus Press

Cabinet of Wonders with Owl and Cat, by Rowan Randol

Web fiction reviews, by Lauren Colie

Today, take comfort in stories your grandmother might tell. Fables, folklore and fairy tales that dance tantalizingly beyond the real fill the cabinet. A little classic, a lot creepy and certainly worth sharing, check these out for short spurts of nostalgia.

A Review of The Good Son, by Naomi Kritzer at Lightspeed Magazine

One night the bus was late, and I thought about making a door to Minneapolis. What am I doing riding around on a bus like a mortal? I am Fey. I don’t need to do this.

And then a darker echo of the thought. I am Fey. I don’t need to do any of this. Read more »