Cabinet of Wonders: Star Maidens, Spores & The Singularity

Cabinet of Curiosities by Francken

web fiction reviews by Lauren Colie

This week’s reading has got me feeling funny…and sad…and wistful…and sort of floaty. And weird, of course. Let these writers take you on a trip. Whether it’s to the moon and back or infinity and beyond, we’ve got you covered.

A Review of The Star Maiden, by Roshani Choksi at Shimmer Magazine

I already knew what she would say. To anyone who would listen, she would tell them the tale of how she had floated down from the heavens to a secluded forest pool and how, there, my grandfather had fallen in love, captured her, and wedded her shortly thereafter…

Tala grew up believing Lola’s stories, calmly accepting her grandmother was a star maiden who fell in love with a mortal. But, puberty brings great changes — and great doubt. Read more »

They End Up In Space, fiction by J. August__


What happens when you mix a masochistic homophobe, hipsters, a Nova with a souped up alien engine, and a penis shaped art gallery? Read this first place winner in our New Voices Contest to find out.

"They End Up in Space" illustration by Natalie DeMenthon

Illustration © Natalie DeMenthon

Primo Halifax

Primo steps out of the Nova’s passenger seat onto the asphalt, pausing to hunch and kiss the sweet, rubbery crease of the doorframe. He kisses the car with reverence, with appreciation, such an exhilarating ride. He shuts the door and smiles, eyes closed. Thank you, Chevrolet. He walks around the trunk and waits for Eileen to extract Pancreas from the backseat. Pancreas. It is okay; it is fine. They do not have to talk at all. Art galleries are similar to libraries anyway, correct? His hands dive into his pockets, finding solace inside those pant-folds, thumbing at the wooden prayer beads and weaving a couple of fingers through the string.

Eileen steps back from the car and Pancreas jumps out of the cramped backseat. Pancreas shakes his legs out and turns, looks at him, those eyebrows. Primo squeezes the prayer beads. Read more »

At the Huts of Ajala, fiction by Nisi Shawl

“The main difference is her head. Or the lack of it; her head is not there. In its place are rays of shimmering light that stream down from a luminous ball floating nearly a foot above the stem of her graceful neck.”


Colors of the Mind © Ags AndrewTHEY ALL KEEP CALLING her a “two-headed woman.” Loanna wants to know why, so after the morning callers leave, she decides on asking her Iya. When she was little, the other kids used to call her “four-eyes.” But this is different, said with respect by grown adults.

She finds the comb and hair-grease on the bureau in the room where she’s been sleeping. When she left Cleveland three days ago, it was winter. Now she steps out onto the wrought-iron balcony, and it’s spring. Her first visit, on her own, to the Crescent City, New Orleans, drowning home of her mother’s kin.

Iya sits in her wicker chair, waiting. She is a tall woman, even seated, and she’s dressed all in white: white headscarf, white blouse, white skirt with matching belt, white stockings and tennis shoes, and a white cardigan, too, which she removes now that the day has warmed. She shifts her feet apart, and Loanna drops to sit between them. Read more »