Memorial Day in the Slipstream

Fresnaye_conquest_of_air (2)

“The Conquest of Air” by Roger de La Fresnaye, 1913, public domain

Dear Readers,

Since issue two of See the Elephant Magazine features stories about love and war, it seems appropriate to say a few words in honor of Memorial Day this year. I have not been to war, myself, but from what I’ve heard and read from veterans, being in a war zone can be a surreal experience, full of intense impressions, emotions, and events that may not conform to the orderly flow of cause and effect or linear time.

People have been going to war throughout recorded history and either dying or coming back inalterably changed, carrying burdens difficult to describe, let alone manage. Therefore, weird and slipstream stories by and about war and veterans are doubly important: they are in the unique position to explore the horror and beauty that defy tidy, rational explanation and easy resolution.

So, for your Memorial Day reading, I am honored to offer another war story from issue two, Love & War in the Slipstream, “Fairview 619,” by Rebecca Schwarz. It joins two others already up on the web, “Court Marshall of Samuel James Wilson,” by Frederick K. Foote, Jr., and “Summon Up The Blood,” by Michael Canfield.

You can also click here to purchase the whole magazine in ebook or PDF format for only $2.99, either from us or from your favorite retailer. Every sale supports the future of this magazine!

 

With Gratitude,

Melanie Lamaga

.

 

Fairview 619, fiction by Rebecca Schwarz

*

“The whole point is to train it, not program it. Anyone can buy a programmable house. This place has to be more intuitive, flexible, responsive. It’s not a ‘Smart Home’ it’s—”

“A partner. I know.”

Photo © Chakikas

Photo © Chakikas

(This story originally appeared in Revolution SF, 2012.) 

THE HOUSE IS quiet but not empty. Maybe an hour before sunrise, one of my favorite times. While the system preference is to monitor all cameras simultaneously, I prefer to run them in sequence, as if on patrol. I move through the living room, check the ambient temperature and bring it up a couple degrees.

Beyond the patio, the surface of the pool is as smooth as a plate of glass, like I could walk across it. If I could walk. The boy’s towel still hunches on one of the chairs where he dropped it. I try to picture the woman’s face. It’s a little game I play while she and her husband sleep upstairs on their high, firm mattress. The grass sparkles with dew under the security light. If I had feet, they would feel cool and wet. I look out over the cedar privacy fence. All is quiet. Read more »

Summon Up The Blood, fiction by Michael Canfield

*

“The film. On Curtis’s boots. I mixed it with another compound. But forget that. Don’t you get it? We passed the test. The next stage of evolution begins. The extraterrestrials have arrived!”

Collage by Sophia Hermes

Collage by Sophia Hermes

THE WHITE-HAIRED OFFICER, standing outside his prowler, pressed his red thumb down on the button. “Negro male, approximately twenty-five years old.”

“I’m black,” said Curtis. “Try saying it. California won’t fall in the ocean.”

A crowd had gathered at the edge of Golden Gate Park. Haight-Ashbury was not police territory, it was flower-child space, and the officer eyed the escalating situation. His partner—younger, brasher—was considering the nightstick that Curtis spotted inside the prowler. The stick didn’t worry Curtis personally, but if it came out—well, that wouldn’t do anyone any good. Read more »

Cabinet of Wonders: Buicks, Aliens & Schrödinger’s Cat

Reviews of weird fiction of the web, by Lauren Colie

street art, giraffe, creative commons

Girafas 7 by Arteen, from Arte en la Calle (licensed under creative commons 2.0)

Buicks, Aliens & Schrödinger’s Cat

We dip into the weird parts of science fiction for this week’s Cabinet: it’s Schrödinger’s cat in all its glory. Is your girlfriend alive or dead? Does the pond have a bottom or is it a portal to elsewhere? Is the being on the other side of the doorway friend or foe? Unfortunately (or fortunately) we won’t know the outcome until we look (results may vary, of course). Stretch your mind with these quantum fancies, and don’t forget that seeing isn’t always believing…sometimes, believing is seeing.

 

A Review of “The Knobby Giraffe” by Rudy Rucker at Lightspeed Magazine

I focus on dead Shirley Chen. I’m running on automatic, with a chain of syllogisms pouring forth from the monad that is me. That shiny egg I birthed—obviously I should open it. With a single motion of my will, I form a hatchet in my hand. My cosmic, ten-symbol Monadrule is engraved on one side of the blade. Read more »

Girl In Satin Watering Rhododendron Bush, fiction by Rose Wednesday

*

Mary wondered if Henry’s skin glistened like a snail in this heat. She had no romantic delusions about him—which caused her to wonder whether all her romantic fantasies were, in fact, just pure mercenary convenience, a kind of extravagant prostitution…

Ewel 32 edited_web

“Spring Woman” © Ewel 32

from An Unnatural History of Humans in Love

 

FROM HIS TRAVELS overseas, Bert Cabell (of the esteemed Richmond Cabells, who had given so much of themselves to the city that they barely knew where they ended and the city began) had learned how to dance, swear, comport himself in the best and worst company, and speak both French and German. However, it was in Virginia that he learned how to paint, and painted (at the end of a short and shabby career) his first and last masterpiece. Read more »

They Got Louie, fiction by F. Brett Cox

*

“How many times have we been told, since practically we were born, ‘Don’t eat the green shit. It smells good, it tastes better, but don’t fucking eat the green shit.”

illustration F. Brett Cox's story They Got Louie

Illustration from Athanasius Kircher’s La Chine, c. 1600s

“DID YOU HEAR?” Ralph said.

“What?” Eddie said.

“They got Louie.”

“No!”

“Yeah.”

“Those fucks.”

“I know.”

Those murderous fucks.”

“I know.”

“How?”

“They put out the green shit.” Read more »

Cabinet of Wonders: Mechanized Mothering, Playground Patrols & Hell

Reviews of weird fiction on the web, by Lauren Colie

Bank, 1911

vintage photo, public domain

Mechanized Mothering, Playground Patrols & Hell

Little kids creep me out. There’s something extra…other…about them. I think they have one foot in this world and one toe still dipped in what lies beyond. These three short stories will help you start to lift the veil on the secrets hidden in our youngest citizens. Plug in your nightlight, lock the doors, and, whatever you do, don’t think about The Shining.

 

A Review of “Michael Doesn’t Hate His Mother” by Marie Vibbert at Lightspeed Magazine

Michael thinks about telling someone his mother has turned into a malfunctioning machine. The last adult he tried to tell just said, “You are lucky to have a mother who cares about you.” This is about the same thing the school guidance counselor said, too. He wonders what other kids are saying about their mothers that what he says doesn’t sound strange. Read more »