Crocodile Tale, fiction by M. Glyde

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“THE TAIL HAS been in my family since—well no one knows who got it first. You might get it, you might not. When my wela’s husband got too deep in the bottle, she grew one, little by little…”

Engraving by A.-Collaert c.1600 Creative Commons Attribution 4. International Wellcome.

Engraving by A.-Collaert c.1600 Creative Commons Attribution 4. International Wellcome.

(Crocodile Tale won an honorable mention in our 2015 New Voices Contest.)

I.

MY SISTER HELENA had invaded my house: a dripping coffee pot, an ash tray only she had used, the rug that she brought from her trip to our wela’s in Mexico City, a chocolate love seat she gave me when she won a new couch, and a vase-full fake flowers, one from every Valentine’s Day for the last twenty years. Before, I hadn’t noticed. But now her ten-year-old daughter was coming to stay.

My doorbell rang. Down the walkway came the niece with the crocodile tail. The wide thing swept from under her shirt, natural as anything, and dragged on the ground. It knocked out a window pane on the door, and I felt nostalgic. Read more »

A Review of Dreams from the Witch House: Female Voices of Lovecraftian Horror, edited by Lynne Jamneck, illustrated by Daniele Serra

by Paul StJohn Mackintosh

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Deliciously Dark Distaff Dreams

Fruit of a successful Indiegogo campaign, Dreams from the Witch House: Female Voices of Lovecraftian Horror, demonstrates, as Lynne Jamneck says in her editor’s introduction, that “some of the most exciting Lovecraftian fiction is currently being written by women,” and highly eminent women at that. Joyce Carol Oates’s subtle yet unrelenting opening story, “Shadows of the Evening,” whose central conceit could equally have come out of one of Edith Wharton or Vernon Lee’s dark tales, fits perfectly well into the realm of Lovecraftian horror in the Asenath Whateley, Charles Dexter Ward sense that Oates alludes to in her own notes to the story.

That’s not to say that any reader looking for the more customary tentacular thrills will be disappointed. Caitlin R. Kiernan’s “Our Lady of Arsia Mons” and “The Wreck of the Charles Dexter Ward” by Elizabeth Bear & Sarah Monette, or Tamsyn Muir’s “The Woman in the Hill,” to highlight but a few, are there to demonstrate that these authors can do a mean turn in straight Cthulhoid monstrous horror, while the former two’s sci-fi and the latter’s New Zealand troglodytic anomalies show quite enough imaginative originality to earn their place in the expanded Lovecraftian canon. (Kiernan’s story is one of the first I’ve seen to use the Henry Clews sculptures cited, spuriously, as inspirations for the Cthulhu idols.) Read more »

Review of You Have Never Been Here: New and Selected Stories by Mary Rickert

Review by William Grabowski

you-have-never-been-here-by-mary-rickertNone Of This Is About You, And It Never Was.

Stories from Mary Rickert‘s new collection have garnered the Shirley Jackson and World Fantasy awards, and after reading the opening “Memoir of a Deer Woman,” one understands why. Rickert is a writer possessed of—or by—a hypersensitive, yet unsentimental empathy which evokes in the reader waves and surges of emotion. The most visceral of these—rage, despair, grief—often are signified by their very absence in the characters, whose compulsions and verbal smoke-screens nonetheless reveal (as in our lives) their presence.

Rickert’s fiction has been compared to Kelly Link’s, and that’s fair enough, but Rickert’s explorations of the mythic, despite occasional playfulness and absurdity associated with magical realism and slipstream, hit the reader in a different, more painful place. “Journey into the Kingdom” exemplifies this, its story-within-a-story framed by a young man in a coffee shop reading an Artist’s Statement shelved beneath some paintings. Read more »

The Lost Books Of The Painter’s Wife, fiction by Diane Glancy

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“In travel ideas form. I have to be moving. The same as the brush over the canvas until words cover the page. This is a journal. This is not a journal. Always in travel the spirits struck.”

 

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“The Vladimirka” by Isaac Levitan, 1892

Footnote [2]

I woke with a dream. I was a child standing on the floorboard of the back seat. Looking at the passing land. The land flat and passing slow. The land all glorious just coming out of winter. Yet it was browned. The trees without leaves. The white flowering of others. What makes sense in a dream? I was in a different land. A past land. A place I had traveled as a child. The memory tucked away like a kerchief in a drawer. A moving over the land I always loved. The moving more than the staying. The going somewhere. The house where we were going to. Someone in it. I do not care who. Only the moving to get there. That is what I want to see. The brush moving with us in the distance leaving evidence. The way a chicken drops a feather. The smell of wood smoke on the air. The dusty road. Dryness a form of parole. Look at them. Anointed with plainness. This is your car. This is where it will take you. A bowl of land. A cloth of linseed oil. Read more »

Cabinet of Wonders: Cosmic Jazz, Gender Norms & A Culinary Circus

Reviews of weird fiction on the web, by Lauren Colie

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“La tiare d’argent” by Fernand Khnopff, 1911, public domain

Cosmic Jazz, Gender Norms & A Culinary Circus

There’s something in the Cabinet for everyone this week (but be ready to have your reality challenged). Find God in music, find perspective on gender and find yourself in the center ring of a performance good enough to eat. Broaden your mind, broaden your assumptions – heck, broaden your palate.

 

A Review of The Rest is Noise by Nicholas Kaufmann at Nightmare Magazine

He tapped the Play icon and closed his eyes.

As Indigo’s trumpet began to blare in his ears and he drifted away, some renegade part of him wondered how many times he’d listened to the album now. He’d lost count.

He wondered what day of the week it was. He’d lost track.

But most of all, he wondered what those things were that had begun growing out of his back.

Read more »

Open for Submissions & New Voices Contest 2016!

Hans_Baluschek_Allegorie auf den Tod, 2002

Allegorie auf den Tod, by Hans Baluschek 2002

Greetings Readers, Writers and Lovers of Strange Stories

After a busy summer touring with the Metaphysical Circus to distant points both on and off the map, we’re back and gearing up for issues three and four of See the Elephant Magazine.

We are currently accepting open submissions, and running a very special New Voices contest for indigenous writers. Learn more here.

In the meantime, we’ll continue to entertain you with more free stories from Issue Two, and new book reviews highlighting the best in weird, slipstream and literary fantastic books by diverse and brilliant authors here at See the Elephant Online.

Follow the Circus

If you haven’t already, now is the perfect time to sign up for our newsletter. We’ll send you links to new stories, reviews and news once a week, and you’ll get See the Elephant, Issue One free!

 

As always, we remain deeply grateful for your support.

Melanie Lamaga, editor in chief.