Cabinet of Wonders: Labyrinths, Lambchops & Mariachis

From the Victor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, London 2014

Photo courtesy of the Victor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, London, 2014

web fiction reviews by Lauren Colie

Today, we redefine normal. Each of these slice-of-life accounts challenges your own reality by introducing you to someone else’s. Approach with an open mind, and you just might learn something grand.

In Libres, by Elizabeth Bear at Uncanny Magazine

“Please don’t feed the books. Some of them will beg.”

“Beg?”

“Everybody wants something,” the Librarian said. “It’s the metric for a successful story.”

What these best buddies want is a very rare book, housed deep within the library’s special collections. Eu’s adviser thinks this last source will really seal the deal on her thesis—but is it worth the journey through the shifting shelves to get it?  In this labyrinth, you really could kill yourself with your studies.

Bear redefines normal in this whimsical account of your average student searching for the perfect source. Have some food for thought if you’re sitting on an unfinished dissertation…this one gives a compelling reason to get it done!

Read it HERE

 

Mariachi, by Juan Villoro at Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading

I only stayed in therapy because my therapist was a fan. He knew all of my songs (the songs I sing: I haven’t written any), and he thought it extremely interesting that I was there, with my famous voice, saying I’m fucking fed up with ranchera music.

For El Gallito de Jojutla, his normal is unfulfilling. He hates being a mariachi. He questions his path. He questions women. He questions his penis. This little slice of weird challenges fame and image, stardom and sadness.

Villoro paints a sympathetic picture of a poor soul struggling through his uncertainties. Step outside yourself and take a peek at what it’s like to be a reluctantly successful mariachi singer.

Read it HERE

 

The Lamb Chops, by Stephen Cox at Lightspeed Magazine

“I wanted chops,” said Harry, tired and wet and cold and hungry. Thanks for the effort. You were late three days ago and I cooked for you, although I was exhausted.

Aiden tilted his head to show his throat a tad, held up paws palms out, claws retracted.

“I ate them. I was very hungry and I thought, I’d just have mine now. And I ate all of them without thinking. Sorry.” His emerald and gold eyes pleaded, but Harry wasn’t feeling forgiving.

After a long, trying day, Harry just wants to come home to a hot meal cooked by his loving partner…not an empty fridge. His unusual partner is apologetic, of course, but when you’re hungry sometimes sorry doesn’t cut it.

Cox lets us peep into this lover’s quarrel to remind us a little patience goes a long way and there are still happy endings to be had. Snout or no snout, a kiss can heal all woes.

Read it HERE

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