Cabinet of Wonders: Beast, Circus & Song

Reviews of weird fiction on the web, by Lauren Colie

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The Sleeping Gypsy, by Henri Rousseau, public domain

Beast, Circus & Song

Open the door this week on a writer whose ideas are wild, blended beasts that strain to be free of the words binding them to the page – lyrical and fantastic. Maria Dahvana Headley returns with a favored topic – see if she can convince you to run off and join the circus.

Follow this with some spooky sorcery and the expressive power of song. You have every chance to know thyself this week – if you’re ready, just step into the spotlight.

A Review of See the Unseeable, Know the Unknowable by Maria Dahvana Headley at Lightspeed Magazine

A sword swallower steps through a metal detector and raises his hands in preemptive apology for the blade he’s substituted for his spine. An acrobat climbs through a window and into a museum’s upstairs bathroom looking for something that will fix the ache inside him, an elephant charges a train calling for its mate. Circuses dissolve. Carnivals collapse. Things get broken.

This sentient circus knows you’re going to run away to join before you know. They follow you, watching, inviting you to join with a flurry of tickets and a shower of popcorn. They draw you out to a clearing in the woods, to test your skills under the spotlight. This alien other is ready and waiting to absorb your brokenness – bring them your tired, your poor, your huddled masses of weird. There’s a home for all of us freaks, if you’re brave enough to let them beam you up.

Maria Dahvana Headley, who tickled us last February with this delightfully complex account of twisted, all-engulfing, consuming love, presents a circus tale worthy of the center ring. I’ll say it – this is my new favorite circus (of the plenty we’ve reviewed). It’s crisp, it’s clean, it’s creepy. It’s a whole new way to leave your old self behind.

Read it HERE

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A Review of Who Binds and Looses the World with Her Hands by Rachael K. Jones at Nightmare Magazine

As I stepped into the boat, the darkness bloomed within me, my body a seed from which uncurled the first tentative shoot of a ravenous, strangling weed. I raised a hand and signed,Doriane. In the dusk, a thin line of smoke trailed from the lighthouse, and then suddenly the whole tree ignited.

Tonight, the Mainlanders would see a different beacon from Corail Island. Let them wonder. Let them fear.

The lighthouse is a warning…not to stay off the rocks, but to stay away entirely. The island is a prison. It hides a great evil away from the mainland – imprisoned in silence. Dark sorcery is at work, if you only read the signs.

Rachael K. Jones  sets something sinister loose, and challenges you to find whodunnit. Who to trust? Who holds the power to destroy dormant in nimble fingers? Strap in for a not-so-pleasant surprise.

Read it HERE

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A Review of The High Lonesome Frontier by Rebecca Campbell at Tor.com

So even though my mom is dead, and the audiotape my grandmother played in her car is at the bottom of some flooded city street—even though it’s all gone Lily Gibbs is still careening through space along with every other sound we’ve ever tossed out there. And the basic message, whether it’s Lily or Marconi, is always the same: We are here.

This tune transcends the ages. Rebecca Campbell collects snapshots of an imagined folk recording impacting lives. Find out where does that water run across the years. Find out what haunts your memory, long after the music dies. Find out  what key notes harmonize in the all-too-human refrain, we are here.

Read it HERE

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