Cabinet of Wonders: Cons, Scabs and Swarms

Cabinet of Wonders, Baja California, Metaphysical Circus Press

Cabinet of Wonders, Baja California by Sophia Hermes

web fiction reviews by Lauren Colie

Wide open skies, sprawling Western states and the tippy-top of the atmosphere. Here, we can spend time wondering who we are — this week, we’re taking field trips. Run across plains, climb mountains, soar skyward, abandon work and embark on a Kerouacian exploration of self and society. Let the Weird introduce you to the wonderful.

 

A Review of Everybody’s Bluffing, by Miles Klee at Electric Literature

Found it took your average sober man not long to pick up something queer about us, at which point he was apt to fight. It didn’t ever make sense, what they said, the reasons they came up with. Two pubs tossed us because of Lionel’s scarf (it was “swishy”), and one hotel manager said a guest complained that a man of “guttering respiration” had lurked outside her door.

These two cons have left cards behind for bigger scores. Robbery is so much easier, after all. Yet, this latest job isn’t quite like all the rest. Something strange has happened, but as long as people keep bluffing, Lionel and Slip will keep running.

Miles Klee rushes, tumbles and stumbles you along with a voice that jumps off the page and into your wallet. It’s fast-paced, it’s jittery, it’s exciting and — yep — weird. It’ll send chills up your spine…you better bring a scarf so you don’t catch cold in your neck.

Read it HERE

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A Review of Glaciers Made You, by Gabby Reed at Strange Horizons

It might not have meant this mountain. It might be anywhere. They might be from anyone, these messages nobody but I have read. They might not be there at all. In the dark, sitting in my underwear on the edge of the bed, I pick at the scab on my shoulder. It hurts, and it eventually comes off in two rough strips. Between the pads of my fingers, they feel like someone else’s flesh. I rub at them, and they crumble before I can see what they have to say.

For Bonnie, the writing isn’t on the wall, it’s in her skin. Is it her father, long-gone, whispering words from beyond? Or is this some serious (serious) sunburn? Where do the pieces of us land when we fall apart? How much of what we are is pieces from other people?

I’m so grossed out…yet this is so engrossing. Gabby Reed demands attention with this all-too-gory mourning method. Hop in for this wild west journey and get ready for some feels.

Read it HERE

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A Review of Ants on a Trestle, by Elliotte Rusty Harold at Crossed Genres

Fritz said something in French, but Daphne didn’t hear him. She was too distracted by the wave of small brown ants pouring out of the hole. She couldn’t see as well through the helmet as she could with the naked eye, but she could still make out workers, drones, and pupae. Some of the workers were frantically trying to move the pupae. She didn’t see a queen, but there had to be one in there somewhere.

Freshman biology professor Daphne needs a little variety in her day-to-day. Grading papers and fielding questions from amateur gardeners about bugs can be wearying. But when she gets tapped to help discover why there are ants in the atmosphere, tenure might be on her horizon.

Snakes on a plane, ants on a trestle — it’s all that squelchy discomfort of swarms of animals invading our precious manufactured spaces. Nature marches on…and up. Elliotte Rusty Harold doesn’t want us to get too comfortable with our superiority. At least this one comes with a modest proposal for the solution, right?

Read it HERE

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