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

Reviews of weird fiction on the web, by Lauren Colie


“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.

These three music-loving musketeers drift apart after college – and Andrew feels like he’s drifted the most. Years of distance separate him from friends Justin and Indigo, until he receives a mysterious email from Justin with Indigo’s newest album. An album that makes his ears bleed.

Is this experience transcendent or tragic? Is it an elevation of consciousness or a trip gone wrong? Decide for yourself if Indigo is channeling the music of God, or something more sinister.


Read it HERE


A Review of Sultana’s Dream by Rokheya Shekhawat Hossein at Strange Horizons Magazine

“We have no hand or voice in the management of our social affairs. In India man is lord and master, he has taken to himself all powers and privileges and shut up the women in the zenana.”

“Why do you allow yourselves to be shut up?”

“Because it cannot be helped as they are stronger than women.”

“A lion is stronger than a man, but it does not enable him to dominate the human race. You have neglected the duty you owe to yourselves and you have lost your natural rights by shutting your eyes to your own interests.”

“But my dear Sister Sara, if we do everything by ourselves, what will the men do then?”

“They should not do anything, excuse me; they are fit for nothing. Only catch them and put them into the zenana.”

Sister Sara pulls no punches when a dreaming Sultana comes to visit. In her society, traditional Indian gender roles are reversed. Men are kept indoors – and, lo, crime ceased and efficiency increased. Men are naturally combative, right? We just want to protect them from their own innate weaknesses.

A healthy dose of sass highlights some of the fundamental flaws in assumptions about gender. Hossein isn’t questioning stereotypes gently – she’s hammering at them with Sister Sara’s words of wisdom. This is a saucy exploration of social norms – mind the sharp edges.

Read it HERE


A Review of Taste the Singularity at the Food Truck Circus by Jeremiah Tolbert at Lightspeed Magazine

I stared at the pigeon. It “stared” back. Finally, I mustered the courage to rip off its head. Near as I could tell, the entire bird was edible, although the inside was more air than breading. The taste was delicate, like rose petals. It only took a few minutes to consume, and I felt a little guilty afterward. I’d expected to find another note with directions to the next Circus. But nothing.

Step right up for tapeworms that recharge your devices, screaming gummy people and aerosol nostalgia. This gastronomic circus is full of rogue chefs and culinary oddities – all skating under the iron rule of the FDA.

Enjoy the vivid description of palatable – and unpalatable – delicacies. Enjoy the struggle of one accountant fighting his dreams of work with food. Enjoy the whimsy. Tolbert’s packaged a tasty tale for some light refreshment – bon apetit!

Read it HERE


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