Cabinet of Wonders: Windows To The Soul

Window from 1742, Kosta, Sweden. Photo: Mogens Engelund (licensed under Creative Commons).

Window from 1742, Kosta, Sweden. Photo: Mogens Engelund

reviews of short fiction on the web, by Lauren Colie

This week’s Cabinet is all about the windows to the soul. These authors are challenging us to see more clearly and to look past, through, inside and around all the social constructs we combat daily. Take away some lightheartedness and try to let go of some of the constraints you imagine holding you back. After all, this state is temporary.

 

A Review of Secondhand Bodies, by JY Yang at Lightspeed Magazine

I have bad genes. My mother’s mother had a round face and a body that bulged like a beehive, a victim of bad metabolism that spared my mother but resurfaced in me, her wayward daughter. Much as clinicians have tried to iron out the kinks in my DNA, each body they generate still goes soft and gelatinous within months. This is my fourth body since I turned twenty. Nothing sticks, not diets, not exercise. Only overhauls.

Talk about an out-of-body experience. For Agatha, those extra few pounds are shed as easily as a tight pair of jeans as she upgrades to the latest model. This time, she’s got the hook-up through her cousin to get the swanky, top-of-the-line skin to inhabit. The only catch is she has to — illegally — sell off her current body. Too bad the recipient is already a real looker…

In a brief review of what we covet in ourselves and others, JY Yang seeks to teach us to look further than skin deep. It’s a slippery, slimy, sad little tale, Remember — what goes around comes around. And down.

 

Read it HERE

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A Review of Angel, Monster, Man, by Sam J. Miller at Nightmare Magazine

 

“One name,” I said.

“A composite,” Derrick said. “A synthesis of every brilliant artist who died before they could make their mark.”

“A collective pseudonym,” I said. “For every writer in our lost generation. If we don’t have a Hemingway, we’ll invent one.”

“Tom,” Derrick said. “A good, simple, macho name.”

 

Well, if you can’t find an identity, why not build one? Rather than struggle along as starving artists alone, this group of friends creates a pseudonym whose success sweeps the nation and defines a generation. Meet Tom, the Hemingway of his time. Until, uh, that persona gains a mind of his own.

In a very Fight Club surreality, this group of fellas really brings a persona to life. Sam J. Miller wants us to remember there’s power and potential in words, and the public mind can shape us all into angels, monsters and men.

 

Read it HERE

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A Review of Grandpa’s Glasses, by Carol Otte at Crossed Genres Magazine

 

Ever since I was a kid, I’d played something I called the spot game. I would close one eye, focus my other eye on a single speck of dust, and watch the speck while I drew my glasses toward my face. The speck would slowly blur beyond all recognition, then disappear completely. The moments of transition from discrete shape to blurred blob to invisibility always fascinated me.

Seeing is believing, right? Hiding in the invisibility of dust motes through the dirty lenses of rescued glasses is truth. Memories, feelings, visions — all packed inside the glorious wonder of old things. Enough experiences and lessons to pass on to the next generation the guidance and wisdom of self-discovery.

Carol Otte finds a way to uplift while educating, showing us that seeing others more clearly can help us see ourselves better. We can laugh, cry and experiment, and take the step together when it’s time to move on.

 

Read it HERE

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