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. Read more »

Cabinet of Wonders: Top 5 Short Stories of 2015

woolworth building in cloudsweb fiction reviews by Lauren Colie

It’s that “out with the old, in with the new” time of year, when I resolve to read more, zen more and road rage less. But amidst the well-meaning promises to make 2016 a raucous good time filled with beach-ready bodies, clean eats and festivals galore, I can’t help but cling to several pieces of the past. I’m not yet ready to close the Cabinet door on some of these superb shorts. Find out what stories are frozen in my mind so deep I just can’t let them go. Here it is, your 2015 year in review. Let’s laugh, cry and howl into the night one last time. Read more »

Cabinet of Wonders: Flee into the Woods


short fiction reviews by Lauren Colie


Feeling small? I know I am. November’s getting gray, I’ve got a birthday coming up (booooo) and the holidays are rushing closer and closer. Sometimes, it just seems so darn tempting to run into the woods and never look back. Take a little trip with this week’s tales–fly free so you can face the rest of your week with head held high. I know I’m waiting on that last one to bring me back to life.

A Review of When We Were Giants, by Helena Bell at Lightspeed Magazine

The worst part of the giant game was coming back. We’d knock down trees and chase deer and pick up wolves with our bare hands and bang logs together, then one of us would hear the first warning bell and call to the others. None of us liked that part, as we trudged back to the edge of the woods, just close enough that our bodies would come back, just far enough that we were still hidden. We’d get smaller and the world wouldn’t. For the rest of the day we’d think about our giant selves, small and caged in our small blouses, our small skins, and we would mourn. Read more »

Cabinet of Wonders: Aliens, Ghosts & Skypeople

leaked alien footage, cabinet of wonders, See the Elephant Magazineshort fiction reviews by Lauren Colie


Aliens, ghosts and skypeople — all the otherworldy beings are coming out to play in this Cabinet. We’ve got reminders about how love hurts, how your past will never leave you alone and, well, how the way to anyone’s heart truly is their stomach. Digest some delightful strange in this week’s shorter fare.

A Review of Lacrimosa, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia Nightmare Magazine

He felt like repeating his youthful impulsiveness, gathering his belongings in a duffel bag and leaving the grey skies of Vancouver. But he had the condo which would fetch a killing one day if he was patient, his job, and all the other anchors that a man pushing forty can accumulate. A few years before, maybe. Now it seemed like a colossal waste of time. Read more »

Cabinet of Wonders: Forbidden Fruit & Vengeful Goddesses


Illustration by Albrecht Durer 1471-1528

short fiction reviews by Lauren Colie

Forbidden fruit, vengeful goddesses and the ever-present danger of knowing: all this and more in this week’s line-up. They’ll suck you in for some deep contemplation and spit you back out as yourself, but ever-so-slightly more. Just remember: once you open your eyes, they’re open for good.

A Review of Tragic Business, by Emil Ostrovski at Lightspeed Magazine

Shortly after this exchange, the hummingbird was eaten by an eagle, who attacked, not out of any genuine sense of hunger, but rather, out of habit, as eagles are wont to do, because eagles are assholes with wings.

Evan isn’t searching for Nirvana, but enlightenment sure is trying to find him. In fact, it keeps inviting him over for tea and crumpets and he keeps asking for just one more chance to connect with his soul mate. A few hundred lifetimes, some Starbucks and a space flight later, he’s found his ADM-10891 and a way out of the cycle of life, death and rebirth. Read more »

Cabinet of Wonders: Bayou Werewolves, Alien Frogs & Dorian Gray

Cabinet of Wonders, web fiction reviews, See the Elephant Magazineweb fiction reviews by Lauren Colie

Let the familiar tickle your fancy. Deals with the devil, alien beings, Facebook, Twitter and even Dorian Gray make an appearance in this Cabinet. Reimagine and reinvigorate these classic tropes with a contemporary twist. Mind your feet — there’s some…things…it’d be best not to step on.


The Fiddler of Bayou Teche, by Delia Sherman at Lightspeed Magazine

“You maybe don’t know, little swamp owl girl, these hands are like gold. I fiddle the devil out of hell once and I fiddle him down again. I will make those cuyons in New Orleans lie down and lick my bare feets.”

He glances at me for a reaction, but I just sit there. Tante Eulalie is right. Close to, ’Dres Petitpas is not funny at all. He want what he want, and he don’t care what he has to do to get it. He can’t trick me, because I know what he is. What he go do, I wonder, when he finds that out? Read more »

Cabinet of Wonders: Menagerie of Weird Creatures

Cabinet of Curiosities with birdsweb fiction reviews by Lauren Colie

Open the door into a menagerie for this week’s Cabinet. Strange beings and strange people populate the shelves, each a curio for us to consider. There are questions about ethics, character and love wrapped up in bizarre, two-headed and three-footed packages. Don’t forget: there’s always more than meets the eye.

A Review of “The Springwood Shelter for Genetically Modified Animals,” by Verity Lane at Crossed Genres

They were in another corridor, but this one was lined not with doors, but with glass. On both sides there were pens holding more kinds of animals than Mel had ever seen in real life. The only animals Mel usually saw were the ubiquitous AdPigeons with their colourful, commercial wings. But here there were all the animals she’d only seen on screens.

Lions, tigers and genetically-modified polar bears, oh my! Read more »

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. Read more »

Cabinet of Wonders: Letters from the Dead

Disappearing Dads, Time Traveling Doctors, and Letters from the Dead

Cabinet of Wonders, 8.28.15

Image courtesy of Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images
The figure of a woman divided in two parts: half skeleton, half lady of fashion, standing next to a obelisk inscribed with biblical quotations. Etching, 17–, attributed to V. Green.
By: Valentine Greenafter: James HerveyPublished: –
Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0

Web Fiction Reviews by Lauren Colie

It seems a little abnormal to find a Lauren and a Loren writing fabulous fiction this week (with reviews written by a Lauren). What is normal, anyway? Is it polos and boat shoes? Is it the desire to fix mistakes? Is it the humble town post office? Is it being named Lauren? I couldn’t tell you…but these authors can. Well, they can point you in the right direction. Once you identify what is normal, I hear them all asking, why?

A Review of Disappearing Dad Disorder, Excerpted from You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine, by Alexandra Kleeman at Electric Literature

“What was at the root of Disappearing Dad Disorder? Sociologists said it was social, psychologists said it was psychological, and some religious nut said they had heard a call from God to leave behind their wicked lives. Biologists compared it to migration and to songbirds that become confused in the presence of skyscrapers. They compared them to honeybees who abandon their hives: maybe the fathers had been misled by cell phone signals, by highways, by toxins in the water supply.” Read more »

Cabinet of Wonders: Feral Mail, Hungry Curtains & Fork Phobia

By Visscher, Nicolao Iohannis (Universiteits Bibliotheek van Amsterdam) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Visscher, Nicolao Iohannis (Universiteits Bibliotheek van Amsterdam) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

web fiction reviews by Lauren Colie

I’m moving. Packing up all of my possessions, all of me, and claiming a new spot as my home. It only makes sense that I’m seeing signs of change all over the place — including this week’s Cabinet picks. See how relocating shakes up more than just coordinates and let these authors readjust what you know to be real.

A Review of The Apartments of Strangers, Excerpted from The Beautiful Bureaucrats, by Helen Phillips at Electric Literature

When she returned from her second Thursday at the new job, he wasn’t at the stranger’s apartment. She pulled a postal notice off the door and stepped inside just as she heard the three-headed dog heave itself against the door at the end of the hall. Her hands felt weak and her eyes hazy. She added the postal notice to the stranger’s feral pile of mail on the bedside table. She sat down on the futon. She called Joseph’s phone. It went straight to voice mail. She didn’t leave a message Read more »