Cover Reveal, See the Elephant Issue 4, Beyond Death

Letter from the Editor

Another year, another issue! I started this magazine intending to do two per year. Now, festooned with a multitude of hats, I am grateful for the time to do one. Such is life, which evolves as it grows—we all know that. But what about death? My culture of origin, Anglo-America, isn’t so good at addressing that side of the equation. And here we are, still gobbling resources and burning fossil fuel like there is no tomorrow. Like there is no end to our empire. Like there is no death.

But, deep down, we all know that isn’t true. The blazing certainties of summer inevitably give way to the dusky meditations of fall. Contemplating death, whether of our bodies, our eco-system, or our culture requires humility. It requires time for reflection. It requires courage.

The old traditions of Europe hold that the veil between the living and dead is thinner on October 31st, a belief that has devolved into Halloween, where children dress up and demand candy, and adults dress up and get drunk. In Mexico, my adopted culture, the rituals honoring death remain a bit more intact. Many people celebrate Dia de Los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, by holding parades and festivals, going to visit their ancestors in cemeteries, and creating shrines where they offer bread, skull candies, and flowers. Katrinas, such as those on the cover of this issue, provide blunt and fearless reminders of what lies beneath the temporary skin of our human existence.

I am pleased that Issue 4 of See the Elephant features more international stories than ever before, from a diverse group of authors. As is our custom, the stories run the gamut from serious to whimsical, literary to fantastic.

Here in the Western Hemisphere of North America, ’tis the season to curl up by a fire with a good read, contemplate the change of seasons—and the delicious possibilities presented by death, the ultimate change. Join us, if you dare.


With Gratitude,

Melanie Lamaga


See the Elephant, Issue 4, Beyond Death will be available for purchase later this month … stay tuned for a sneak peek story here on the website!

To request a review copy, email


Announcing the Winner of the 2016 New Voices Contest, Benjamin C. Jenkins

We are pleased to introduce the winner of the 2016 New Voices Contest, Benjamin C. Jenkins. What follows is a short essay by Ben, about writing about his winning story, “Headdressing,” and his perspective as a Native American writer. 


I didn’t set out to write “Headdressing” with any Native American elements in mind, but somehow they found their way into the story. While I am a card-carrying, tribal member of the Choctaw Nation, I never grew up on the reservation. I wasn’t a member of any tribal clubs during school, and didn’t even attend a pow-wow until I was in my thirties. None of these were conscious decisions, it was just something that was part of my life—and not part of my life.

My grandfather, Jesse, had all of those experiences. He was sent away to a boarding school. He was told not to speak his language. He must have experienced prejudice, but he never talked about it—at least not to me.. Whether his silence was out of some sort of shame, or because he wanted to protect his children from the experiences he endured, I’ll never know. Regardless, by not talking about it, his kids and his grandkids lost an immediate connection to their own story. Read more »

Announcing Release of See the Elephant, Issue 3: Slipping Through the Cracks



See the Elephant, Issue 3: Slipping Through the Cracks explores what it means to slip through a crack, intentionally or not, into oblivion or freedom; how it feels to be threatened by some terrible, broken thing, or to break ourselves. These stories range from the darkest impulses of human (and inhuman) nature, to humor, love, and the possibility of change that can come when we dare to look at broken things in a new way, and painstakingly fuse the pieces back together with some finer stuff.

New stories by Genevieve Williams, Michaele Jordan, Mathew Scaletta & Rebecca Brewster, Kyle E. Miller, Edoardo Albert, Rachel Verkade, Rose Szabo, S. Kay Nash, and Matthew Sanborn Smith, and reprints by H. V. Chao and Marleen S. Barr, and a foreword by editor Melanie Lamaga.

Available in ebook and paperback. 115 pp.

Review copies available in mobi, epub, or PDF formats by request from editors (at)

Buy it here!   



Open for Submissions & New Voices Contest 2016!

Hans_Baluschek_Allegorie auf den Tod, 2002

Allegorie auf den Tod, by Hans Baluschek 2002

Greetings Readers, Writers and Lovers of Strange Stories

After a busy summer touring with the Metaphysical Circus to distant points both on and off the map, we’re back and gearing up for issues three and four of See the Elephant Magazine.

We are currently accepting open submissions, and running a very special New Voices contest for indigenous writers. Learn more here.

In the meantime, we’ll continue to entertain you with more free stories from Issue Two, and new book reviews highlighting the best in weird, slipstream and literary fantastic books by diverse and brilliant authors here at See the Elephant Online.

Follow the Circus

If you haven’t already, now is the perfect time to sign up for our newsletter. We’ll send you links to new stories, reviews and news once a week, and you’ll get See the Elephant, Issue One free!


As always, we remain deeply grateful for your support.

Melanie Lamaga, editor in chief.

Memorial Day in the Slipstream

Fresnaye_conquest_of_air (2)

“The Conquest of Air” by Roger de La Fresnaye, 1913, public domain

Dear Readers,

Since issue two of See the Elephant Magazine features stories about love and war, it seems appropriate to say a few words in honor of Memorial Day this year. I have not been to war, myself, but from what I’ve heard and read from veterans, being in a war zone can be a surreal experience, full of intense impressions, emotions, and events that may not conform to the orderly flow of cause and effect or linear time.

People have been going to war throughout recorded history and either dying or coming back inalterably changed, carrying burdens difficult to describe, let alone manage. Therefore, weird and slipstream stories by and about war and veterans are doubly important: they are in the unique position to explore the horror and beauty that defy tidy, rational explanation and easy resolution.

So, for your Memorial Day reading, I am honored to offer another war story from issue two, Love & War in the Slipstream, “Fairview 619,” by Rebecca Schwarz. It joins two others already up on the web, “Court Marshall of Samuel James Wilson,” by Frederick K. Foote, Jr., and “Summon Up The Blood,” by Michael Canfield.

You can also click here to purchase the whole magazine in ebook or PDF format for only $2.99, either from us or from your favorite retailer. Every sale supports the future of this magazine!


With Gratitude,

Melanie Lamaga



May 1 Launch Date for See the Elephant, Issue Two!

Love and War in the SlipstreamFINALLetter from the Editor

I’m delighted to announce the official release date for issue two of See the Elephant, Love & War in the Slipstream, May 1, 2016!

The term slipstream was coined by Bruce Sterling and refers to fiction that weaves elements of literary, fantasy, horror, and science fiction genres, in both serious and humorous ways. This streaming weave blurs the lines between consensus and non-consensus reality. It enables us to slip through the cracks into new ways of thinking and feeling.

As you might expect, the stories in this issue cover a lot of ground. Some offer the merest whiff of the strange, others mix the real and unreal in equal proportions, still others jump feet-first into bizarre worlds that bear only a passing resemblance to ours. These stories also represent a diversity in authorship, and include women and men, straight and LGBTQ, and authors from a variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds. We have stories from seasoned authors, and three stories by the winners of our 2015 New Voices contest.

We believe that diversity in authorship should be part of slipstream, for there is nothing more potentially disorienting or enlightening than looking through the eyes of someone who has vastly different life experiences and perspectives than one’s own. We need that now, more than ever. To paraphrase the old Chinese curse, we do live in interesting times—and interesting times require interesting solutions.

Many thanks to the authors and artists who have contributed their fine work to this issue. Thanks to everyone who worked on it at Metaphysical Circus Press: Mary Boyes, Nicholas Shipman, Lauren Colie, Vanessa Del Fabbro, Cassidy Sheehan, Victoria Shampine, Casey Leon, Isabel Lee, and Abby Edwards.

Most of all, thanks to our readers. See the Elephant is a labor of love dedicated to serving writers and readers of slipstream, weird, metaphysical and visionary fiction. If you like what we are doing, please continue to support us through word of mouth, by signing up for our newsletter (if you haven’t already) and by following Metaphysical Circus Press on Facebook and Twitter @metacircuspress.

It’s a noisy world. Adding your voice to ours, even in ways that might seem small, could be of great help to this magazine, and the writers and artists within.

Yours Truly in the Love of the Strange and the War against the Mundane,

Melanie Lamaga

Cover and TOC Reveal! See the Elephant, Issue Two

Love and War in the SlipstreamFINAL_webHere is a sneak peek of the cover and TOC for issue two! The cover art is “Neue Welt” by Michael Waitz. Stories and authors for your weird reading pleasure, as follows:

The Bones of the Matter
by Cassandra Khaw
The Lost Books of the Painter’s Wife
by Diane Glancy
The Rising Up
by Karen Heuler
Girl in Satin Watering Rhododendron Bush
by Rose Wednesday 
Summon Up the Blood
by Michael Canfield
Big Feet
by Leslie What
The Cat’s House
by Alana I. Capria
Inspiration 1.2
by Jane Lebak
They Got Louie
by F. Brett Cox
Fairview 619
by Rebecca Schwarz
The Lawn Fairy War 
by James Van Pelt
The Absence of Cows
by Kristen Falso-Capaldi (New Voices Contest 1st prize winner)
by Brian T. Hodges (New Voices Contest, 2nd place winner)
Crocodile Tale
M. Glyde. (New Voices Contest, honorable mention)

Springing to Life!

by Melanie Lamaga

In Celebration Of The Child by Henri Rousseau. 1903

In Celebration Of The Child by Henri Rousseau. 1903

It’s been a sluggish winter for us (and everyone we know), but here at the Metaphysical Circus, we have emerged, reborn with the equinox as nature intended. In fact, we are feeling monstrously good, and, like a freakishly large baby with a bouquet and a harlequin, we come bearing gifts.

This weekend we bring you the swan song of See the Elephant Magazine, Issue One: Errantry, an incandescent story by Elizabeth Hand, with an original illustration by Ryan Schultz!

Earlier this week, we published Paul St. John Mackintosh’s review of the wildly weird and wonderful novel Experimental Film by Gemma Files. Not to be missed.

Next week, I am delighted to announce, we will begin the countdown to See the Elephant, Issue Two: Love and War in the Slipstream. Apologies for taking so long getting this issue out, but folks, when faced with a choice between doing it on time or doing it right, we all know which is the higher road … especially when you’re the boss. I think you are going to find it was worth the wait, and to make up for tardiness, we’ve made the issue extra fat. We will be publishing the cover art, TOC and a sneak peak story in the coming week, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, I hope the buds of spring are unfurling in your hearts and minds, as well your back yards. Thank you for being part of the Metaphysical Circus. Your support means everything.

Countdown to Bad Angels Release!

Bad Angels, cover art, Dennis Danvers, Metaphysical Circus PressThe Angels Descend,  Oct 15…

Shannon’s a fallen angel. Hunted. Hiding. Her crime? She’d rather live on earth with humans—and exercise free will—than blindly serve a god she’s never met.

On the streets, Shannon keeps her wings tucked inside a hollowed out backpack and taps the will of young men. Nothing harmful. Just enough to get what she needs—until she meets George, an angel-obsessed artist, in Richmond, Virginia.

Peter Arrowsmith is in charge of seeing to the Problem of the fallen, and he’s closing in on Shannon. Trouble is, Peter’s slipping into an entanglement of his own with Bethanie, a beautiful, compulsive liar.

As Shannon flees and Peter pursues, they draw a group of misfits into their deadly battle. But as both angels and humans will learn, love can make a tragedy or a farce of even divinely inspired plans. Read more »