Cabinet of Wonders, 1.23.15

Lauren Colie

This week, prepare for three deaths, a fire in a gay bar and a talking elephant. My quest this time was to find short, quick reads that pack the same eerie punch as some of the longer fare.


A Review of “Returned,” by Kat Howard, at Nightmare Magazine.

“Not being dead was clearly superior to being dead…”

…or so you might think. This returned-to-life girlfriend begs to differ. In a recent release from Nightmare Magazine, author Kat Howard reveals what happens when the dead would rather stay dead. She offers a word of warning to any would-be necromancer: sometimes love isn’t enough. While bringing your lady friend back to her beforelife seems like a romantic gesture, she might not appreciate the novelty. Don’t forget—when you bring back the dead, their memories come, too.

I appreciated the narrator’s wry recap of her situation. A biting tongue and palpable hatred don’t obstruct the barely-there humor. I’d recommend this feisty chiller for a new perspective on dead and alive in the technology age. Be ready for vengeance.

Read it HERE



A Review of “The Heat of Us: Notes Toward an Oral History,” by Sam J. Miller at Uncanny Magazine.

“We’d been swallowing fire for so long, fire and violence and hate, and in that moment of panic and fear and anger everything fell into place to feed the fire back. And that’s what we did.”

On a summer night in 1969 Manhattan, tension boils over in a police raid of Stonewall, an illegal gay bar. Author Sam J. Miller brings the heat in a series of eyewitness accounts about what happens when a whole room of people decides “Hell no” as one.

With a unique narrative structure and some downright odd events, this short is able to address some very real issues in the history of homosexuality. Tackle this release from the second issue of Uncanny Magazine and judge for yourself what happened to ten of New York’s boys in blue the night Judy Garland died.

Read it HERE


A Review of “Elephant Sanctuary,” by John McManus, at Electric Literature, Recommended Reading.

“I’ve always believed life has no value if no one will remember you in a hundred years. Until now, though, I had been thinking only in terms of people. Now I saw that Gracie was my portal into eternity: if elephants survived, elephants would remember me.”

Introducing Gracie the elephant: one of many rescues in the sanctuary where Ike Junior tracks down his father. The musician, trying to drown his past in booze and angry at his con-man father, is on the run from death. Little does he realize he won’t find sanctuary here.

Ike’s story leaves you discombobulated. By the end, you, too, have blacked out and woke up hungover next to the wife of an ivory poacher with a hazy music career and dead fiancee behind you, and a talking elephant in front. If you’re looking for a disorienting trip into a drunken dreamland, this pick from Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading is a perfect match.

Read it HERE


A Review of The Box, by Arthur Bradford, at Electric Literature, Recommended Reading

“A few weeks later I was awakened by a shrill hissing sound, like a large distressed bird had entered my home. I thought perhaps some appliance had sprung a leak. But after a quick examination I determined the sound was coming from outside, from the box.”

When you trade a foot for a house, be careful it doesn’t come with more than you bargained for. A mysterious box melting holes in the snow on your lawn is never a good sign, especially when it begins killing cats (or not?)

This second gem from Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading has it all: spooky government agencies, people living underground, a little marijuana and a whole lot of mystery.

Read it HERE

More book reviews: