Excerpt from the Short Story, “Black Crater, White Snow”

Black Crater, White Snow, illustration from The Evolution of Reptilian Handbags and Other Stories

by Melanie Lamaga from the collection The Evolution of Reptilian Handbags and Other Stories,  now available from Amazon. Jade I slide to the barn on a skin of blue ice, sky layered rose and gray. Almost dawn. The wind, a white knife, cuts through my red down coat. Pinfeathers escape—a flock of tiny geese vanishing […] Read more »

Excerpt from the Short Story “What Kind Are You?”

"What Kind Are You?" illustration from The Evolution of Reptilian Handbags and Other Stories

by Melanie Lamaga This excerpt is from the collection , available from Amazon.com in paperback and e-book format. WHAT KIND ARE YOU? “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” -William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Prince of Denmark When I remember Dundalk, Maryland, I think of the Fish Pub: […] Read more »

What Writers Can Learn from The Walking Dead

Michonne from The Walking Dead TV series

Beyond the Zombies … True Horror I have a love/hate relationship with zombies as they are portrayed in American culture. They’re crude and redundant: all they do is stagger around looking for something to eat. They never get full or tired, even when their rotting limbs are falling off. I can’t resist the gory little […] Read more »

Waking the Moon, by Elizabeth Hand

Cover art of Waking the Moon, a novel by Elizabeth Hand, reviewed by Melanie Lamaga, The Metaphysical Circus

The Moon with a Knife-Sharp Edge Three unwitting college students stand between the reawakening of a dark goddess and the Benandanti, a secret society of magicians who have been running the world for thousands of years. Waking the Moon, which won a Mythopoeic Award and a James Tiptree, Jr. Award, is part horror, part coming […] Read more »

Bird House

Bird House, collage by Melanie Lamaga, The Metaphysical Circus

Fiction by Melanie Lamaga It was a typical day for Michael—to the office by 7:00 a.m., coffee-fueled meetings, lunch with Dave, writing reports, out by six. Driving home from work in his convertible with the top down, Michael began to sing a wordless tune that filled him with exaltation. He felt as if he was […] Read more »

Review of lost boy lost girl: a novel, by Peter Straub

A Metaphysical Circus review of lost boy lost girl: a novel, by Peter Straub

This novel, which won the Bram Stoker Award for Best Novel, is part murder mystery, part ghost story and part family drama, with an unexpected, transcendent ending. The story follows Tim Underhill, (a character from earlier novels by Straub), as he attempts to cope with a series of tragic, mysterious events afflicting the family of […] Read more »

The Illumination by Kevin Brockmeier

The Illumination by Kevin Brockmeier Cover Art

The Illumination is a literary novel with only one fantastic element, but it’s a doozy: one day, inexplicably, the bodily pain of each and every human being on earth begins to manifest as a white light. Everything from a headache to leukemia shines out of the body like a beacon for all to see. The […] Read more »

Freaks’ Amour, by Tom De Haven

Cover of Freaks' Amour, a novel by Tom De Haven

Mutants on the Outside, Looking In Hardcore. That’s the word that comes to mind. But not just because Freaks’ Amour refers to a XXX rated show where Normals go to watch mutant men rape their wives and girlfriends (and for a finale the Normals pelt them with rotten fruit). The sex scenes are not particularly […] Read more »

Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti, by Genevieve Valentine

Mechanique, A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti, by Genevieve Valentine, cover image

This novel, which received a Nebula nomination for Best Novel, takes place in a post-war landscape. The particulars are left vague: we know that there were bombs and radiation, followed by smaller wars for control, and the creation of city-states. Outside of these, borders have become fluid, and life brutal. To stay out of trouble, […] Read more »

Review of Illyria, by Elizabeth Hand

Cover of Illyria, by Elizabeth Hand

An Elegant Explosion of Repressed Creativity and Desire This is beautifully written, Romantic (in the 18th century sense, not the Danielle Steele sense) novella about soul mates, forbidden love, and being a magical child in a family that’s lost its mojo. It’s also about talent, both the kind that emerges full-blown and the kind that […] Read more »