Story Ten: “Smithfield” by James P. Blaylock
As an amateur photographer, I was absolutely entranced by “Smithfield.” Blaylock paints a beautiful picture of the difficulties of capturing images in lowlight. During the course of the story, there is a longing for a time gone by that I couldn’t help but relate to due to my fascination with older cameras in this digital age.
Story Eleven: “The Unwanted Women of Surrey” by Kaaron Warren
“The Unwanted Women of Surrey” confused and delighted me. I loved the characters; I wanted to get to know their backstories and why they were cast off by their families. There was an air of mystery throughout the entire tale that kept you reading and waiting for things to be explained. The confusion set in at the finish of the story because the none of the mysteries were ever explained. I didn’t get who The Grey Ladies were and why the women wanted to free of them. And the connection to cholera was odd and only deepened my confusion.
Story Twelve: “Charged” by Leanna Renee Hieber
I loved “Charged.” It was electric. Heiber does a great job crafting a story that displays the main character’s love and eventual obsession with electricity. I wished this story was longer; I wanted to see how “Odd Little Mosley” would take over NYC. Would he be a Superman or a Lex Luthor. The mind wonder!
Story Thirteen: “Mr. Splitfoot” by Dale Bailey
Back in 2009, I read The Real Wizard of Oz: The Life and Times of L. Frank Baum by Rebecca Loncraine. In setting up the world, Baum lived in, Loncraine shared to story of the Fox Sisters who are the center of this short story. This story was delightfully creepy; leaving the reader wondering if the Fox Sisters did maybe have a connection with the Other Side.
Story Fourteen: “Phosphorus” by Veronica Schanoes
I’m on the fence about this short story. I loved how Schanoes puts a new, more rugged face on the often romanticized Victorian era. It is very much like Dickens’s portrayal of the everyday everyman. And because of the point of view from which the story is told, as the reader, you feel like the story is about you. You are able to feel the match girl’s toothache and smell her rotting flesh. However, the magic in the story left me a bit confounded. It wasn’t clear what “my” Nan was up to, what the purpose of her machinations were and the resulting spell that was cast and how the story is ends feels a bit empty as a result. Why did it matter if “I” lived a few more days?
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