A circus of cyborgs coming to perform for an audience of lumberjacks on the planet Hathor — that description both perfectly summarises the central plot of this story, and completely fails to capture the way in which this story felt weighty and serious, not haphazard and humorous, as you might expect from such a description. This story had a real quality to it; well done.
My overwhelming impression of this one was uncertainty. After a string of circus stories, I was surprised by this one, which didn’t have any identifiable circuses in it for a very long time. Between the rather excessively-long build-up and the large quantity of prolix sentences in this story, I felt like I spent a lot of waiting simply wading through words waiting for the story to start. There was a close encounter with a circus, but then there were equally many, equally slow-moving words on the other side of that encounter, so I just struggled to enjoy it. It didn’t quite make the fairy-tale-esque mark I think the author was shooting for, sadly.
When this story opened with a library and a circus getting married, I didn’t expect it to become an allegory of contemporary hetero marital structures, rife with all the misogyny and patriarchy involved. Let’s just say, parts of this story had rather more realism than fantasy in them!
Emma works in a timetraveling circus, the only life she’s ever known. No one ever leaves the building that houses the circus, because no one ever knows when the circus might decide to up and leave to another time, leaving them stranded where they are forever. But Emma is tired of being trapped, and willing to risk anything to escape.
I thought this was a novel take on the topic, and felt that Kint’s story captured the sinisterness of circuses exceptionally well.
There were bits and parts of the story I really liked — the description “The reality-broken world was dangerous, with so many structures and safeguards failing, and so many people failed to manage themselves or cope or be kind in their new circumstances” felt very real in our post-Covid world — while other parts, especially towards the beginning, I found too disjointed and didactic for my tastes. It wasn’t until the very end of the story that the twist came that made this a distinctive circus story, rewarding the reader for their perseverance.
This was the third circus-themed story I’d read in this issue of LSQ, which prompted me to actually read the editorial — the entire issue is circus-themed, so maybe I should not have been so surprised to be reading so many circus stories!
I liked this one for its wlw storyline, but I felt it was rather lacking on actual story content.
Another circus-themed story in this issue of LSQ — I feel like I’ve been reading a lot of them lately! I enjoyed this one more than some but not as much as others; it seems that it’s hard to do something distinctive with the setting, and I’m not sure this story quite managed it.
Thumbs up for a great title. Another thumbs up for beautiful imagery that made me feel like I was watching a ballet. And because I keep spare thumbs around just for such purposes, a third one for giving me a bittersweet but still hopeful story.
Content note: Physical abuse.
This story took awhile to get going — a lot of imagery and description before anything actually happened — and there was a lot about the story that felt very stereotypical: the young, beautiful, cursed heroine, who is all alone in the world; the circus; the evil circus ring-leader. In the end, it was a bit too ponderous for me.