Thursday, August 31, 2017

The Cabinet, by William Preston

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(Historical Fantasy) A fair comes to a small German town around the start of the 20th Century. The “elongated man” exhibit features a giant who supposedly has slept through the ages and can tell the future. (8,362 words; Time: 27m)

Rating: ★★★☆☆ Average

Asimov’s lists this as a short story, but it's a bit longer than that.

"The Cabinet," by (edited by Sheila Williams), appeared in issue 09-10|17, published on by .

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

Pro: The narrator’s obsession with the cabinet clearly won’t be satisfied until he’s been inside it. It seems to entrance the person inside of it, giving him/her visions but also making the person a slave. Only the fire breaks the spell, freeing the narrator just before it would have burned him alive.

In a way, though, he’s been sleeping through his own life, so the ending: “I awoke inside the cabinet” may signal that he’s going to do more with his life now.

Con: Or maybe not. It’s not clear why the narrator was fascinated with the exhibit, nor is it clear that he got any lesson beyond “all men die,” and the ending is unsatisfying.

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites (Issue 09-10|17)
William Preston Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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