Freak Show of the Gods: And Other Stories of the Bizarre
Van Helsing and Dracula have an unexpected confrontation. Disney’s robotic Abe Lincoln wants to leave the Hall of Presidents. Rubber bands drive a man insane. A burn victim keeps changing faces. A superhero applies for retirement benefits. God visits the unemployment line. A strange psych ward offers hope to the misfits inside. A rooftop is the last resort for survivors of global-warming flooding.A mix of high-concept sci-fi, twist ending “gotcha” stories, and simple heartfelt narratives (if a little heavy-handed at times when it comes to symbolism), Freak Show of the Gods collects all sorts of short tales from the very prolific Bly. As a collection, it feels like a visit to The Twilight Zone where good intentions win out more often than not. Although there are some bummer endings lurking about, for the most part, an inherent optimism triumphs.
You’ll see most of the endings coming, twists or not, but that’s not a bad thing. This is comfort food in storytelling form, a buffet teeming with familiar flavors served up right. It’s not as flashy or as rich as other fare, but it’ll leave you satisfied just the same.
Robert W. Bly
Quill Driver Books