Saturday, February 12, 2011
Short Story by Ian McHugh
Text available free online.
Barnstable's circus act travels through a post-apocalyptic Australia, owned by big mining companies and decimated by "Interlopers": strange creatures that bleed through from another dimension, possess people, and spread like a plague. The circus is really a circus, but also acts as a cover for Barnstable and his crew to find people vulnerable to being used by Interlopers to open the way into our world. These people are shipped off to a government-run facility and no one thinks about it much until it turns out one of the Candidates is the strongman's child.
A fast paced, short piece where McHugh rapidly builds up a world and an elaborate system of defending that world against an extra-dimensional threat. Exciting but also thoughtful. Well worth the time, although the ending seems more sentimental than is reasonable and the first page or so is muddled with all the character and world introducing going on.
3.5 out of 5.