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ISBN-10: 1-55404-194-5
Genre: Fantasy/SF/Suspense/Thriller
eBook Length: 127 Pages
Published: November 2004

From inside the flap

Welcome to the America of your childhood fantasies. When traveling carnivals came and left seemingly overnight, when the fish your father caught was related to dinosaurs, and when that strange animal you found in the ditch obviously was a space alien.

In this collection of stories, return to the land of innocence and imagination. Prepare to laugh, to be scared senseless, and above all, to remember what it was like when a simple towel around your neck made you the greatest superhero of them all.

Reviews and Awards


"While reading, you?ll be picked up and dropped straight into your own history while visiting various, imaginary neighborhoods...Itís nostalgia at its finest."  --Sherry Decker, from the Introduction

"M. F. Kornís richly detailed, highly idiosyncratic portraits of America call to mind a Bradbury on magic mushrooms...heís a Norman Rockwell speaking in tongues with a voodoo doll in one hand and a flaming paintbrush in the other." --Jeffrey Thomas, author of Punktown



An Introduction

The Spectral Carnival Show

How Soothing Are My Anachronisms

Catch of the Century

A Digging in Providence

Who Are You, You and You?

Is It Live or Is It Lysergic Acid?

Going on a Submarine Ride

Laboring in the Valley of Ashes

Aliens and Minibikes

About the Author

An Introduction by Sherry Decker

This fine collection of short fiction, plus novella, are a nostalgic return to childhood when we all had innocence, faith and imagination. Decades have passed with the writing of these varied tales--some written in the mid 1980s, some more recent--all of them fascinating in their own way.

While reading, you?ll be picked up and dropped straight into your own history while visiting various, imaginary neighborhoods and worlds. What an amazing pageant of dates, details and d?ja vu in this collection! We glimpse a carnival that set up camp in a small town--here today, gone tomorrow--leaving behind a list of missing children. We enter a bizarre junk store filled with truly ?impossible? things. We experience a fish tale about discovery and loss--a slice of life wrought with childhood disappointment, yet a grain of promise. We?re questioned, "If you could bring back a famous person from the dead, whom would it be?" And we?re then reminded, be careful what you wish for. We accompany a guy named Rick in a downward spiral toward insanity--or is he right, and the world has taken cloning to a point beyond the extreme? We read on and shudder to ourselves: don?t mess with them video manipulators! Then comes a tale with a question and a twist ending--Will Daddy show up to take you to Disneyland?

I thoroughly enjoyed every story in this collection, but my favorite would have to be the novella, "Aliens and Minibikes"--a story about a neighborhood and some very believable boys and girls. Itís a science fiction and puberty cocktail, that first amused me, pulled me in, then scared me. Won?t tell you the ending, but it was good!

I recommend this collection. You won?t be sorry you read it. Itís nostalgia at its finest.

The Spectral Carnival Show

Crandall and I rode around Hammond arguing about what restaurant we would pick for lunch.

"You?re the businessman, you know the best spots for chrissakes," he said.

"But I don?t live here, you do."

He was a professional magician, he really was fun to be around even if he didn?t drink. I sighed. It was the Saturday before Easter Sunday. Were we going to drive by the college again to watch coeds walk by, unseen by our carnal stares through Crandallís tinted windows?

"Hey, a carnival!" I said.

"Ah YESS..." he said in his best W. C. Fields voice. On every other day it was an abandoned shopping center parking lot. Now it was a conundrum of machinery, rides for the kiddies bolted together too fast.

"I drove by yesterday and this setup wasn?t here," Crandall said as his Hawaiian shirt billowed about his flabby arms and he turned the wheel. We parked and looked.

In the bright sun I saw snooker tables, nudger machines and bronzed barkers. Children were strapped into the swirling rides of steel and screaming. The haunted house trailer with the sheet metal whirring skirt blowers, tilted floors and spooky interior lights was towards the back. I wanted to be scared by the apparitions flying at me run by gearshifts and conveyor belts.

Even from a distance the people running the show looked tough‑skinned and countrified.

"There isn?t much of a crowd here," Crandall said.


"Letís stop by the games and see the setup," Crandall said. I knew he was going to ask the folks running the games and booths how the profits were going. He looked at me as he pulled the parking brake up and opened the door of the car. "Itís not the rides that make them the most money. Itís those games, believe me..." he said and pulled up the sun visor, "...they really rake up on those..."