Cosmic Roots & Eldritch Shores, May 2018

Note: This post was imported from an old content-management system, so please excuse any inconsistencies in formatting.

Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores, May 2018

Cat and Mouse” by L. C. Brown

Reviewed by Seraph

Cat and Mouse” by L. C. Brown

I grew up playing, singing, and listening to music. There have been times in my life where I look back and see nothing but long silences, that without fail were the darkest times in my life. Even as I sit here writing this I’ve got music playing. I’ve been to Bourbon Street a few times, once playing in my high school band, another time in a small jazz group. Music runs through the very veins of the place. You can hear it through your feet as they rest on the streets. There is magic in that city. Brown captures it all here, in the heart of New Orleans, sometime (I assume) in the future after the States have fallen, having been replaced by some 1984-wannabe Confederacy. It’s almost a horror story, to me, thinking how music could be outlawed, musicians hunted down, and even more the hideous ability the Silence have to open their mouths and literally silence all around you. Brown has the right of it here: music is life, and to silence it like that, to silence everything like that, is just a violation. Painful and unnatural. The whole thing reminds me of the dystopian stories where anything that causes emotion is outlawed. You’ve got many of the elements of classic dystopian fiction here, from the fresh-out-of-the-academy enforcer hopped up on his new authority, to the weary and weathered protagonist just barely evading the police state, to the one certain element that is crucial to life and therefore outlawed in the vain attempt to maintain control of the population. This being set in New Orleans, that element is music, which is also magic. Just whistling a certain tune summons the magic that allows the protagonist to shapeshift into a totally different person, and then just walk right by the bewildered greenhorn.

The story would have benefited from a little more length to let it all sink in, and the pace is a little uncertain. Overall, though, it resonates well, and really has a little bit of New Orleans’ true soul mixed up in it. Give this a read, and while you’re at it, look up ‘Round About Midnight by Miles Davis and John Coltrane, just to really set the mood.