Review: “Keep Calm and Carillon” by Genevieve Valentine

2 of 5 stars

This is a quixotic tale that like the television series, Lost, starts with a mystery that it never answers and then layers on more enigmas until its unresolved conclusion. [Also inexplicable is this tale’s inclusion in an anthology of monster stories. One could create one’s own monster-based reasoning for the unanswered mysteries, but the story itself doesn’t include nor imply monsters. Supernatural intervention, yes; monsters, no.]

A courthouse elevator plummets 8 stories. The 9 random occupants step out unscathed, bonded and joyous. None offer an explanation of what happened, but they are changed. They really like each other [though they were largely strangers ahead of time] and they love, love, love playing handbells. They quit their jobs and spend their time together in a newly formed handbell choir, or practicing their handbells.

The one guy that is slightly less enthusiastic about the group and the handbells is also the only one that doesn’t know what happened in the elevator car, and the only one that had his eyes closed. . .

As time passes, the enthusiasm for handbells wanes but the compulsion to play doesn’t. The survivors also start insisting on spending all their time together in the form of meals, rides, freetime . . .

This tale appears in Creatures: Thirty Years of Monsters edited by John Langan and Paul Tremblay after originally appearing in Farrago’s Wainscot. I’ve previously read this author’s “Aberration”, “Abyssus Abyssum Invocat”, and Dream Houses.
[Check out my other reviews here.]


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