Rhinoceros Dreams: Stories

Jessica Knauss
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Genres: Short Story Collections, Fantasy, Offbeat or Quirky. Format: eBook. Views: This Week 145, Total 1814.
A fantastic anthology celebrating some of the world's rarest and most magical creatures.

"Rhinoceros Dreams" tells how Allie, a woman fascinated with rhinoceroses, finds true love in the human world with a bookworm. Can he ever truly understand her? Can she make her rhinoceros dreams come true? Previously published in This Mutant Life and Jake's Monthly Anthology.

"Not Extinct Yet," available exclusively in this collection, happens in an alternate world in which animals can talk. Intrepid rhinoceros linguist Suzanne takes on the responsibility to save her African rhino friends from extinction by mindless poaching. When you want to know something about a rhino, you should always ask a rhino!

"A Business Venture in Glue" is a weird flash fiction that uses a rhino escaped from a zoo to suggest themes of collectionism and possession. Previously published in Stanley the Whale.

The magic of rhinos lies not in superstitions about their horns, but in their majesty and in all creatures' basic right to live.

“This story is so original and surreal that it’d be a crime not to accept it. This is high-quality, intriguing-premise Magic Realism at its finest.” —Jake Johnson

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Reasonable Story, Reasonably Written, Probably Recommend, Very Well Edited in 1 reviews.
Dorothy Johnston : Rhinoceros Dreams

Reviewed by Dorothy Johnston

There is a long tradition of writing about metamorphosis and Jessica Knauss taps into this tradition in Rhinoceros Dreams, where a young woman turns into a rhinoceros and then back again, and where non-human animals can converse with humans. The collection contains only three stories, two of them about eighteen pages each, and third only four pages long. In my opinion, the collection could have benefited from being longer, and from the author developing different characters and points of view.

In the first story, titled ‘Rhinoceros Dreams’ the main character, Allie, is a convincing narrator, up to a point. The story begins well, with both Allie and the male protagonist, Robert, both harbouring secret sources of embarrassment. But the transformation from one kind of being to another, which takes place when the couple visit Africa, is less well handled. The transitions are abrupt, and the author forgoes the opportunity, which the story offers, of exploring the richness and subtlety of magical events.

One aspect of the story which I did enjoy was the physical description of rhinoceroses, their beauty, and the dangers that they face from poachers. The second story, ‘Not Extinct Yet’, turns around the idea that non-human animals can speak. The cruelty of the poachers is more detailed and horrific, and the campaign fought against poaching by the protagonist, Suzanne is one with which I have every sympathy.

The third story, ‘A Business Venture in Glue’ involves the magical reduction in size of escaped zoo animals in order to capture and return them unharmed. An enjoyable aspect of all three stories is their humour and lightness of touch when dealing with a tragic subject.