Quantum Convention’s eight genre-bending stories balance precariously between reality and fantasy, the suburban and the magical, the quotidian and the strange. Caught at a crossroads in his marriage, a high school teacher attends a parallel universe convention, where he meets his multiple selves and explores the alternate paths of life’s what-ifs.
The story of Margaret Hamilton, the actress who played the Wicked Witch of the West, parallels the coming of age of a cross-dressing boy whose crisis of identity is tied to The Wizard of Oz. Other stories feature characters labeled as “outcasts” by society—whether physically, morally, or fantastically: an alcoholic lucid dreamer, a closeted bisexual, a bachelor time-epileptic, orphans-turned-keeners, a vengeful banshee, a nerdy cyclops, and more. Many struggle to find what Dorothy and her entourage searched for: the wisdom to trust or discount their faith; the ability of the emotionally detached to love; the courage to speak up for oneself; a place to belong.
“Eric Schlich’s stories are clever and moving and disarmingly precise.” —Dolan Morgan, author of That's When the Knives Come Down and Insignificana, and judge