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Carniepunk (Hell on Earth 0.7) by Rachel Caine

Carniepunk (Hell on Earth 0.7) by Rachel Caine—Art by: Tony Mauro

Carniepunk (2013) — Anthology 

Editor and AuthorsEdit

EditorRachel Caine

Contributors: Rachel Caine, Rob Thurman, Delilah S. Dawson, Kevin Hearne, Mark Henry, Jaye Wells, Allison Pang, Hillary Jacques, Jennifer Estep, Kelly Meding, Nicole Peeler, Jackie Kessler, Kelly Gay, Seanan McGuire

Genre and Sub-GenresEdit

Urban Fantasy

DescriptionEdit

A star-studded urban fantasy anthology featuring bestselling authors Rachel Caine, Rob Thurman, Seanan McGuire, Jennifer Estep, and Kevin Hearne, whose stories explore the creepy, mysterious, and, yes, sometimes magical world of traveling carnivals. 

The traveling carnival is a leftover of a bygone era, a curiosity lurking on the outskirts of town. It is a place of contradictions—the bright lights mask the peeling paint; a carnie in greasy overalls slinks away from the direction of the Barker’s seductive call. It is a place of illusion—is that woman’s beard real? How can she live locked in that watery box?

And while many are tricked by sleight of hand, there are hints of something truly magical going on. One must remain alert and learn quickly the unwritten rules of this dark show. To beat the carnival, one had better have either a whole lot of luck or a whole lot of guns—or maybe some magic of one’s own.

Featuring stories grotesque and comical, outrageous and action-packed, Carniepunk is the first anthology to channel the energy and attitude of urban fantasy into the bizarre world of creaking machinery, twisted myths, and vivid new magic. ~ Goodreads | Carniepunk

Supernatural ElementsEdit

Werewolves, Vampires, Mermaids, magic users, bizarre machinery, myths, djinn, succubus, hellhounds, King of Hell, zombies, Druid, portal, Bludman (vampires), demons, tattoos, dark sorcerer, creatures, elemental mage, Olympians, Greek myth, 

List of Stories Edit

Story Title Series and Order Number Author Lead(s) Supes
“Painted Love” Rob Thurman Doodle, Bart unknown supe
“The Three Lives of Lydia” Blud series Delilah S. Dawson Lydia, Charlie Bludman (vampires)
“The Demon Barker of Wheat Street” Iron Druid Chronicles #4.6 Kevin Hearne Atticus, Granuaile, Oberon druid
“The Sweeter the Juice” Mark Henry Jade Reynolds zombies
“The Werewife” Jaye Wells Annie and Brad werewolf
“The Cold Girl” Rachel Caine Kiley, Jamie
“A Duet with Darkness” Abby Sinclair series #0.5 Allison Pang Melanie St. James, Nobu
“Recession of the Divine” Hillary Jacques Olivia, Thaila Olympians
“Parlor Tricks” Elemental Assassin series #8.5 Jennifer Estep Gin, Bria elemental mage
“Freak House” Kelly Meding Balthazar djinn, werewolf, dark sorcerer, creatures
“The Inside Man” Jane True series Nicole Peeler Capitola Jones, Moo and Shar
“A Chance in Hell” Hell on Earth series #0.7 Jackie Kessler Jezebel the succubus, Ceci, Daun succubus, demon
“Hell’s Menagerie” Charlie Madigan series #4.5 Kelly Gay Rex, Emma, Brim hellhound
“Daughter of the Midway, the Mermaid, and the Open, Lonely Sea” Seanan McGuire Ada & mom mermaid

Synopsis by StoryEdit

“Painted Love” by Rob Thurman

A violent carnie with homicidal tendencies—shocking, stick-with-you ending. — Doodle travels, and watches. That’s what you learn right off the bat — nothing more, nothing less, other than his feelings about the world (which are masterfully described). He observes, and currently he hangs around Bart, a violent sociopath that wears a mask of handsome gentleman. But Bart has a plan that could hurt someone that Doodle has fallen in love with.


“The Three Lives of Lydia” by Delilah S. Dawson — Blud series

The story of a girl with a sad past who has found herself in another world through a portal. (more horror than UF) — Lydia is transported in front of a carnival that is bursting with Bludman (vampires), vicious animals, and Strangers, like her, that are not originally from this world. She is instantly recognized as completely layered in tattoos, something of an oddity back at home, and enters the entertaining place with Charlie, a Bludman.


“The Demon Barker of Wheat Street” by Kevin Hearne — Iron Druid Chronicles series, The #4.6

Atticus, Granuaile and Oberon visit Granuaile’s home town in disguise, but instead of family, they end up facing demons. Oberon plays a pretty big role in the story. — “investigation, danger, fight the bad guy, win!”. — The main character of this story is a druid, and he is at a carnival with his dog and his apprentice when he sees an attraction that seems…well, odd. An investigation leads to a lot of action, giving this an edge in the excitement value.


“The Sweeter the Juice” by Mark Henry

Transsexuals, sex reassignment surgeries, hysterical pregnancies, all in the middle of a zombie apocalypse—exercise in hilarity. — It asks the question of what happens to pre-op trans patients after the zombie apocalypse, in a world when most doctors have been killed. — We start out with learning our character is a male, although he is making the transition to female slowly but surely. Jade Reynolds feels trapped in the wrong gender, but then her treatment is cut as her payment is overdue. Also at this time, a zombie apocalypse has taken over the world, adding another level of morbidity to Jade’s life of poverty, prejudice, and danger.


“The Werewife” by Jaye Wells

about a put-upon husband who’s looking for a cure for his wife after she is bitten by Jo-Jo the dog-faced boy at a carnival and turns into a werewolf. To save her—and himself—he must battle the demonic ringmaster, Valentina, and her stable of freaks. ~ Other Works | Jaye Wells —  couple finds their marriage strained after a visit to a carnival. It was an interesting examination of how the supernatural can show the cracks in a relationship. — Brad’s wife is a werewolf, and Annie and Brad don’t have a stable relationship, but it gets by, until the carnival comes to town.


“The Cold Girl” by Rachel Caine

It’s about a teenaged girl who discovers her boyfriend has been up to no good (and not the usual “he’s cheating” no good either), what happens when he finds out she knows his secret, and how she retaliates. — Kiley is deeply in love with Jamie, has been for a long time, and she doesn’t see the warning signs until it’s too late. Her friends tried to tell her he was a jerk, probably cheating, but they didn’t know he was a murderer. Discovering this while at a carnival with him, she must fight for her life even as her heart is broken in two.


“A Duet with Darkness” by Allison Pang — Abby Sinclair series #0.5

straightforward presentation of what happens to the prideful. — It's centered on a violinist, Melanie St. James, who ran away from home in order to be with her love interest, Nobu. She has more power than she knows, and she’s not the only one who wants to use it.


“Recession of the Divine” by Hillary Jacques

Makes excellent use of Greek mythology without falling back on the usual suspects. —  Olivia is immediately noticed as supernatural — being associated with the Olympians who is living as a human, although you don’t know what she is until the end. She has powers, and some people want them for evil. — Olivia is immediately noticed as supernatural — being associated with the Olympians who is living as a human, although you don’t know what she is until the end. She has powers, and some people want them for evil.


“Parlor Tricks” by Jennifer Estep — Elemental Assassin series #8.5

Gin and her sister Bria search for a missing girl, last seen visiting the carnival the previous night. Those who follow the series and know about the strained relationship between the sisters will thoroughly enjoy their easy banter and partnership in this story. And of course, as a special treat, Gin’s sarcasm gets unleashed as her disdain for carnivals comes to light. — Gin is an infamous assassin the Spider by night, and owner of a resteraunt by day – she is also an elemental and sister to Bria, a detective. On a case to find Elizabeth, who went missing at a carnival, things get rather messy in an intriguing, action-packed tale. ~ Free at: Amazon,  iTunes, and Barnes & Noble


“Freak House” by Kelly Meding – Strays series (a possible new series)

A half-djinn named Shiloh must team up with a former Army Ranger and a werewolf in order to find a traveling freak show that has imprisoned her djinn father, as well as other supernatural creatures. ~ Kelly Meding — The daughter of a djinn, or genie, sets out to set her dad loose from a dark sorcerer who managed to capture him. Balthazar runs a show full of caged paranormal citizens (paras) that is reserved for only the richest.


“The Inside Man” by Nicole Peeler — Jane True series he background characters of Capitola, Moo and Shar are investigating a rather interesting case that takes them straight to a carnival. The story is told in Capitola’s point of view and is both energetic and hilarious. — Uses “clowns are scary” trope. Three female detectives who work together and who are friends investigate some strange happenings but two of them fall prey to it, leaving the last one to rescue her friends and save everyone else affected. All of the women are nonwhite. — Capitola Jones runs an investigation business, and her next job is to discover who has been stealing the personalities and memories of various towns. And obviously, some searching leads them to the carnival.


“A Chance in Hell” by Jackie Kessler — Hell on Earth series #0.7

Jez is trying to learn about humanity in order to fight the King of Hell for his throne. — The main character of this was originally living in hell, but now has a soul and a human body, and is being coached on human lifestyle by Ceci, her best friend. Dragged by Ceci to the carnival for some “human experiences,” she ends up with a more exciting day than she had planned.


“Hell’s Menagerie” by Kelly Gay — Charlie Madigan series #4.5

This story takes place during Charlie’s quest in Elysia—Rex and Emma, saving their exotic hellhound puppies from a traveling circus. — Emma, Rex, and Brim find more than they bargained for as they traverse hell, tracking down a macabre carnival where beasts and being are put to the ultimate test in matches to the death. ~ Kelly Gay — features the daughter of that series’s heroine and her quest to rescue some hellhounds who’ve been stolen for an underground fighting ring. — Emma and Rex own a hellhound named Brimstone, but after his pups are stolen, they go on a quest to take them back.


“Daughter of the Midway, the Mermaid, and the Open, Lonely Sea” by Seanan McGuire

A haunting story about mermaids. It’s about growing up, family secrets, and relationships between mothers and daughters. — Ada is a mermaid, and so is her mother. She works at the carnival, where her mom is the main attraction. But she must stay out of the sea, stay dry: water wipes the memories of mermaids, and as long as she doesn’t get wet then she can keep her legs and hide her heritage.

Description Sources:  

Cover Blurb Edit

A star-studded urban fantasy anthology starring bestselling authors Rachel Caine, Jennifer Estep, Kevin Hearne, Seanan McGuire, and Rob Thurman, and including Delilah S. Dawson, Kelly Gay, Mark Henry, Hillary Jacques, Jackie Kessler, Kelly Meding, Allison Pang, Nicole D. Peeler, and Jaye Wells, whose stories explore the creepy, mysterious, and, yes, sometimes magical world of traveling carnivals.

The traveling carnival is a leftover of a bygone era, a curiosity lurking on the outskirts of town. It is a place of contradictions — the bright lights mask the peeling paint; a carnie in greasy overalls slinks away from the direction of the Barker’s seductive call. It is a place of illusion — is that woman’s beard real? How can she live locked in that watery box?

And while many are tricked by sleight of hand, there are hints of something truly magical going on. One must remain alert and learn quickly the unwritten rules of this dark show. To beat the carnival, one had better have either a whole lot of luck or a whole lot of guns — or maybe some magic of one’s own.

Featuring stories grotesque and comical, outrageous and action-packed, Carniepunk is the first anthology to channel the energy and attitude of urban fantasy into the bizarre world of creaking machinery, twisted myths, and vivid new magic. ~ Carniepunk-Jennifer Estep

Cover ArtistEdit

Tony Mauro

Publishing InformationEdit

  • Publisher: Gallery Books
  • Book data: Paperback, 433 pages, Published July 23rd 2013—ISBN: 1476714150

External Links Edit

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Goodreads: Series & Story Pages:

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