Chicago 1893 is a site to behold with The United Americas Exhibition bringing magical displays, automatons, and dinosaurs to the eyes of passersby. Abril and Geula are part of an impressive magic show that they insist is merely slight of hand and feats of impressive distraction. What the audiences don’t know is that what Abril does, through the figure known as Professor Perfectus, is actual magic. The two women are hoping to use this exhibition to help them make a life of their own away from all of the people looking for them, but before they can leave their hidden secrets will come to light in the story “The Hollow History of Professor Perfectus.”
When three women known as the Jewels of Chicago Society offer to pay Geula a large sum to help find a woman missing from one of their charity houses, Abril finds herself confronted by a terror she has been attempting to escape. A new sort of automaton is being introduced by Mr. Edison, someone who Abril manged to escape only 9 years before, and this specific invention is an exact replica of the missing woman. What stands on the stage is something that has perverted all of Abril’s uncle’s designs and what Geula and Abril see before them is a horror of scientific imagining. With secrets being revealed the two women will have to not only take time to understand each other, but also to stop the evils of Edison’s work.
Ginn Hale’s short story drops readers into the action of Geula and Abril fighting against the oppression of society both of mages and of women. The magic in this book is artfully woven into the story in a way that makes it believable and Abril’s powers give her a strong air throughout. Geula is also a determined character who uses this mission to save a captive woman to benefit the two of them. While they may not know everything about each other at the part of this story their connection grows deeper and they show a tremendous amount of love toward each other. While this story was shared at a number of conventions, you can also find it within the pages of The Long Past and Other Stories.