From fairy tale forest to gloomy gothic moor, from gleaming epidemiologist’s lab to the sandy shores of Neverland, Seanan McGuire’s short fiction has been surprising, delighting, confusing, and transporting her readers since 2009. Now, for the first time, that fiction has been gathered together in one place, ready to be enjoyed one twisting, tangled tale at a time. Her work crosses genres and subverts expectations.
Meet the mad scientists of “Laughter at the Academy” and “The Tolling of Pavlov’s Bells.” Glory in the potential of a Halloween that never ends. Follow two very different alphabets in “Frontier ABCs” and “From A to Z in the Book of Changes.” Get “Lost,” dress yourself “In Skeleton Leaves,” and remember how to fly. All this and more is waiting for you within the pages of this decade-spanning collection, including several pieces that have never before been reprinted. Stories about mermaids, robots, dolls, and Deep Ones are all here, ready for you to dive in.
This is a box of strange surprises dredged up from the depths of the sea, each one polished and prepared for your enjoyment. So take a chance, and allow yourself to be surprised.
McGuire shows off the versatility and creativity that have become her hallmarks in this excellent selection of stories from the past decade. All McGuire's passions medical marvels and terrors, apocalyptic scenarios, mermaids, portal fantasies are on full display, each offering a window into a world of possibility and complicated emotions. Standouts include "The Lambs," about robot students inserted into schools to combat bullying, and "Each to Each," which sees genetically engineered mermaids serving aboard submarines in the near future. Some play with form: interdepartmental communication in "Office Memos," Twitter feeds in "#connollyhouse #weshouldntbehere," and crowdfunded projects in "Bring About the Halloween Eternal!!!" Others, such as "Emeralds to Emeralds, Dust to Dust," a noir Oz pastiche, and "In Skeleton Leaves," a military fantasy that examines Peter Pan from Wendy's point of view, put new spins on familiar tales. Uplifting and heartbreaking, provocative and comforting, this collection is a treat for fans, an ideal introduction for newcomers, and an excellent source of insight into what makes McGuire so popular across a variety of genres. Reading it is like opening a box of candy and never knowing which sweet little treat will destroy civilization as we know it.