Laughter at the Academy by Seanan McGuire
**We received an early copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. We’d like to thank Seanan and Subterranean Press for the opportunity. This book comes out today and you can get it here or from your local independent bookstore**
Reviewed by Ginny!
What I drank prior: cider. Im at a boos and brews event. And ended up drinking some really nice light tart cider.
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.
Drunk Overview: well this is a collection of short stories so this is gonna have to be a bit different than normal.
The wonderful things about all these stories is that theres a tinge of horror in every one. McGuires pseudonym “Mira Grant” usually takes the outright horror (if you want something thats going to make you feel like the world is slightly unsafe I high suggest these works) but these stories, for all the fantastic elements, have these gritty feelings of doom.
Im going to take some time to talk aboit two of my favorite stories and why I liked these short stories. Ive found a number of auyhors make it really hard to get into a short story. Full length novels are great if you want to inteoduce things like slang and titles without any background but it shott stories I think you need to give a bit more so the audience can be invested from the beginning. McGuire is good at that. Even the stories that didnt have me 100% still had immediate hooks.
One of the stories that really got me was focused on Pandoras box and how to live in this world as an “other.” It was one of those books where part of you is cheering for a murder before finally feeling almost ablittle conflicted when it happens. Its a stoty that shows the worst of humanity and some of the best in the world.
The other story that made a lasting impact was about the US Navy running a “mermaid” team which did a beautiful job dealing with changing loyalties, gradual changes, and the blindspots that come with “people on charge” making decisions that they will never actually see face to face.
Im the sort of person who will finish a book and immediately start the next one. Ive read enough that not every book needs a space to stop and digest, and yet I foubd myself building on a bteak for almost every story. There wete such differences between stories that thete could almost be whiplash between wanting to exist in the worlds while being absolutely terrified of what could become of an individual in those worlds. Yeah, time to digest = necessary
What to pair it with: is it cheating to say a flight? I want a beer flight. The lind of flight that goes from pilsner to porter, a taste of everything for someone who knows they like beer. This isnt a series of short stories I would suggest for someone who hasn’t read McGuire ot something sinilar but oh so enojoyable otherwise.
Rating: 5/5 Shots