Publish and Perish: Ada Hoffman’s “The Mother of All Squid Builds a Library”

This post is by Ruthanna Emrys, Anne M. Pillsworth from Frontpage Partial - Blog and Story Content

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Welcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s sandbox, from those who inspired him to those who were inspired in turn.

This week, we’re reading Ada Hoffman’s “The Mother of All Squid Builds a Library,” first published in December 2013 in Strange Horizons and later collected in Hoffman’s Monsters in My Mind. Spoilers ahead.

[Since today’s story is shorter than our usual summary, why not just read it in all its undersea glory now?  You won’t regret it!]

“In the Fourth Year of the Hydra, the Mother of All Squid built a library.”


The Mother of All Squid, having heard from the whales of splendid upper world libraries, decides to build her own.  She sends fifteen of her bodies to the whales, asking for contributions, but they scoff — libraries belong to ...