Read the First Two Chapters of In an Absent Dream, Seanan McGuire’s New Wayward Children Novella

Lundy is a very serious young girl who would rather study and dream than become a respectable housewife and live up to the expectations of the world around her. As well she should.

When she finds a doorway to a world founded on logic and reason, riddles and lies, she thinks she’s found her paradise. Alas, everything costs at the goblin market, and when her time there is drawing to a close, she makes the kind of bargain that never plays out well.

In an Absent Dream is a stand-alone fantasy tale from Seanan McGuire’s award-winning Wayward Children series, which began with Every Heart a Doorway. Available January 8, 2019 from Tor.com Publishing.

 

 

Chapter 1
A Very Ordinary Garden

1964

In a house, on a street, in a town ordinary enough in every aspect to cross over its own roots and become remarkable, there lived a girl ...

Deep Roots, Deep Wounds: Dealing With the Unavoidable Lovecraft

Growing up as a genre-loving child in the United States during the 1980s, there were figures and faces that couldn’t be avoided. It didn’t matter whether you liked epic fantasy or not: odds were good that you would know who Tolkien was, and be able to explain, at least in broad strokes, the story he’d been trying to share. Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, C.S. Lewis, they all loomed large over the literary landscape we were trying to transverse, setting the shape of the world around us. There were women among their number—Anne McCaffrey, James Tiptree, Jr., A.C. Crispin—but they weren’t very common, and they rarely seemed to sink their roots as deeply.

And then there was H.P. Lovecraft.

As a little girl sneaking horror novels in the rear stacks of my local library, I knew that something was off about Lovecraft’s way of looking at the ...

Beneath the Sugar Sky Seanan McGuire excerpt Chapters 1 and 2

The Bodies of the Girls Who Made Me: Fanfic and the Modern World

Rovina Cai trail of books

A good friend of mine—whose name I am not using here, because some bruises deserve to go unprodded, and she has a right to be hurt—said recently, “Every time I talk about writing fanfiction, I get hate mail.” She wasn’t exaggerating. I’ve seen, with my own eyes, what happens to authors, especially female authors, especially female authors of young adult fiction, when they mention their time in the fanfic world.

I got angry. On her behalf; at the world; at the unfairness of it all. What you are about to read came out of that anger. Much of this originally appeared on my Twitter, one concise chunk at a time. I’ve expanded it a little, cleaned it up, and clarified the places where it wasn’t exactly right the first time. The original thread is still on Twitter, if you feel the need to verify that I haven’t changed my ...

Beneath the Sugar Sky Seanan McGuire excerpt Chapters 1 and 2

Pamela Dean’s Tam Lin Changed My Life

We are the product of the books we read as children and young adults. They shape the vocabulary we use to shape the world we live in: they spark interests and ideas and ideals that we may never be consciously aware of harboring. Sometimes we’re lucky. Sometimes we can point to the exact moment where everything changed.

I was fourteen. I read like books were oxygen and I was in danger of suffocation if I stopped for more than a few minutes. I was as undiscriminating about books as a coyote is about food—I needed words more than I needed quality, and it was rare for me to hit something that would actually make me slow down. It was even rarer for me to hit something that would make me speed up, rushing toward the end so I could close the book, sigh, flip it over, and start again ...

Beneath the Sugar Sky Seanan McGuire excerpt Chapters 1 and 2

Learning to Write Fluffy, Glittery Violence from My Little Pony

I don’t have many memories from before I was six. I don’t think most people do. We have the idea of memories, the stories our families have told us about how cute we were when we were little, the ridiculous things we did or said or believed. It seems weird to me sometimes that I could have forgotten the things people tell me happened, like the time I brought a rattlesnake home to be my new pet, or the time I spent an entire summer taking taps on top of bookcases, but that’s the thing about human memory. It doesn’t play fair.

One of those early memories, though, one of those rare, precious, treasured memories, is walking through a department store with my grandmother. I was four. She was taking me to get a present. I’m not sure why: it may have had something to do with my mother’s impending ...

mylittleponies-1981
Beneath the Sugar Sky Seanan McGuire excerpt Chapters 1 and 2

Coping with Destiny: The Chosen Children of Portal Fantasy

As part of our Cyber Week eBook Sale (Tuesday, November 28 to Sunday, December 3), Seanan McGuire’s standalone Wayward Children novella Down Among the Sticks and Bones is only $2.99 at your favorite retailer!

Let’s talk about doors for a moment, you and I.

Let’s talk about the power of something closed, whether or not it’s been forbidden; the mystery of the trapdoor that leads up into the attic, the powerful draw of the locked hatch that leads down into the cellar, the irresistible temptation of someone else’s fridge or medicine cabinet. We want to know what’s on the other side—and I don’t mean we want to be told. We want to see. We want to look with our own eyes, and know that no one can take that looking away from us. People are curious. It’s one of our defining characteristics. We want to know.

Children’s stories are ...

Seanan McGuire Wayward Children

Beneath the Sugar Sky (Wayward Children #3)

Beneath the Sugar Sky Seanan McGuire

Beneath the Sugar Sky, the third book in McGuire’s Wayward Children series, returns to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children in a standalone contemporary fantasy for fans of all ages. At this magical boarding school, children who have experienced fantasy adventures are reintroduced to the “real” world.

When Rini lands with a literal splash in the pond behind Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children, the last thing she expects to find is that her mother, Sumi, died years before Rini was even conceived. But Rini can’t let Reality get in the way of her quest—not when she has an entire world to save! (Much more common than one would suppose.)

If she can’t find a way to restore her mother, Rini will have more than a world to save: she will never have been born in the first place. And in a world without magic, she doesn’t have ...

Beneath the Sugar Sky pond illustration Rovina Cai

Down Among the Sticks and Bones: Chapters 1 and 2

Down Among the Sticks and Bones Seanan McGuire

< p class="frontmatter">Twin sisters Jack and Jill were seventeen when they found their way home and were packed off to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.

This is the story of what happened first…

Jacqueline was her mother’s perfect daughter—polite and quiet, always dressed as a princess. If her mother was sometimes a little strict, it’s because crafting the perfect daughter takes discipline.

Jillian was her father’s perfect daughter—adventurous, thrill-seeking, and a bit of a tom-boy. He really would have preferred a son, but you work with what you’ve got.

They were five when they learned that grown-ups can’t be trusted.

They were twelve when they walked down the impossible staircase and discovered that the pretense of love can never be enough to prepare you a life filled with magic in a land filled with mad scientists and death and choices.

Seanan McGuire returns to her popular Wayward Children series with Down ...

Down Among the Sticks and Bones

Down Among the Sticks and Bones Seanan McGuire

< p class="frontmatter">Twin sisters Jack and Jill were seventeen when they found their way home and were packed off to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.

This is the story of what happened first…

Jacqueline was her mother’s perfect daughter—polite and quiet, always dressed as a princess. If her mother was sometimes a little strict, it’s because crafting the perfect daughter takes discipline.

Jillian was her father’s perfect daughter—adventurous, thrill-seeking, and a bit of a tom-boy. He really would have preferred a son, but you work with what you’ve got.

They were five when they learned that grown-ups can’t be trusted.

They were twelve when they walked down the impossible staircase and discovered that the pretense of love can never be enough to prepare you a life filled with magic in a land filled with mad scientists and death and choices.

Seanan McGuire returns to her popular Wayward Children series with Down ...

The Chosen Children of Portal Fantasy

Let’s talk about doors for a moment, you and I. Let’s talk about the power of something closed, whether or not it’s been forbidden; the mystery of the trapdoor that leads up into the attic, the powerful draw of the locked hatch that leads down into the cellar, the irresistible temptation of someone else’s fridge or medicine cabinet. We want to know what’s on the other side—and I don’t mean we want to be told. We want to see. We want to look with our own eyes, and know that no one can take that looking away from us. People are curious. It’s one of our defining characteristics. We want to know. Children’s stories are filled with doors just begging to be opened, and some of the best and most beloved of those stories are about opening those doors. About traveling over the rainbow to a magical, Technicolor land where ...
Every Heart a Doorway cover reveal Seanan McGuire

A Good Horror Story Hinges on Sincerity

I watch a lot of horror movies. However many you’re thinking right now, I regret to inform you that you have woefully underestimated the number of horror movies that I have watched in my lifetime. I watch a lot of horror movies. My earliest cinematic memories involve horror movies—Alien when I was three years old, sitting on my uncle’s lap in the living room of our old apartment; The Blob after a midnight trip to the emergency vet to have a cattail removed from my cat’s eye; Critters in my grandmother’s living room, elbows buried in the plush beige carpet, dreaming of marrying the handsome red-haired boy in the lead role. So many horror movies. The only form of media that has arguably had more of an influence on me than the horror movie is the superhero comic book (which is a whole different kettle of worms). The standards ...

Persephone

nevertheless_monofaked

On International Women’s Day, several of the best writers in SF/F today reveal new stories inspired by the phrase “Nevertheless, she persisted”, raising their voice in response to a phrase originally meant to silence.

The stories publish on Tor.com all throughout the day of March 8th. They are collected here.

 

Persephone

 

She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.

They told us about the dangers of giving blood, broke it down bit by bit, but Mary said we had to. She wanted a shot for a better job, which meant online access and taxis to the uppers for interviews, and I wanted to know I wouldn’t get caught pregnant if some fool down on the lowers thought I looked a good brood mare. So we went to the Rejuve Center, her all pretty in her newest dress, me in overalls and scuffed-out shoes, and ...

mcguire-authorphoto

Persephone

nevertheless_monofaked

On International Women’s Day, several of the best writers in SF/F today reveal new stories inspired by the phrase “Nevertheless, she persisted”, raising their voice in response to a phrase originally meant to silence.

The stories publish on Tor.com all throughout the day of March 8th. They are collected here.

 

Persephone

 

She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.

They told us about the dangers of giving blood, broke it down bit by bit, but Mary said we had to. She wanted a shot for a better job, which meant online access and taxis to the uppers for interviews, and I wanted to know I wouldn’t get caught pregnant if some fool down on the lowers thought I looked a good brood mare. So we went to the Rejuve Center, her all pretty in her newest dress, me in overalls and scuffed-out shoes, and ...

mcguire-authorphoto

If You’re Ready, We Might Go Along Then: Authors and Artists Celebrate Richard Adams and Watership Down

richardadams

“My heart has joined the Thousand, for my friend stopped running today.”

–Richard Adams, Watership Down

It’s a funny world. When you ask people who love our genre—who write it, who read it, whose art is inspired and enriched by it—what books helped to form them, you’ll hear the same titles over and over again, shuffled like a deck of cards. Tolkien. McCaffrey. Bradbury. Butler. Some writers might cite Lewis or Lovecraft or Shelley, while others go to King and Friesner and Tiptree. But one strange constant—strange in the sense that it’s not really a genre novel at all, it’s not set in a fantasy world or filled with rockets shooting for the distant stars; the only monsters are all too realistic—is a quiet book about the inner lives of rabbits. Watership Down has, somehow, become a touchstone of modern genre, inspiring writers to write, readers to keep reading, ...

If You’re Ready, We Might Go Along Then: Authors and Artists Celebrate Richard Adams and Watership Down

richardadams

“My heart has joined the Thousand, for my friend stopped running today.”

–Richard Adams, Watership Down

It’s a funny world. When you ask people who love our genre—who write it, who read it, whose art is inspired and enriched by it—what books helped to form them, you’ll hear the same titles over and over again, shuffled like a deck of cards. Tolkien. McCaffrey. Bradbury. Butler. Some writers might cite Lewis or Lovecraft or Shelley, while others go to King and Friesner and Tiptree. But one strange constant—strange in the sense that it’s not really a genre novel at all, it’s not set in a fantasy world or filled with rockets shooting for the distant stars; the only monsters are all too realistic—is a quiet book about the inner lives of rabbits. Watership Down has, somehow, become a touchstone of modern genre, inspiring writers to write, readers to keep reading, ...

My Little Ponies: Like 4-H, But for Weirdos

mylittlepony-catrina I don’t have many memories from before I was six. I don’t think most people do. We have the idea of memories, the stories our families have told us about how cute we were when we were little, the ridiculous things we did or said or believed. It seems weird to me sometimes that I could have forgotten the things people tell me happened, like the time I brought a rattlesnake home to be my new pet, or the time I spent an entire summer taking taps on top of bookcases, but that’s the thing about human memory. It doesn’t play fair. One of those early memories, though, one of those rare, precious, treasured memories, is walking through a department store with my grandmother. I was four. She was taking me to get a present. I’m not sure why: it may have had something to do with my mother’s impending ...
mylittleponies-1981
duskdark-thumbnail

Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day

Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day by Seanan McGuire

< p class="frontmatter">When her sister Patty died, Jenna blamed herself. When Jenna died, she blamed herself for that, too. Unfortunately Jenna died too soon. Living or dead, every soul is promised a certain amount of time, and when Jenna passed she found a heavy debt of time in her record. Unwilling to simply steal that time from the living, Jenna earns every day she leeches with volunteer work at a suicide prevention hotline.

But something has come for the ghosts of New York, something beyond reason, beyond death, beyond hope; something that can bind ghosts to mirrors and make them do its bidding. Only Jenna stands in its way.

Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day is a new standalone urban fantasy novella from Seanan McGuire, available January 10th from Tor.com Publishing.

   

Manhattan, 2015

“Hello?” The voice is timid; the ones who call between midnight and three a....

Fairy Tales and Poetry: Pamela Dean’s Tam Lin

tam-lin-classic We are the product of the books we read as children and young adults. They shape the vocabulary we use to shape the world we live in: they spark interests and ideas and ideals that we may never be consciously aware of harboring. Sometimes we’re lucky. Sometimes we can point to the exact moment where everything changed. I was fourteen. I read like books were oxygen and I was in danger of suffocation if I stopped for more than a few minutes. I was as undiscriminating about books as a coyote is about food—I needed words more than I needed quality, and it was rare for me to hit something that would actually make me slow down. It was even rarer for me to hit something that would make me speed up, rushing toward the end so I could close the book, sigh, flip it over, and start again ...
OnceBrokenFaith

Once Broken Faith

OnceBrokenFaith

< p class="frontmatter">Politics have never been October “Toby” Daye’s strong suit. When she traveled to the Kingdom of Silences to prevent them from going to war with her home, the Kingdom of the Mists, she wasn’t expecting to return with a cure for elf-shot and a whole new set of political headaches. Now the events she unwittingly set in motion could change the balance of modern Faerie forever, and she has been ordered to appear before a historic convocation of monarchs, hosted by Queen Windermere in the Mists and overseen by the High King and Queen themselves.

Naturally, things have barely gotten underway when the first dead body shows up. As the only changeling in attendance, Toby is already the target of suspicion and hostility. Now she needs to find a killer before they can strike again—and with the doors locked to keep the guilty from escaping, no one is safe.

As ...

Sincerity is the Watchword

Theatrical Poster for THE BLOB, 1958

I watch a lot of horror movies. However many you’re thinking right now, I regret to inform you that you have woefully underestimated the number of horror movies that I have watched in my lifetime. I watch a lot of horror movies. My earliest cinematic memories involve horror movies—Alien when I was three years old, sitting on my uncle’s lap in the living room of our old apartment; The Blob after a midnight trip to the emergency vet to have a cattail removed from my cat’s eye; Critters in my grandmother’s living room, elbows buried in the plush beige carpet, dreaming of marrying the handsome red-haired boy in the lead role. So many horror movies. The only form of media that has arguably had more of an influence on me than the horror movie is the superhero comic book (which is a whole different kettle of worms).

The standards ...

every-heart