Laughter at the Academy
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.Enjoy.

Laughter at the Academy Details

TitleLaughter at the Academy
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseOct 31st, 2019
PublisherSubterranean Press
ISBN-139781596069282
Rating
GenreShort Stories, Fantasy, Horror, Anthologies, Fiction

Laughter at the Academy Review

  • karen
    January 1, 1970
    you guys, i might do it this time. https://subterraneanpress.com/laughte...*****************************5/13 UPDATE - I TOTALLY DID IT!!!! EEEEEEEEE! please don't let the poorhouse get me before this pubs!****************************5/21 okay, NEW UPDATE!i was feeling guilty about buying myself a $40 book until i realized this doesn't come out until HALLOWEEN! which means i won't even be charged for it for more than five months! surely in that time i will have $40 to spare, right? i mean, it's not that i don't have $40 to my name - i'm not that close to dying in the gutter. yet. but there are a lot of books and i w you guys, i might do it this time. https://subterraneanpress.com/laughte...*****************************5/13 UPDATE - I TOTALLY DID IT!!!! EEEEEEEEE! please don't let the poorhouse get me before this pubs!****************************5/21 okay, NEW UPDATE!i was feeling guilty about buying myself a $40 book until i realized this doesn't come out until HALLOWEEN! which means i won't even be charged for it for more than five months! surely in that time i will have $40 to spare, right? i mean, it's not that i don't have $40 to my name - i'm not that close to dying in the gutter. yet. but there are a lot of books and i want them all and i'm poor and still dealing with cancer-bills &etc and i shouldn't be buying myself fancy books. but wannit. SO! let's see how long it takes to stockpile $40 worth of loose change! i have bought this container:which means i am out an additional $1.09, but i bet i can still do it. THERE WILL BE UPDATES! BECAUSE THIS IS THE KIND OF THING THAT PEOPLE PAY FOR INTERNET ACCESS IN ORDER TO MONITOR! OR WAIT IN LONG LINES AT THE LIBRARY WITH BATED BREATH AND ANXIOUS HEARTS! OR PLACE FERVID BETS UPON AT WATERING HOLES ACROSS THE GLOBE! CAN KAREN ACCUMULATE $40 IN CHANGE? INTERNET-USERS, START YOUR ENGINES! *****************************6/23 new update! nearly one month of tossing my spare change into this container and i already have $35.70! so there, book! i have almost earned you! *****************************8/6 NEW UPDATE!this is $82 in change! i can buy TWO books if i want to! but i won't, because 'sensible spending' is my middle name, and i'm uneasy enough about buying even one of these, although this spare change project revealed to me all my secret wealth. SEEEEKRIT WEALTH!*****************************10/17 NEW UPDATE! OH NO!!!You're receiving this email because you were kind enough to preorder Seanan McGuire's Laugher at the Academy direct from us. We have a short status update.Last night, our printer emailed that three of their binding machines had gone down at once, and that a few of our titles would be delayed, Seanan's among them. We now expect to be start shipping copies of Laughter at the Academy in early November.Please accept our apologies for this delay. We look forward to sending copies of Seanan's collection to everyone who ordered as soon as we possibly can.*****************************Table of Contents:Laughter at the Academy: A Field Study in the Genesis Of Schizotypal Creative Genius Personality Disorder (SCGPD)LostThe Tolling of Pavlov’s BellsUncle SamEmeralds to Emeralds, Dust to DustCrystal Halloway and the Forgotten PassageHomecomingFrontier ABCs: The Life and Times Of Charity Smith, SchoolteacherWe Are All Misfit Toys in the Aftermath of the Velveteen WarThe LambsEach to EachBring About the Halloween Eternal!!!Office MemosLady Antheia’s Guide to Horticultural WarfareDriving Jenny HomeThere Is No Place for Sorrow in the Kingdom of the ColdIn Skeleton LeavesPlease Accept My Most Profound Apologies for What Is About to Happen (But You Started It)Threnody for Little Girl, With Tuna, At the End of the WorldFrom A to Z In the Book of Changes#connollyhouse #weshouldntbehereDown, Deep Down, Below the Waves
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  • Chelsea Humphrey
    January 1, 1970
    Short stories are not my forte, but I adore Seanan McGuire and think she's one of the most talented authors of our time. Naturally, I had to check this short story collection out. As is the case with most anthologies, some stories will resonate with the reader while others simply pass the time, and overall I think this was worth the effort spent in each world reading. I would have loved to have seen a few stories as full length novels, but I adored how Down, Deep Down, Below the Waves seemed to tie i Short stories are not my forte, but I adore Seanan McGuire and think she's one of the most talented authors of our time. Naturally, I had to check this short story collection out. As is the case with most anthologies, some stories will resonate with the reader while others simply pass the time, and overall I think this was worth the effort spent in each world reading. I would have loved to have seen a few stories as full length novels, but I adored how Down, Deep Down, Below the Waves seemed to tie into the author's previous mermaid novels. Overall, an enjoyable collection from one of my top 10 authors. *Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy via NetGalley.
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  • Amy Imogene Reads
    January 1, 1970
    This was such an impressive, immersive, and invigorating collection of short stories by one of the most talented authors in the game. Concepts: ★★★★★Writing: ★★★★★My love for this author's work: could rattle the starsBilled as a short story collection to introduce new readers to Seanan McGuire's tales, I want to edge back on that comparison and say that I found my prior knowledge of Seanan McGuire's stories and themes to be a pivotal part of the reading process. Don't get me wrong, it's an impressive col/>My/> This was such an impressive, immersive, and invigorating collection of short stories by one of the most talented authors in the game. Concepts: ★★★★★Writing: ★★★★★My love for this author's work: could rattle the starsBilled as a short story collection to introduce new readers to Seanan McGuire's tales, I want to edge back on that comparison and say that I found my prior knowledge of Seanan McGuire's stories and themes to be a pivotal part of the reading process. Don't get me wrong, it's an impressive cold introduction too. But these tales have echoes of Wayward Children, Into the Drowning Deep, and Middlegame. They are introduced by Seanan herself, with her asides placing the narratives in context for the collection. I loved watching the master at work exploring similar themes across multiple mediums and story lines. A few of my favorite tales: Lost - a lyrical and heartbreaking take on the Peter Pan myth of children disappearing to the pirate ships in the sky. Uncle Sam - as a woman in America, this blood price thoughtlessly agreed upon by the Founding Fathers was...relevant. Crystal Halloway and the Forgotten Passage - Wayward Children fans will recognize the echoes the "doors to other realms" concept in this story of one girl's refusal to pick one world over the other--until the choice is made for her. Frontier ABCs - Miss Cherry singlehandedly keeps intergalactic peace, all the while teaching the new generation. Respect your teachers. We Are All Misfit Toys - Definitely not a favorite for the content, but I respect the concept, as this story of AI toys vs parents is chilling and graphic. In Skeleton Leaves - Another Peter Pan inspired tale, and I don't even care—this one of Wendys and Pans and how there must always be a Wendy, and there must always be a Pan...and some things must remain cyclical.Outside of these, there were stories on mermaids, militarized underwater hybrids, homecoming games, Wizard of Oz, disease control, bio-warfare, stories told through Tweets, stories told through goblin office memos, and more. This collection runs the gamut, but as a fantasy reader I was drawn to the tales most heavily inspired by fantasy.Laughter at the Academy comes out on October 31, 2019.Thank you to Subterranean Press via NetGalley for an ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Dave
    January 1, 1970
    Our friend, Forrest Gump, once said that life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you'll get. Well, opening up an anthology/short story collection by an author you've never heard of, let alone read, is kind of the same thing. No idea what to expect. No idea which direction it goes in other than some vague reference to fantasy. Apparently, though, McGuire has published some two dozen books about seven different fantasy worlds and has wide ranging interests from zombie apocolypses to Our friend, Forrest Gump, once said that life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you'll get. Well, opening up an anthology/short story collection by an author you've never heard of, let alone read, is kind of the same thing. No idea what to expect. No idea which direction it goes in other than some vague reference to fantasy. Apparently, though, McGuire has published some two dozen books about seven different fantasy worlds and has wide ranging interests from zombie apocolypses to candyland as well as a twisted fascination with the life of dolls. Who knew?There are a quite a number of stories in this collection and not all of them captured my interest (simply not my cup of tea). But, there were some really creative stories that are worth the price of admission. “We Are All Misfit Toys in the Aftermath of the Velveteen War” is the story of what happens when the learning dolls go to war with the adults and take the children with them as hostages. As silly as it sounds, it is quite a trip.“Down, Deep Down, Below the Waves” is the story of the future of the all-female submarine fleets where the women are modified to become more mermaid than human. It seriously could be the start of a whole series.“The Lambs” is the story of robots set to function in public schools undercover to ferret out bullies, an idea unique in its implementation because these are not like secret terminator robots, but secret recording teddy bear like children who play back recordings at graduation time. “Lady Antheia’s Guide to Horticultural Warfare” is the story of an invasion by plant people who want to rule the universe because they can.
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  • Tiffany
    January 1, 1970
    Laughter at the Academy is my first introduction to Seanan McGuire and what an introduction! The book is a collection of single author short stories - the first for McGuire. Prefacing each story is a brief peak into origin of the tale and subsequently our author. We have mad scientists, gremlin scientists(!), Neverland, Oz, the destruction of the human race, and on and on. With genres ranging from space opera to crime procedural to steampunk and so much more. Each story is crafted with a deft ex Laughter at the Academy is my first introduction to Seanan McGuire and what an introduction! The book is a collection of single author short stories - the first for McGuire. Prefacing each story is a brief peak into origin of the tale and subsequently our author. We have mad scientists, gremlin scientists(!), Neverland, Oz, the destruction of the human race, and on and on. With genres ranging from space opera to crime procedural to steampunk and so much more. Each story is crafted with a deft expertise that kept me hooked. Oh, did I forget to mention cheerleading valkyries? Because there are cheerleading Valkyries! This book just keeps on giving. McGuire cut her teeth in the world of fanfic and her love and reverence for the genres she explores, for the characters and the worlds that her characters inhibit is in full display.With each story I found myself diving into characters that felt whole and lived in. Recognizable yet unique. And I have to say I was floored by how well developed these characters felt within the limitations of short story framework. Nothing - characters, settings, or plot - ever feels short changed or rushed. More often than not I found myself wanting to spend more time in these worlds and with these characters. It's hard to pick a favorite story, it seemed with each I found myself saying "This is it! Nothing is going to top this one!" only to have the next swiftly rise to the top. A few of my favorites...Lost is an absolutely beautiful story about siblings, growing up, and letting go giving a twist to the world of Neverland. It's simple in its story telling but effective, guiding you through mystery, loss, sadness, and bittersweet happiness.Uncle Sam dives into urban legend wrapped in the origins of united states and tied together with the age old question of "why do women go to the restroom in pairs". This story is one where I feel McGuire's skill with characters shine. This group of friends sitting around celebrating, their well tread and gentle ribbing and camaraderie has been lived by all of us. The ending, while admittedly slightly predictable, is eerie and well handled. Absolutely gave me chills. Emeralds to Emeralds, Dust to Dust... Allow me to fan girl a bit. Within the first 3 paragraphs I was sold. By the end I wanted more, 12 books and a TV series, plskthx. I love this story and world with an intensity usually reserved for my cat. Dorothy 'Dot' Gale is a bad ass. She is the Wicked Witch of the West and a Princess of Oz. Set in, we'll Oz, but it's not the Oz of yesteryear. This Oz is gritty, segregated, and drug filled. I really, really, really, want to see this brought to life... Someone call Netflix!Office Memos gives us Gremlin scientists, what can go wrong? Lots. And then lots more. Written in the style of inter office memos and private emails we follow the ever escalating mishaps of Eustacia ni’Aiodhan, Gremlin Scientist. From explosions to accidental building invisibility and accidental gender reversal this story is a delight!Overall, this is a wonderful collection of short stories. One that I know I will go back to time and again. If you love fantasy, well crafted and strong female characters, unique twists to familiar and new worlds then you will adore Laughter at the Academy and Seanan McGuire! This book was provided to me by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and balance review.
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  • Elle Rudy
    January 1, 1970
    As my first dalliance into the expansive works of Seanan McGuire, I was glad to see that she had assembled this collection with new readers of hers in mind. I was debating whether I should start with her Wayward Children series, but I’m happy I went with the short stories. This way, you really get a full sampling of the types of stories she likes to tell.The ARC that I received didn’t number them, but I counted 21 in total, if I’m not mistaken. Totally could be, though, it wouldn’t be the fi As my first dalliance into the expansive works of Seanan McGuire, I was glad to see that she had assembled this collection with new readers of hers in mind. I was debating whether I should start with her Wayward Children series, but I’m happy I went with the short stories. This way, you really get a full sampling of the types of stories she likes to tell.The ARC that I received didn’t number them, but I counted 21 in total, if I’m not mistaken. Totally could be, though, it wouldn’t be the first time. Each story has a short preamble at the beginning, explaining for which publication it was originally written and her thought process conceiving it. I appreciated these and felt like it helped me get in a proper mindset, especially if you’re planning to read multiple stories right after one another. I had to take breaks after reading many of them. There was often so much to digest and process that it can be difficult to just power through in one sitting.This is just a testament to her writing, though. It’s very fitting that she’s releasing this collection on Halloween. I didn’t know quite what to expect going into this, but I was delighted with how grim and twisted they could be. Maybe delighted isn’t the right word...it feels weird to be so happy with something generally unhappy, isn’t it? I was satisfied, how about that? ‘Deeply satisfied’ feels more akin to how I felt after each work of fiction. One of the things I liked the best was the abundance of female ‘villains’, for lack of a better word. McGuire doesn’t typically make it as simple as good and evil, but there are some truly sinister women in these stories and I loved it. It reminded me of what Gillian Flynn had said about her own female villains, “Women have spent so many years girl-powering ourselves to the point of almost parodic encouragement [that] we’ve left no room to acknowledge our dark side.” I want more interesting women in fiction, which includes scary, ruthless and even the dreaded ‘unlikeable’. I can’t wait to read more from this author who has truly embraced writing her own dark side.*Thanks to Subterranean Press & Netgalley for an advance copy!
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  • Kathryn Speckels (Metaphors and Miscellanea)
    January 1, 1970
    "Most of all, this book is for all those fools who laughed at me in the academy. I may not be raising the dead yet, but I still know where my shovel is." It’s no secret that I think Seanan McGuire is pretty great. I’ve only read a few of her books, but I’ve massively enjoyed them all. I knew she was great before I started on this collection, but boy howdy, she has outdone herself. Twenty-two short stories, all filled with her signature wit, wistfulness, and love for all things strange and disturbing. "Most of all, this book is for all those fools who laughed at me in the academy. I may not be raising the dead yet, but I still know where my shovel is." It’s no secret that I think Seanan McGuire is pretty great. I’ve only read a few of her books, but I’ve massively enjoyed them all. I knew she was great before I started on this collection, but boy howdy, she has outdone herself. Twenty-two short stories, all filled with her signature wit, wistfulness, and love for all things strange and disturbing.I would offer a summary if I could, but of course, short stories don’t lend themselves to that sort of thing. On my blog post (you can find it HERE), I've included a full listing of stories, along with my brief thoughts on each of them. I'd transfer them all here, but formatting for Goodreads posts is a royal pain, especially when incorporating lots of block quotes and things like that, and I'm a little too lazy. In general, though, there are quite a few running themes and common topics, including, but not limited to: fairytales (especially Peter Pan), childhood and growing up, science (and the limits thereof), experiments (including ones on your so-called friends), magic, ethics, mythology, ghosts, warfare, the future of life on Earth, the ocean and fish/mermaids, AI, pollution, and dolls. There is an abundance of feminism and plenty of positive queer representation. The styles range from conventional stories to text interspersed with field guide notes to a literal crowdfunding campaign that tells its own story, because let’s face it: nothing Seanan does is conventional. In other words, it’s everything I could have asked for in a book. And, with all the eeriness and magic, it’s perfect for this time of year.While not every story was perfectly to my liking, every single one was highly original and well-executed, and I did enjoy them all, just in different amounts and capacities. In a short story collection, you’re bound to have at least one or two you don’t like as much as the others, because if there was no variety…well, it wouldn’t be a very good collection, would it? There is definitely variety here, and while there are some common themes, nothing feels redundant. In the preface, the author mentions that this is a combination of some of her best stories and some that, while maybe not her best, are still her favorites. I completely understand why–even if the execution isn’t flawless (though it is pretty dang close, as her writing is beautiful and incredibly well-suited to the kinds of stories she tells), the originality more than makes up for any minor stumbles (and, again, there aren’t many).I could keep going on about how much I loved it, but I guess the most important part here is just that this is a stellar collection, and perfect for the most obsessed fan, the casual reader, or even someone totally new to Seanan’s work. "This is where, by format, I should offer up some extended metaphor, like “follow me into the forest” or “let’s go walking in the fields together, you and I,” but my metaphors are in my fiction, and tend to be pretty weird." In short: read this book. Revel in the weirdness and wonder. And Happy Halloween! TRIGGER/CONTENT WARNINGS: pretty much all of them, honestly. No racism that I can recall, I guess. I’m sure I’m forgetting some, but they include depression, suicidal ideation, domestic abuse, allusion to child abuse, lots of death, violence/gruesome moments, sexism, homophobia/transphobiaThank you to Subterranean Press for providing me with an eARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!
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  • Beth
    January 1, 1970
    This is a collection of short stories written by Seanan McGuire. I can say that I truly appreciated McGuire's ability to write some spectacularly haunting and twisted but relateable, and that is what made them so haunting, tales. The stories show a dark side to humanity for both the villains and the people who allow the villains to promulgate their evil deeds.This is not my normal pick in reading material and not for the light hearted reader. That being said, it was extremely well wr This is a collection of short stories written by Seanan McGuire. I can say that I truly appreciated McGuire's ability to write some spectacularly haunting and twisted but relateable, and that is what made them so haunting, tales. The stories show a dark side to humanity for both the villains and the people who allow the villains to promulgate their evil deeds.This is not my normal pick in reading material and not for the light hearted reader. That being said, it was extremely well written, spooky, imaginative and flawlessly original. The collection of stories highlights the shadowy and murky side of humanity. Lets just say, I'd never want Seanan McGuire set on causing world inhalation, by these stories, she could pull it off.I received this ARC copy of Laughter at the Academy from Subterranean Press. This is my honest and voluntary review. Laughter at the Academy is set for publication October 31, 2019.My Ratings: 5 starsWritten by: Seanan McGuirePrint Length: 442 pagesPublisher: Subterranean Press (October 31, 2019)Genre: Paranormal | Urban FantasyAmazon: https://www.amazon.com/Laughter-at-Ac...Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/laug...
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  • Carole (Carole's Random Life in Books)
    January 1, 1970
    This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.I liked this book even if it wasn't my favorite. I felt like I was reading this book forever. That has more to do with how I tend to read short story collections than the writing contained in these stories. A collection like this one that contains over 20 stories has a lot of natural stopping points and I do tend to stop after finishing a story. I do think that this was a great way to see how Seanan McGuire's versatility. This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.I liked this book even if it wasn't my favorite. I felt like I was reading this book forever. That has more to do with how I tend to read short story collections than the writing contained in these stories. A collection like this one that contains over 20 stories has a lot of natural stopping points and I do tend to stop after finishing a story. I do think that this was a great way to see how Seanan McGuire's versatility.This collection had a little bit of everything. If you are looking for a mermaid story, you will find it. A story about a little girl and the world's last tuna? It is here. There is a haunted house story, a story set in Neverland and another in Oz. There is even a story about a war with toys and another about a very special dollmaker. The writing was as varied as the stories. There was a story that was writing as a series of tweets, another as a series of office memos, and another as a crowdfunding proposal.As is the case with most short story collections, I found myself enjoying some stories a lot more than others. There were some stories that I didn't care for much at all, some I loved, some I thought were okay, and a few that just confused me. I am easily confused so that doesn't really mean much.I would recommend this book. I think that this was an overall enjoyable collection with some pretty outstanding stories. I haven't read a lot of Seanan McGuire's work but I do plan to read more in the near future.I received a digital review copy of this book from Subterranean Press via NetGalley.Initial ThoughtsI finally finished this book. I feel like I have been reading it forever but I think that is due to the fact that I find short story collections really easy to set aside after finishing a story. This book has over 20 stories so that I a lot of putting the book down. I liked some of the stories a whole lot, some were okay, some I didn't care for, and some just confused me. Of course, I am easily confused so that may not mean anything. All in all, I am glad that I read this one.
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  • Marzie
    January 1, 1970
    How long have we waited for a collection of short fiction by Seanan McGuire? So long, and yes, I know there is a collection of her short fiction as Mira Grant, but that's Mira fiction (Rise: A Newsflesh Collection and watch out, because it's full of zombies.) This collection, as Seanan McGuire, doesn't have stories from any of her series universes. You will fi How long have we waited for a collection of short fiction by Seanan McGuire? So long, and yes, I know there is a collection of her short fiction as Mira Grant, but that's Mira fiction (Rise: A Newsflesh Collection and watch out, because it's full of zombies.) This collection, as Seanan McGuire, doesn't have stories from any of her series universes. You will find no Velveteen, no Toby Daye, no InCryptid, and no portals for Wayward Children. But you will find some of my favorite stories she's written over the past decade, from the heart-searing "Threnody for Little Girl, With Tuna, at the End of the World" to the chilling "Down, Deep Down, Below the Waves," an entirely satisfying Lovecraftian tale that strips out everything I loathe about Lovecraft's world and leaves me with the creepy-scary things I love about it. Of course, we aren't short on horror here, because it's still Seanan, though it isn't the science-y horror of Mira Grant. There are still places you shouldn't go to, like the Connolly House. (No, really, don't go there, really don't... go... don't... Come, Come, Come) There is the story of Dot (that would be Dorothy) in her role as the Wicked Witch of the West, Princess of Oz, Crossover Ambassador, and her falling out with the Undying Empress, Princess Ozma, her ex, who called Dot a political liability. There are twenty-two stories in the volume, which is a generous 376 pages in length. Longtime readers may recognize them, though the author has polished them further for this edition. The collection is already sold out in a limited hardcover edition with beautiful illustrations from Subterranean Press. But you can still enjoy it in ebook format if you didn't get in early on pre-orders, which are becoming a must for SubPress's Seanan McGuire titles. Laughter at the Academy releases October 31 (so apropos), but readers should note that a series of printing press repairs have slightly delayed the hardcover edition. Anyone who has ever held one of the spectacular limited editions from Subterranean Press in their hands will know that a short delay means nothing once you're holding a gorgeous volume in your hands. The paper! The illustrations! I'll happily wait for mine to arrive. I received a Digital Review Copy of this book from Subterranean Press in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Haley McGough
    January 1, 1970
    This was a great short story collection for me. All but one or two of the stories resonated well with me. The introductions at the beginning of each of the stories are great; they give background and inspiration for each story. McGuire plays with format in a few of the stories, which worked well and kept things interesting. Most of these stories have been previously published and are just being bound together in an author specific collection.
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  • Crystal Steele
    January 1, 1970
    Oh my, how I wish I could crawl up inside Ms. McGuire's brain and explore haha. This collection of stories may be my favorite read of the year so far. There's something for everyone... from dystopia, AI gone wrong, after life stories and spooky haunted houses. I laughed and cried at times. Definitely would recommend to anyone that enjoys fantasy.
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  • Amber
    January 1, 1970
    A perfect sampling of the weirdness that is Seanan McGuire.From mad science and urban legends to Peter Pan and the Wizard of Oz, it's all here. The title story is one of my all-time favorites.
  • Liz (Quirky Cat)
    January 1, 1970
    Laughter at the Academy is Seanan McGuire's first true collection of short stories, by her own words. If you've read any of Seanan McGuire's works, then you probably already have a good idea of what will be in store for you here. So I don't need to explain all of the reasons you should be reading this. If you haven't read Seanan McGuire, this is an excellent sampling of her works, and thus worth checking out. Laughter at the Academy consists of twenty-two short stories; Laughter at the Aca Laughter at the Academy is Seanan McGuire's first true collection of short stories, by her own words. If you've read any of Seanan McGuire's works, then you probably already have a good idea of what will be in store for you here. So I don't need to explain all of the reasons you should be reading this. If you haven't read Seanan McGuire, this is an excellent sampling of her works, and thus worth checking out. Laughter at the Academy consists of twenty-two short stories; Laughter at the Academy, Lost, The Tolling of Pavlov's Bells, Uncle Sam, Crystal Halloway and the Forgotten Passage, Emeralds to Emeralds, Dust to Dust, Homecoming, Frontier ABCs: The Life and Times of Charity Smith, Schoolteacher, We Are All Misfit Toys in the Aftermath of the Velveteen War, The Lambs, Each to Each, Bring About the Halloween Eternal!!!, Office Memos, Lady Antheia's Guide to Horticultural Warfare, Driving Jenny Home, There Is No Place for Sorrow in the Kingdom of the Cold, In Skeleton Leaves, Please Accept My Most Profound Apologies for What Is About to Happen (But You Started It), Threnody for Little Girl, With Tuna, at the End of the World, From A to Z in the Book of Changes (which is technically twenty-six even shorter stories), #connollyhouse #weshouldntbehere, and finally, Deep, Deep Down, Below the Waves. This was an amazing collection, one that will push readers through a gambit of emotions, from horror to sadness, back around to amused and joyous. Seanan McGuire's stories are sure to enthrall and fascinate. “This is where, by format, I should offer up some extended metaphor, like 'follow me into the forest' or 'let's go walking in the fields together, you and I,' but my metaphors are in my fiction, and tend to be pretty weird.”Laughter at the Academy Laughter at the Academy is the namesake of this collection, and with good reason. This is a tale that takes the mad scientist trope, and spins and twists it until it's something new and different. In a world where mad scientists are a literal thing, what can the public do, except try and find a standardized test for madness? I adored this short story. It was funny, it was whimsical. And in many ways, it was also just a little bit down to earth. I honestly would have loved to see an entire novel along this theme, but I'm not going to complain about what I got here. Lost Lost is the tale of well...lost children. What would happen, if all the children under the age of fourteen began to sing, and followed an unknown mystery into space? That is what McGuire explores in this tale. There was something so beautiful and eerie about this tale. In some ways, this short story felt like a fragile being – handle it too roughly, and you'll dash it upon the rocks. But it was also fierce, in that it really did dig into my heart. Once again, I would have loved to see more of this tale.The Tolling of Pavlov's Bells The Tolling of Pavlov's Bells explores a concept that may be familiar to those that have read A Kingdom of Needle and Bone. And I mean that in a positive way, of course. Here Seanan McGuire explores a scientist set out to teach the world a lesson – a lesson about quarantine procedures, and how fatal it can be to fail to follow them. First I just want to say that I love the title of this short story. It's perfect. Second, once again this was an absolutely eerie tale. I adored everything about it, even while it utterly creeped me out. And I mean that in the best ways possible...even if it will make me hesitate when entering a highly trafficked area...for the rest of my life.Uncle Sam America may be one of the youngest counties out there, but that hasn't stopped it from collecting its own lore and legends. But what if the lore was more than just a myth? Here is a dark and disturbing tale, about how our country was founded, and the price of maintaining it. Oh god, there was something so utterly disturbing about this tale. Perhaps because it resonated so deeply within me. In truth, it'll resonate with any woman who has ever been told to be mindful of where she is, and where she should never go alone.Crystal Halloway and the Forgotten Passage This is Seanan McGuire's first go at writing a portal fantasy, according to the description. And I've got to say, she nailed it. Here is a sad, yet beautiful tale, about a young girl who became a warrior, but then had to face a whole new challenge in her life. In many ways, Crystal Halloway and the Forgotten Passage felt so poignant. Who among us hasn't felt a keen sense of loss, in regards to their childhoods? McGuire manages to reach into that emotion, and write out an entire tale surrounding it. Emeralds to Emeralds, Dust to Dust This short story is McGuire's take of The Wizard of Oz. What if Dorothy went home, but kept finding herself back in Oz, again and again? More, what if she wasn't the only one to keep coming back – despite her best efforts? This short story was a darker tale on the world, but it just felt so...right. It's delightfully colored by her own perception and writing, and thus worth reading for both fans of Oz, and fans of McGuire.Homecoming Homecoming explores the concept of modern Valkyries – those whose job it is to guide the spirits of the dead to their final resting place. What would these Valkyries look like now, with how much our lore, religion, and societies have changed? No Seanan McGuire collection is complete without a ghost story or two. This is a heartwarming tale, but it is also such a prime example of her work. Only McGuire could combine ghosts and football into something such as this. Frontier ABCs: The Life and Times of Charity Smith The wild west meets space in this short story. Charity Smith was not a woman to be crossed, and she won't tolerate all of the wars that keep sprouting up all over the universe. And she certainly won't allow innocents to keep getting between the battles. Once again, I found myself wanting to see more of this tale. It was so fascinating, and I just love how Charity's backstory was slowly revealed over time, while also showing us the full brunt and cost of the wars.We Are All Misfit Toys in the Aftermath of the Velveteen War If there are two things that should possibly never combine, it's AI and children's toys. Yet that is exactly the story Seanan McGuire explores here, and the darker conclusion of such interactions. Okay, this is one of those short stories that is going to chill you to the bone. No, that's not quite right. It's going to change the way you look at your childhood toys. McGuire's writing is beautifully macabre in this tale, using repetition to force the horror of the tale to fully sink in.The Lambs The Lambs is a look at how the future might try and handle bullying. In a world where we can create incredibly advanced robots, why not design them to make them appear human? Here these androids have been deployed to find the bullies in schools, and take the abuse so the humans can survive. Wow. This was a dark tale. But it was also so much more. Part of me felt pity for the lambs, while the rest of me wondered how a program such as this would work in real life. It's certainly a food for thought sort of short story, and those are always my favorite types.Each to Each Each to Each is Seanan McGuire's obligatory mermaid story – you just knew that she was going to fit one in here. In this tale, mermaids meet the navy in a tale of transformation and engineering – all while covering some prolific and heavy subjects. Themes that are commonplace in today's time. I can't tell you how much I adored this short story. It was pure Seanan McGuire. I love that it addressed several important subjects (misogyny and transphobia), but I also love the world that she built here, and would desperately love to see more of it.Bring About the Halloween Eternal!!! It isn't every day you see a story masquerading as a crowdfunding project, yet that is exactly what Seanan McGuire created here. Here, you'll see it combined with her love for Halloween. It's a delightful and slightly inane combination, which makes it perfect in so many ways.Office Memos Office Memos is exactly what it sounds like; a collection of office memos. Only...there's a catch. The office is a Polytechnic Engineering and Research facility, and is full of whimsical and insane science fiction and fantasy moments. This short story had me laughing out loud at so many points. It was a breath of fresh air from all of the heavier stories in this collection. And I would have loved it even without that element. It was hilarious and cute and so very sassy. It really was best suited to a short story format, but still, I find myself wishing I could have seen more...Lady Athenia's Guide to Horticultural Warfare Steam punk meets H.G. Wells in Lady Athenia's Guide to Horticultural Warfare. Athenia is not, and has never been, what she appears to be. Nor is she a being that can be bent to anybody's will. But you can rest assured, she'll be memorable at a party... This was a fun and fantastical tale. It was proper, in the way you expect all steampunk tales to be. But it also had bite to it, and that is what I loved most of all.Driving Jenny Home If you've read Seanan McGuire's Ghost Road series, then you already know that she's fascinated with hitchhiking ghosts. This is an earlier incarnation of that tale. Jenny was off to her prom, when she and her girlfriend, Leigh, were in a fatal car accident. Fatal for Jenny, that is. Leigh had to live with what happened that night. This is a story for which you'll be grateful to have tissues around. Still, it was fascinating and beautiful. But I might be biased, since I love the Ghost Road series so much. I can see a lot of the influence of this piece, and it was truly lovely as a short story here. There Is No Place for Sorrow in the Kingdom of the Cold There Is No Place for Sorrow in the Kingdom of the Cold is another tale about dolls and toys, but with a completely different take. Marian is a dollmaker, but for her, it goes beyond a hobby. Thanks to her connection to the Kingdom of the Cold, she can infuse her emotions into the dolls she makes. But there is a price for crossing their path. This was a fascinating and delightful tale. It unraveled perfectly, but still left me wishing that there was more to it. That's just how perfect this story was. It was an interesting take on the connection between people and their possessions, and a memorable one at that.In Skeleton Leaves In Skeleton Leaves is McGuire's take on the classic Peter Pan tale – a darker world than we might have read about growing up. But that seemed to fit perfectly with both the tale, and what we've seen of McGuire's previous works. Honestly? This tale was perfect. I've loved Peter Pan since I was a kid, but it always felt like it was missing something...something darker to add a bit of weight to the story. And I feel like this perfectly captured what I had always felt was missing.Please Accept My Most Profound Apologies for What Is About to Happen (But You Started It) It is hard to describe this one, without giving it all the way. Suffice it to say that it combines many of Seanan McGuire's great loves; Jurassic Park/dinosaurs, genetic engineering, and beautifully twisting expectations. Threnody for Little Girl, With Tuna, at the End of the World Threnody for Little Girl, With Tuna, at the End of the World may be a slightly long title, but it perfectly fits the story within. This is the story of the last tuna fish, and the very special connection one girl – now woman – had with it. This was a heartwarming and heartbreaking tale, all in one. It covered a lot of different themes and concerns, from growing up to what damage we're doing to our planet. And naturally, I loved everything about this story.From A to Z in the Book of Changes From A to Z in the Book of Changes is quite literally a collection of twenty-six one word prompts, that Seanan McGuire then turned into a series of very quick short stories. It's something I've never seen done before, and was a truly unique experience to read. #connollyhouse #weshouldntbehere Once again, Seanan McGuire has managed to tell a tale from a strange media format. This time around her tale is being told through tweet (twitter) format. Yes, you read that right. Throughout these tweets, a dark and disturbing horror is slowly revealed. And she made excellent use of hashtags to add subtext. It was perfection. Deep, Deep Down, Below the Waves Deep, Deep Down, Below the Waves combines Lovecraft horror and McGuire's writing into something new and amazing. If you've read the tale of Innsmouth, then you're already perfectly positioned to be horrified and fascinated by what happens here. This was perhaps my favorite short story out of the whole collection, which is saying something. I loved McGuire's take on Innsmouth and its strange residents. I honestly would love nothing more than seeing this adapted into a full novel format. But for now, I'll be content with what I have here.
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  • Meghan
    January 1, 1970
    Because I am a delight who doesn’t like it when her friends get too much sleep.I cannot express how much I adore Seanan McGuire’s work. She has a gift of being able to slide into any genre and twist it into her own world, her own little touch of macabre. I am sure she would even appreciate that I am working on this review in the attic (alone) of a waiting lounge from the 1870's, where people waited after the funeral before going to the grave site. (What can I say, I get a lot of writing done while I am Because I am a delight who doesn’t like it when her friends get too much sleep.I cannot express how much I adore Seanan McGuire’s work. She has a gift of being able to slide into any genre and twist it into her own world, her own little touch of macabre. I am sure she would even appreciate that I am working on this review in the attic (alone) of a waiting lounge from the 1870's, where people waited after the funeral before going to the grave site. (What can I say, I get a lot of writing done while I am working at the museum — which is, in part what the attic is.) I am still new to her work, but I think this book is an excellent representation of what to expect when you pick up a story by Seanan McGuire.I just cannot wait to see Spider Gwen go against some of these creations.Thank you Subterranean Press and Netgalley for a copy of this book in exchange for a review. Rants, Raves, and Reviews Haven’t you ever noticed how fairies only come when there are things to be taken away?Since this is a collection of short stories, there isn’t a way to summarize each and every story, especially without giving away a twist. Instead, I have included a copy of the Table of Contents at the bottom of this review, so you can get an idea of how truly creative some of these titles are.This is McGuire’s first collection of short stories under her name (I am not entirely sure if she has one under Mira Grant that isn’t just an anthology for a specific series, but no matter.) All of these stories have been published in other anthologies or places, and McGuire takes the time before each story to explain where it might have been published, why she included it, and occasionally, content warnings. All of which are appreciated.What I love about this collection is that it show cases stories of fantasy, sci-fi, steampunk, and horror without ever feeling like it’s redundant. Sure, you can figure out fairly quickly that McGuire has a fascination for the sea (something that should send me running to the hills) and science and mad scientist. In fact, the collection is named after the first short story of the collection, which is about mad scientists. The moment I read the full title of the short story, “Laughter at the Academy: A Field Study in the Genesis of Schizotypal Creative Genius Personality Disorder (SCGPD),” I knew I was in for a trip I was going to love. I ended up going through this anthology fairly slowly, savoring stories and sometimes thinking for days after about it. In fact, I read “Uncle Sam” probably 10 days ago, and was still trying to explain it to someone earlier today. This collection is just that good.While I do love some stories more than others, I don’t think there is a bad one in this bunch. I believe McGuire curated the stories herself, and I think she really did an excellent job. Even the ones that I shouldn’t like (anything involving water), I was still entertained and hooked. What is even more fascinating is how McGuire’s mind works. McGuire takes a prompt that sometimes seems ridiculous — I actually rolled my eyes at the idea of an anthology based on the idea that women work better in submarines, but the story “Each to Each” went in a direction that had me so turned around by the end that I loved it. Me, who avoids enclosed spaces in deep sea. It’s brilliant. Another time was one about robots, which tackles children bullying. I can’t explain my obsession with her mind.As someone who has a short story coming out next week, it was nice to be humbled by reading this collection and seeing how much room there is to grow. I hope I can be this brilliant at some point.Christ, there is one about a TUNA, and I just wanted to skip it. I am so glad I didn’t. Seanan, I’ll read your grocery lists if you want.Several stories are told in different formats, which is something I am now fascinated with. “Bring About the Halloween Eternal!!” “Office Memos,” and “#connollyhouse #weshouldntbehere” are all not in traditional short story formats. I won’t spoil what the formats are because they are an absolute treat to experience.Overall I am not a fan of anthologies or short story collections, mostly because I feel that they take some effort to get into and then they’re done just as quick. I have been working on it because I know there are so many collections out there that are amazing and worth it. Reading this has helped me to slow down and savor books again, plus an added bonus of a collection that is just too good to pass up. If you are new to McGuire’s work, this is a great place to start. It shows off her talents in different genres and keeps you on your toes, not knowing what to expect. Some had me down right terrified of her (Looking at you, “The Tolling of Pavlov’s Bells” and “Uncle Sam” — that was a fun Thursday morning) and some had me absolutely sobbing on public transportation (Looking at you, “Crystal Halloway and the Forgotten Passage” and “Homecoming.”)There are two Peter Pan inspired, one Wizard of Oz, and even one that is dedicated to how amazing Jurassic Park is. Be forewarned, several of these stories are going to make you uncomfortable with how awful humanity is, and what’s going to bring the end of the world. It’s entirely worth it.Short stories in the collection: Laughter at the Academy: A Field Study in the Genesis of Schizotypal Creative Genius Personality Disorder (SCGPD) Lost The Tolling of Pavlov’s Bells Uncle Sam Crystal Halloway and the Forgotten Passage Emeralds to Emeralds, Dust to Dust Homecoming Frontier ABCs: The Life and Times of Charity Smith, Schoolteacher We Are All Misfit Toys in the Aftermath of the Velveteen War The Lambs Each to Each Bring About the Halloween Eternal!!! Office Memos Lady Antheia’s Guide to Horticultural Warfare Driving Jenny Home There is No Place for Sorrow in the Kingdom of the Cold In Skeleton Leaves Please Accept My Most Profound Apologies for What Is About to Happen (But You Started It) Threnody for Little Girl, With Tuna, at the End of the World From A to Z in the Book of Changes #connollyhouse #weshouldntbehere Down, Deep Down, Below the Waves ****This is absolutely brilliant. RTF
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  • Jill Elizabeth
    January 1, 1970
    I am continually amazed at the prodigious amount of writing that Seanan McGuire turns out - the woman must never sleep... She's one of the few authors whose short work I reliably like (in such rarefied company as Neil Gaiman and Connie Willis, no less), and since she's featured in so many anthologies, she's often one of the reasons I decide to go against my natural inclination and pick up a book of shorts. When I saw she had a collection of entirely her own short fiction, I was naturally intrigu I am continually amazed at the prodigious amount of writing that Seanan McGuire turns out - the woman must never sleep... She's one of the few authors whose short work I reliably like (in such rarefied company as Neil Gaiman and Connie Willis, no less), and since she's featured in so many anthologies, she's often one of the reasons I decide to go against my natural inclination and pick up a book of shorts. When I saw she had a collection of entirely her own short fiction, I was naturally intrigued. This collection doesn't disappoint - although it does prove my general position about short story collections - namely, that even if you love the author, you won't always love all the stories...Generally speaking, this is a fantastic collection. There's a great mix of topics and genres covered, from steampunk to horror to supernatural to the just plain bizarre (something McGuire excels at). It felt like reading a number of different authors, but with her particular Seanan-ness touch to each one - if that makes any sense. She's so versatile, it's like she has 73 people living inside her head - which, given her proclivity for weird, maybe she does... Several of these felt decidedly Mira Grant (one person who clearly DOES live inside her head, since it's her most prolific pseudonym), while others felt completely Seanan McGuire, and since I really like both voices, that was cool for me.A number of these appear to be from her earlier writing, which was cool, because I only happened to find one story that I'd already read before. Usually if an author compiles an anthology of their own shorts, it's to collect things that have already been published elsewhere and give their diehard fans a chance to own those myriad pieces in one book (or, I suppose, cynically - give the author a chance to double-dip on previously written work). While it's true that many (most) of these are previously published, I personally hadn't come across many of them, so for me this was a truly great find, even if I didn't engaged at the highest levels with all of the stories. A couple felt like precursors or parallels to some of her Mira Grant stand-alone works like Into the Drowning Deep (hard-core mermaids) and In the Shadow of Spindrift House (Lovecraftian Others), and that was interesting because it felt like a peek behind the curtain into where those worlds came from.I'm not a huge fan of steampunk or alien/space sci-fi, so those tales were out of my wheelhouse - although still written with McGuire panache, they weren't as good to me simply because they're not topics I particularly enjoy reading. I do love when she writes supernatural and Just Plain Weird stuff, and those were the highlight of the collection for me. My favorites bar none were the doll stories - what is it about dolls and the creepy factor?! Those two - one taking artificial intelligence into exactly the kind of scary place I imagine it going (We Are All Misfit Toys in the Aftermath of the Velveteen War) and the other playing fast-and-loose in an incredibly original way with the Pinocchio mythology (There is No Place for Sorrow in the Kingdom of the Cold) - were incredible: original, eerie, and delightfully descriptive in the darkest, best way. There were a couple of tales that riffed off of Peter Pan - one (Lost) was probably my favorite of the collection; the other (In Skeleton Leaves) was marvelously crafted but for some reason just didn't resonate with me the same way. There's a cool story-as-tweets that was dark and clever and creepy - and for me to admit that is a Big Deal since non-traditional narrative formats usually fall flat with me (case in point, From A to Z in the Book of Changes, a "tale" she tells through the alphabetic submissions of readers - which felt more like an attempt to be clever and inclusive than an actual story to me). She covers classic ghost tales (Driving Jenny Home) and urban legends (Uncle Sam) in her signature, take-no-prisoners style of wry wit and creepy atmospherics. And The Tolling of Pavlov's Bells was horrifyingly timely and downright terrifying for its eerie possibility.All in all this was a fabulous collection that I devoured in two sittings (only because I couldn't read it as it got late or I'd NEVER have slept). McGuire is an incredibly talented storyteller - she blends original ideas with existing mythology, and the alchemical process by which she does so produces a result that is indeed golden...Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my review copy.
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  • Autumn
    January 1, 1970
    4 / 5 addictive stars!Seanan McGuire is one of my favorite authors. While I’ve only read a few of her works, what I have read I enjoyed so much that I consider her one of my auto-buy authors. Naturally, when I received an email saying that my request for a review copy of this book had been approved I squealed and leaped in headfirst. I would like to begin by saying that we should all take a moment to be grateful that McGuire has chosen to be an author rather than, say, a mad scientis 4 / 5 addictive stars!Seanan McGuire is one of my favorite authors. While I’ve only read a few of her works, what I have read I enjoyed so much that I consider her one of my auto-buy authors. Naturally, when I received an email saying that my request for a review copy of this book had been approved I squealed and leaped in headfirst. I would like to begin by saying that we should all take a moment to be grateful that McGuire has chosen to be an author rather than, say, a mad scientist; I truly believe she is so brilliant and creative she could accomplish world domination if she really wanted to. Every story in this collection was unique, and I am envious of her imagination - even the ones I didn’t enjoy as much were still fresh and unexpected. Adding to the charm was the blurb by the author at the beginning of each story. They were delightful, and it was interesting to learn about the origins of each story.I went into this collection 100% blind, being completely unfamiliar with all of the stories. I believe this made it all the better, and added to the reading experience. As such, I’ll try to touch on a few of my favorite stories, as well as ones I didn’t enjoy as much, without giving too much away.Uncle Sam - I LOVED this one. It was the perfect length, and was such a fresh and unique take on the age old question of “why do girls always go to the bathroom together”? I love this one so much I shoved it in my husband’s face and said “READ THIS”. I would love if the true story of Uncle Sam and the founding fathers became a viral modern folktale.Emeralds to Emeralds, Dust to Dust - this one wasn’t my favorite, and part of the reason is because I'm not a big fan of “The Wizard of Oz” and its corresponding universe. I appreciated the fresh take, but it’s not my cup of tea. This one also felt rather front-loaded: a lot of information and action in the first half that fizzled out by the end. It started out with a bang, but didn’t quite reach its full potential.We Are All Misfit Toys in the Aftermath of the Velveteen War - if she ever wrote a full length novel based on this idea, I would buy it in a heartbeat. This walked the perfect line between horror and fantasy, tugging on my heartstrings while making me terrified of a not-too-distant future.Each to Each - my absolute favorite story in the collection. “Into the Drowning Deep” was one of my favorite reads this year, and I’m a sucker for mermaids and the deep sea. This was so unique and atmospheric, I felt like I was deep beneath the sea in a submarine, longing for something more. I wish this one was longer and I could truly dive into its pages.Bring About the Halloween Eternal!!! - a story written in the form of a kickstarter campaign. Lighthearted and funny, and actually made me laugh out loud a few times. I would throw $5 at this campaign.In Skeleton Leaves - I didn’t enjoy this one all that much, mainly because it felt difficult to follow. Maybe that’s because I haven’t heard the story of Peter Pan in a while, but it left me confused and scratching my head by the end. A good idea, but not the greatest execution.Threnody for Little Girl, With Tuna, at the End of the World - this one almost made me cry. Perhaps it was the evocative language, or perhaps because it was jarringly realistic, but if you had told me I would be tearing up on a Saturday night at a story about a fish dying I wouldn’t believe you. This was both heartbreaking and thought provoking. #connollyhouse #weshouldntbehere - a short horror story told in the form of tweets. Maybe I loved the kickstarter story too much, but this one just didn’t do it for me. I thought the format would be fun, but instead I found myself slightly annoyed with the style.Down, Deep Down, Below the Waves - what a way to finish with a bang! This was the longest story in the bunch, and the slow burn in the beginning made the dawning realization all the more satisfying. Atmospheric, creepy, and left me wanting more. I have a feeling I’ll be thinking about this story for the next few days. All in all, I immensely enjoyed this short story collection. I was torn while reading it because I wanted to both devour and savor every story. If you’re a longtime fan of Seanan McGuire, or completely new to her work, there’s something in here for everyone.Many thanks to Subterranean Press and Netgalley for my review copy!
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  • Ashley
    January 1, 1970
    Seanan McGuire is one of my favorite authors, so I was beyond excited to dive into this collection. It was awesome! Each story was unique and different, yet still contained McGuire's creative genius and signature style. If you're new to McGuire's work, then Laughter at the Academy is an excellent place to start. I usually find that most short stories are just too short and lack the depth they need to make a good story. But that's not the case with McGuire. She's near-flawless in her ability to t Seanan McGuire is one of my favorite authors, so I was beyond excited to dive into this collection. It was awesome! Each story was unique and different, yet still contained McGuire's creative genius and signature style. If you're new to McGuire's work, then Laughter at the Academy is an excellent place to start. I usually find that most short stories are just too short and lack the depth they need to make a good story. But that's not the case with McGuire. She's near-flawless in her ability to take just a few words and weave them in such a way as to create a full and meaningful experience that lacks for nothing. There were a few stories that weren't really to my tastes, but the vast majority of them were awesome. Here are some of my favorites. Laughter at the Academy: A Field Study in the Genesis of Schizotypal Creative Genius Personality Disorder (SCGPD) - This story takes a rather interesting look and approach to the term “mad scientist” where it's treated like a disease of the worst order. I liked it. It raised some good questions. The Tolling of Pavlov's Bells - The Tolling of Pavlov's Bells was an absolutely terrifying read for this hypochondriac. An author/microbiologist has created something with the potential to wipe out all of humanity. It was so scary because it was so realistic! Thanks to this story, I'll be having nightmares for weeks to come. Crystal Halloway and the Forgotton Passage - This was an emotional portal fantasy. Crystal was torn between two worlds, The Otherways where she was a champion and hero to the realm, and the world she was born in, the reality that felt less and less real each time she left. Emeralds to Emeralds, Dust to Dust - This was a grittier take on Oz. Dorothy, or Dot as she prefers now, is not the sweet, innocent little girl we remember, but a bitter and angry woman. She's a Princess of Oz. The Wicked Witch of the West. I was a little unsure about this story in the beginning, but once the mystery really got going I was sold and really, really enjoyed it. I'd love more stories set here. Frontier ABCs: The Life and Times of Charity Smith, Schoolteacher - This was a space opera that had a bit of a western flair to it. Neither one of those genres are my favorites, but I LOVED this story. It was so much fun and I'd love more stories about Miss Cherry. We Are All Misfit Toys in the Aftermath of the Velveteen War - AI toys go rogue and start a war. This story was disturbing, terrifying, and heartbreaking. It shines a light on the dangers of what might happen with artificial intelligence. Truly horrifying, and yet, I want more. Office Memos - Office Memos was a hilarious story that followed the wacky lab incidents of a gremlin scientist. This was one of my absolute favorites. I loved it and wished it would've kept going. I didn't want it to stop. #connollyhouse #weshouldntbehere - Follow alongside a character as she live tweets her experience inside a haunted house. I really liked this one. The fact that it was told only in tweets was a fun twist. Just a little warning though, it's VERY creepy! Gave me quite a fright! I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed it. All thoughts and comments are my honest opinion.
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  • Stacey
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to NetGalley for providing a copy of this book for an honest review. Seanan McGuire is among my top five favorite authors. If you have read her works you probably love her too. If you haven't this short story anthology "Laughter at the Academy" will be a great introduction. There is at least a little something for all readers in this collection. My count shows twenty one stories bundled here. This author has a very twisted mind and it makes for some great stories. (I am also a bit conc Thank you to NetGalley for providing a copy of this book for an honest review. Seanan McGuire is among my top five favorite authors. If you have read her works you probably love her too. If you haven't this short story anthology "Laughter at the Academy" will be a great introduction. There is at least a little something for all readers in this collection. My count shows twenty one stories bundled here. This author has a very twisted mind and it makes for some great stories. (I am also a bit concerned she is planning to destroy the world since I've read these shorts!) I didn't dislike any of the stories but there were a few I was just 'ok' about. That said, I want to highlight some of my favorites:We are All Misfit Toys in the Aftermath of the Velveteen War- This story about a world where smart toys revolt is my absolute favorite. The plot, the world, are so developed and engrossing I'd love to see this story expanded. It has a ton of heart too.Uncle Sam- super short story about why women go to the restroom together. This story was pretty creepy!Lost- A story about a world where children disappeared one night and the aftermath of the event. Again fantastic world and very emotional. I want more.The Lambs- Human like robots are walking the halls of high schools both to attract bullies from other human students and to record bullying behavior. Office Memos- a laugh out loud series of office memos from a very unusual lab/officeDriving Jenny Home- Who doesn't love a ghost story? I loved the twist on this one.There is No Place for Sorrow in the Kingdom of the Cold- holy cow! This story about a dollmaker is creepy and sad and hints at so much more. I can see a series of books coming from this world. This includes a great revenge aspect.Threnody for Little Girl With Tuna at the End of the World- Beautiful and sad and ends on a creepy note. A true lament.Connelly House is a very quick horror story told in a series of tweets from a ghost hunter."Down, Deep Down Below the Waves"- This is another story I feel needs to be expanded. It is a bit longer than the other stories so you connect more with the characters and get to know the narrator's motivations. I will mention two others that I didn't love but I know others will:Emeralds to Emeralds is an OZ re-imagined story where Dorothy is grown and grumpy and is asked by Ozma, her ex lover, to solve a murder. I didn't care for this particular version of Dorothy but the world is intriguing.In Skeleton Leaves was more enjoyable to me. It is re-imagined version of Peter Pan. The kids are getting tired of being constantly at war with the pirates and their (newest) Pan has moved them to a much more violent world.This one is certainly a must for your short story collection or your Seanan McGuire collection. I adored it!
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  • Jen
    January 1, 1970
    This collection of previously published stories (although some were never published widely, such as those available to her Patreon supporters) ranges from fantasy to sci-fi to horror, so there is plenty of variety here for genre readers. Many of the stories in this volume are very much like the works she publishes as Mira Grant, so this collection would work well as an introduction to her full oeuvre. However, none of the stories in this collection are part of any of her established universes, w This collection of previously published stories (although some were never published widely, such as those available to her Patreon supporters) ranges from fantasy to sci-fi to horror, so there is plenty of variety here for genre readers. Many of the stories in this volume are very much like the works she publishes as Mira Grant, so this collection would work well as an introduction to her full oeuvre. However, none of the stories in this collection are part of any of her established universes, which means that you don’t need to have read any of her previous work in order to fully enjoy these stories.I’m a fan of McGuire/Grant’s novellas and novels, but this was the first time I’d read any of her short stories. I am pleased to say that they are every bit as wonderful as her longer works. It’s hard for me to pick out favorites when the collection was so uniformly excellent, but I’ll highlight a few gems, all quite different from each other. “Emeralds to Emeralds, Dust to Dust” is a queer noir story of Dorothy Gale all grown up in Oz. “Frontier ABCs: The Life and Times Of Charity Smith, Schoolteacher” is a space western about a legendary schoolteacher who can intimidate entire planetary governments. “We Are All Misfit Toys in the Aftermath of the Velveteen War” explores a future where the AI apocalypse is triggered by self-learning children’s toys. “Office Memos” is a humorous, Scalzi-esque glimpse at what it would be like if a company’s research and development department hired a gremlin. “There Is No Place for Sorrow in the Kingdom of the Cold” follows a dollmaker who crafts dolls as vessels to contain her emotions. Lastly, “From A to Z In the Book of Changes” is a series of 26 extremely short stories, one for each letter of the alphabet, offering brief glimpses of strange, ominous, and funny happenings of worlds in flux.This is also the first story collection I’ve seen with content warnings for each of its stories. In her introduction, McGuire explains that she was inspired to do so by the fanfic community, in which she got her start as a writer. I loved that thoughtful inclusion in the introduction to each story, which shows real respect for her readers.I highly recommend this short story collection. I had high hopes for it, based on my love of McGuire’s novellas and novels, and it did not disappoint me.
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  • Sandy
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to Netgalley for an ARC of this book, in exchange for a fair and honest review.OK, full disclosure - I've read and enjoyed most of Seanan McGuire's books (and those of Mira Grant), so I was primed to enjoy this short story collection - and it didn't disappoint!Too often, I don't like short stories as much as longer works, because they seem incomplete - too little character development or stories that are unsatisfyingly abrupt. This collection is different. Thanks to Netgalley for an ARC of this book, in exchange for a fair and honest review.OK, full disclosure - I've read and enjoyed most of Seanan McGuire's books (and those of Mira Grant), so I was primed to enjoy this short story collection - and it didn't disappoint!Too often, I don't like short stories as much as longer works, because they seem incomplete - too little character development or stories that are unsatisfyingly abrupt. This collection is different.In just a few pages, Ms. McGuire manages to provide a real story, with real characters. Some, I would very much like to see expanded, but not necessarily because they were incomplete - simply because I want to read more!There are too many stories to discuss each one, and, of course, I liked some more than others, but a few of them really struck me."Laughter at the Academy"...………..remind me never to attend one of Ms. McGuire's book signings! "Crystal Halloway and the Forgotten Passage".....this sure appears to be a precursor to the Wayward Children series. I enjoyed the story and it was interesting to see where she went with it in the later series."Emeralds to Emeralds, Dust to Dust"....I like stories about Oz, and particularly alternate takes, like Wicked. This was another alternate take, very interesting read."Homecoming".....I love the idea of the Valkyries as cheerleaders."Lady Antheia's Guide to Horticultural Warfare"..... best definition of diplomacy EVER - when told that "but the first thing you did was eat my sister's maid," the response was "but I was sorry afterward, which is the very definition of diplomacy."I could go on, but the main thing is this - all the stories are well worth reading. Every story is different, but each one is a treat to read. Ms. McGuire's imagination appears to be boundless, and her writing is up to the task of keeping these ideas fun to read.One last reason we should also support her as an author - we DO NOT want her to change course and become a mad scientist!
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  • Other Rachel
    January 1, 1970
    Laughter at the Academy by Seanan McGuire (published 10/31 by Subterranean Press) is exactly what I needed to read after the High Holidays. This eclectic anthology is the first bundle of short stories by the Nebula/Hugo/Insert Award Here-nominated author of clever changelings in modern-day San Francisco going on quests to bloodthirsty mermaids chomping on a documentary crew and more! While Seanan McGuire has carved out a space for herself with her many series, Laughter at the Academy is a master Laughter at the Academy by Seanan McGuire (published 10/31 by Subterranean Press) is exactly what I needed to read after the High Holidays. This eclectic anthology is the first bundle of short stories by the Nebula/Hugo/Insert Award Here-nominated author of clever changelings in modern-day San Francisco going on quests to bloodthirsty mermaids chomping on a documentary crew and more! While Seanan McGuire has carved out a space for herself with her many series, Laughter at the Academy is a masterclass in authorial range when it comes to style, plot, genre, and voice. From a Kickstarter to summon an eternal Halloween to Pandora’s legacy for some of the creepiest dolls in fiction, there is something for everyone. While the stories differ greatly, her voice rings loud as she delightfully holds your hand as you enter the cornfield of her imagination. Here is a list of some of the things you’ll be reading about:• Childhood toys starting a gory war• The folklore as to why girls usually go to the bathroom in a group• An intergalactic schoolteacher with a gun• Mudery space plant lady who serves the glorious empire • A live-tweet of a haunted house• An enthusiastic fan of Jurassic Park making her claim as to why her project is happening • Science time and grants with the Deep Ones! • And so much more…blood…and hope…and pumpkins…(Sacrifices to the Great Pumpkin are sold separately.)There are 22 short stories, a few you might recognize from being published in Lightspeed. Even if you want a taste of what to expect before diving into one of McGuire’s series or want to kill time before her next book, this comes highly recommended.Get Laughter at the Academy, in particular, grab a signed copy from Subterranean Press if you want to properly celebrate the Halloween season!
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  • Shane
    January 1, 1970
    disclaimer: i received a copy of this book via subterranean press in return for an honest review.sometimes a short story is its own world, containing everything you need. then there are times when the story leaves you asking "and then what happened?", and you know that you'll probably only find out in your dreams. laughter at the academy, seanan mcguire's first* personal anthology contains both types and more. to ease the way into each story, mcguire provides short introductions to serve as windows. i disclaimer: i received a copy of this book via subterranean press in return for an honest review.sometimes a short story is its own world, containing everything you need. then there are times when the story leaves you asking "and then what happened?", and you know that you'll probably only find out in your dreams. laughter at the academy, seanan mcguire's first* personal anthology contains both types and more. to ease the way into each story, mcguire provides short introductions to serve as windows. in some, you get a piece of the story's origin, in others a warning. stories with song lyrics help bind you to the story, its people or tragedies, it's horrors or joys. stories with "quotes" from other materials become glimpses into the world outside of the current story's setting - whether it's a review of the past, a different view of the present, or an intimation of what the future holds.it's easy to lose yourself in these stories. mcguire's writing, even in the shortest, is nuanced and compelling. her characters are fully realized, grounded, and relatable, even the ones you sincerely hope get eaten by something. there truly are stories for every taste here. each story has its own rhythm and will linger in your mind and heart. laughter at the academy is a genuine gift for long time seanan mcguire fans, and for new readers, an incredible introduction to her worlds. five out of five stars*yes, yes, i know. what about mira grant? grant's newsflesh series has an excellent anthology ("rise") containing previously published and new stories but i try to keep grant's stories far away from mcguire's. if you've read any of grant's work, you'll totally understand why.
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  • Fiona
    January 1, 1970
    This new collection from Seanan McGuire is a good one! Touted as doors opening to new worlds - ie, none of these stories are set in her ongoing universes - there's nevertheless enough familiarity here to satisfy her fans. That said, if her writing doesn't already float your boat, this isn't the collection that'll change your mind. I wavered between 3 and 4 stars for this one - in the end I let personal enjoyment sway me higher.It's worth mentioning that Seanan McGuire also writes as This new collection from Seanan McGuire is a good one! Touted as doors opening to new worlds - ie, none of these stories are set in her ongoing universes - there's nevertheless enough familiarity here to satisfy her fans. That said, if her writing doesn't already float your boat, this isn't the collection that'll change your mind. I wavered between 3 and 4 stars for this one - in the end I let personal enjoyment sway me higher.It's worth mentioning that Seanan McGuire also writes as Mira Grant - typically for her harder sci-fi or more horror-centric work. A couple of these stories blur that line, which usually stays rock solid between the two. However, overall - this is a good collection, with a nice variety of stories, while maintaining her strongest themes; we've got cheerleader squads with a lot more behind the cheering than just team spirit, science taken to the ethical limits, and literal doorways to other worlds.There's some that stood out more than the others:Emeralds to Emeralds, Dust to Dust - wraps up a bit abruptly but it's a great noir-ish take on Dorothy and OzHomecoming - takes a little bit to find it's feet but it's a strong and unique concept; one that used mythology to write something genuinely touching.Frontier ABCs - one I'd love to see expanded to a full-length novel. Charity Smith keeps her promises, so you'd better hope you do too.All in all, this collection would make a good introduction to the writing of Seanan McGuire; there's a lot that pops up here that recurs thematically in her work, and enough variety that there should be something to suit most readers.
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  • Devann
    January 1, 1970
    I was worried that I would have already read a lot of these but I had actually only read a few so there was a lot of great new [to me] content here! There's a really good mix both in terms of length of story and subject matter that hits on many of what long time readers will recognize as Seanan's favorite subjects. If you're a fan of her writing then this is a must-read and if you haven't read much of her stuff or maybe only know her from Wayward Children then this is a great way to get a good f I was worried that I would have already read a lot of these but I had actually only read a few so there was a lot of great new [to me] content here! There's a really good mix both in terms of length of story and subject matter that hits on many of what long time readers will recognize as Seanan's favorite subjects. If you're a fan of her writing then this is a must-read and if you haven't read much of her stuff or maybe only know her from Wayward Children then this is a great way to get a good feel for which other books of hers you might want to read.Here's a breakdown of stories that are in this book, and whether I had read them before or not.ALREADY READ [6]: Lady Antheia’s Guide to Horticultural Warfare, Each to Each, Homecoming, #connollyhouse #weshouldntbehere, The Tolling of Pavlov’s Bells, Crystal Halloway and the Forgotten PassageNEW TO ME [13]: Laughter at the Academy, Lost, Uncle Sam, Frontier ABCs, We Are All Misfit Toys in the Aftermath of the Velveteen War, The Lambs, Bring About the Halloween Eternal!!!, Driving Jenny Home, There Is No Place for Sorrow in the Kingdom of the Cold, Please Accept My Most Profound Apologies for What Is About to Happen, Threnody for Little Girl, From A to Z in the Book of Changes, Down, Deep Down, Below the WavesDID NOT READ [1]: Emeralds to Emeralds, Dust to DustDID NOT FINISH [2]: Office Memos, In Skeleton Leaves, The one I didn't read is because I know that even Seanan can't make me care about the Wizard of Oz and the Office one was just boring and the Skeleton Leaves one was a Peter Pan retelling which are always very hit or miss for me.
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  • Harrison Schweiloch
    January 1, 1970
    Seanan McGuire is a treasure, and this collection is a treasury. Seanan McGuire can do it all - fantasy, science fiction, and horror. Her stories are equal parts funny, tragic, and inspiring. This is her first short story collection under her own name and I sure hope it’s not the last. Her pseudonym, Mira Grant, had a collection a few years back of short stories in her Newsflesh universe, but, unlike that collection, nothing in this volume comes from one of her established universes (although I Seanan McGuire is a treasure, and this collection is a treasury. Seanan McGuire can do it all - fantasy, science fiction, and horror. Her stories are equal parts funny, tragic, and inspiring. This is her first short story collection under her own name and I sure hope it’s not the last. Her pseudonym, Mira Grant, had a collection a few years back of short stories in her Newsflesh universe, but, unlike that collection, nothing in this volume comes from one of her established universes (although I would sincerely love to read more stories set in the Dollmaker’s world or after the dinosaur apocalypse). Ms. McGuire is one of the most prolific novelists writing today, but, as someone who does not read a lot of anthologies, I did not realize that she was an equally prolific short story writer. If you are like me, coming to all of this material fresh, you are in for a treat! Also some tricks along the way (after all, it is being released on Halloween). If you already love her work, buy this book. You won’t regret it. If you are new to her work, this book is an excellent introduction to Seanan McGuire’s incomparable talents. Ms. McGuire is not only an amazing storyteller but an all around fantastic person. I have had the good fortune to meet her at several signings at both NYCC and my local comic book store, and I cannot stress enough how wonderful she is. I was lucky enough to be granted an eARC of this book though Net Galley, but that didn’t stop me from preordering a physical copy from Subterranean Press. I can’t wait to get it signed by Ms. McGuire next year!
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  • Jenna R
    January 1, 1970
    **I was provided an electronic ARC by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for honest review.Avg rating: 3.82I always have the hardest time rating anthologies and short story collections, so I've decided to give each story an individual rating and average them to the overall score. For the star rating, I rounded up :)For any short story collection, there will be some that strike better with one reader than another, and generally some stories are preferr **I was provided an electronic ARC by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for honest review.Avg rating: 3.82I always have the hardest time rating anthologies and short story collections, so I've decided to give each story an individual rating and average them to the overall score. For the star rating, I rounded up :)For any short story collection, there will be some that strike better with one reader than another, and generally some stories are preferred to others in the collection. This short story collection stays true to that theory. None of the stories individually fell below 3 stars for me, and four of the stories were actually 5 stars, which was a wonderful surprise. In general, if you like Seanan McGuire's writing already, then I would say you'll also like it in this. There is a little bit of playfulness with formatting for some of the stories, which was fun, if not always my favorite. The concepts in this collection were really cool to think about, even outside of the stories that were actually presented. If you're a fan of short stories, Seanan McGuire, or speculative scifi/fantasy, this should be a good collection for you.
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  • Laura (crofteereader)
    January 1, 1970
    I have to start with: I thoroughly enjoyed every single story in this collection. McGuire's imagination knows no bounds and she's not afraid to go weird and/or violent to satisfy it. I kept messaging my friends like "oh my God, McGuire is turning all the human beings on the planet into dinosaurs" and giving people random snippets like "man-eating plant woman devours the queen of (steampunk) England".There were a few that I was a little less enamored by (Peter Pan as an infinite loop, I have to start with: I thoroughly enjoyed every single story in this collection. McGuire's imagination knows no bounds and she's not afraid to go weird and/or violent to satisfy it. I kept messaging my friends like "oh my God, McGuire is turning all the human beings on the planet into dinosaurs" and giving people random snippets like "man-eating plant woman devours the queen of (steampunk) England".There were a few that I was a little less enamored by (Peter Pan as an infinite loop, fine but not as amazing as "triggering mad scientist disease as a means for murder") and I definitely wanted MORE from many of them (particularly the mermaids).Fans of McGuire's work will see this as a beautiful continuation of her traditional strangeness, coupled with inclusivity, fairy tales, and - did I mention strangeness? Readers new to McGuire's work (first of all, where have you been?) will find the writing detailed and distinctive, the characters complex and singular, and the subject matter... Weird AF.{Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for my advanced review copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own!}
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  • Myarn
    January 1, 1970
    Laughter at the Academy by Seanan McGuire 5 starsI have been reading Seanan McGuire since her InCryptid books and have read most of the recent Toby Daye books. She is a great writer and Subterranean Press has been good enough to put together a collection of her short fiction that was scattered into the published world into one volume. It is a great collection; I laughed, I cried and I was frightened. She brought back some of the wonder of childhood with the reality of growing up. In Laughter at the Academy by Seanan McGuire 5 starsI have been reading Seanan McGuire since her InCryptid books and have read most of the recent Toby Daye books. She is a great writer and Subterranean Press has been good enough to put together a collection of her short fiction that was scattered into the published world into one volume. It is a great collection; I laughed, I cried and I was frightened. She brought back some of the wonder of childhood with the reality of growing up. In some of the stories I think the seeds of the Wayward Children series were there. Laughter at the Academy - really funny and scary at the same time;Lost - that made me cry;The Tolling of Pavlov's Bells - made me think twice about public transportation;Driving Jenny Home - made me think of Sparrow Hill Road;I really enjoyed this book and hope that another collection of her short stories will be put together.Thank you Netgalley and Subterranean Press for this ARC.Thank
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  • Miranda
    January 1, 1970
    A couple of years ago I made a goal to read all of Seanan McGuire’s short stories. Boy does she write a LOT of stories. It’s difficult to keep up with her short fiction output as she publishes on her Patreon and in several anthologies every year. I did get to about 80% complete and every story is wonderful in its own way. This collection is a great starting point for someone wanting to see what her short fiction is about. Seanan can definitely pack a punch in a small package and some of these st A couple of years ago I made a goal to read all of Seanan McGuire’s short stories. Boy does she write a LOT of stories. It’s difficult to keep up with her short fiction output as she publishes on her Patreon and in several anthologies every year. I did get to about 80% complete and every story is wonderful in its own way. This collection is a great starting point for someone wanting to see what her short fiction is about. Seanan can definitely pack a punch in a small package and some of these stories will have you rolling on the floor in laughter or rocking in the fetal position out of fear. There are a couple gut punches that will leave you in tears. Almost any emotion you can think of will be felt reading this collection. Seanan is a prolific master of the short story and Laughter at the Academy is I hope only the first of many collections to come.
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