Review - Laughter at the Academy by Seanan McGuire

Laughter at the Academy by Seanan McGuire
Publisher: Subterranean Press
Publication Date: October 31, 2019
Date Read: November 2, 2019
Length: 376 pages
Source: NetGalley
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.
My Review

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.
About the Author

SEANAN McGUIRE is the author of the October Daye urban fantasy series, the InCryptid series, and other works. She also writes darker fiction as Mira Grant. Seanan lives in Seattle with her cats, a vast collection of creepy dolls, horror movies, and sufficient books to qualify her as a fire hazard. Winner of the 2010 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, in 2013 McGuire became the first person ever to appear five times on the same Hugo ballot.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads


  1. I do really like Seanan McGuire. In fact, she's one of my favorites. I definitely plan on picking this up sometime. Like you, at least I'll go into it expecting a hit or miss collection. Great review. Reviewing short story collections can be hard.

  2. sounds like there is something for everyone. great review
    sherry @ fundinmental

  3. Oh cool! I didn't realize this was a short story collection of eclectic stories. Nice way to get a taste for her writing.

  4. That sounds good although probably not a book for me. Thanks for the great review of it.

  5. I love the author and at first I was curious about this one but when I saw that ti was many short stories I finally prefered to wait and see

  6. I have yet to read one of McGuire's books, but I know I need to. Great review! Glad you enjoyed it even if it wasn't your favorite.

  7. Oh my what a freaky cover! I've read some of her stuff and some I've liked, some I haven't. This definitely sounds like an interesting collection though!

  8. I think something like this is more fun when you have read a lot of an author and this lets you revisit worlds or characters. I have yet to read any of this author. I have bought her books but I'm not there yet. I considered the Toby Daye series for the Read-along but chose Alex Verus instead. ??

    Anne - Books of My Heart

  9. I really want to try this book. I love her Mira Grant books.

    Melanie @ Hot Listens & Books of My Heart


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