Selfies September 17, 2014 Selfies Lavie Tidhar Smile for the camera. When Gods and Vampires Roamed Miami September 16, 2014 When Gods and Vampires Roamed Miami Kendare Blake A Goddess Wars story As Good As New September 10, 2014 As Good As New Charlie Jane Anders She has three chances to save the world. Tuckitor’s Last Swim September 9, 2014 Tuckitor’s Last Swim Edith Cohn A hurricane is coming.
From The Blog
September 18, 2014
Cast As Thou Wilt: Kushiel’s Dart Dream Cast
Natalie Zutter
September 17, 2014
How Goldfinger Bound Sci-Fi to James Bond
Ryan Britt
September 15, 2014
Rereading the Empire Trilogy: Servant of the Empire, Part 1
Tansy Rayner Roberts
September 13, 2014
If You Want a Monster to Hunt, You’ll Get It. Doctor Who: “Listen”
Chris Lough
September 11, 2014
The Ghostbusters are an Antidote to Lovecraft’s Dismal Worldview
Max Gladstone
Showing posts tagged: childhood click to see more stuff tagged with childhood
May 29 2014 12:00pm

Why Horror is Good For You (and Even Better for Your Kids)

Greg Ruth

One of the core reasons I make books now is because Ray Bradbury scared me so happy, that what I am perpetually compelled to do is, at best, ignite the same flame in a young reader today. Most of my comics, certainly the ones I write myself, are scary ones or revolve around scary themes. In the last ten years I began to notice that they also featured, as protagonists, children. Even when the overall story wasn’t necessarily about them, there they were: peeking from behind some safe remove, watching.

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Feb 19 2014 5:10pm

Artist Depicts Kids Pretending to Be Favorite Star Wars and Wizard of Oz Characters

Star Wars, Leia, Craig DavisonArtist Craig Davison has a gorgeous painted series starring kids playing pretend as their favorite heroes. This Princess Leia is making us cry with her headphone hairdo and hair dryer blaster, mainly because we’ve been there and that was the easiest way to put that costume together for real.

Below we’ve got examples of droids, wicked witches and more! It’s time to relive all those perfect costumes you made out of toilet paper and safety pins and tape....


Dec 13 2013 10:00am

The Nutcracker Suite: Because Toys Are People, Too

Winnie-the-Pooh, A.A. Milne, e.h. shepard

It’s that time of year when lots of people take their families and loved ones to the ballet and celebrate that relevatory Tchaikovsky work (that he actually didn’t think was all that great), The Nutcracker. Which got me thinking about toys, and how toys are often made into people, or at least people-like beings with thoughts and feelings of their own. And how heartbreaking that can often be.

So I thought I’d count down some of the best. The ones that stayed with us and played with us and made certain that, although we packed them up tight in cardboard boxes, we would never truly leave them behind.

[“He’ll never give up on you… ever.”]

Oct 4 2013 9:00am

What Good is a Star Wars Book?

Star Wars booksOctober 5th will be the second annual Star Wars Reads Day! It’s a day that does what it says on the tin—celebrate Star Wars and reading together, which makes sense, given the gargantuan library of Star Wars books on offer to the world. But why Star Wars books, you might ask? What makes them so special?

Well, lots of things. They might get kids to read who wouldn’t otherwise. They are great tools for finding friends. They feature characters you know and love and introduce you to new ones that you will grow to know and love. In my case, they were one of those all-important doors in life, the sort that direct you into a new room where “Things of Import” inform the next step. I needed Star Wars books. They were my neon arrow toward some semblance of the person I’d become one day.

It’s sappy, so sue me. Most reflections on childhood are either saccharine or horrific, and this is happily the former.

[What reading Star Wars does to impressionable children...]

Jun 21 2012 1:00pm

Toy Story 3: The Steadfast Plastic Cowboy

Toy Story 3: The Steadfast Plastic Cowboy

But what fascinated Ermengarde most was [Sara’s] fancy about the dolls who walked and talked, and who could do anything they chose when the human beings were out of the room, but who must keep their powers a secret and so flew back to their places “like lightning” when people returned to the room.

We couldn’t do it,” said Sara, seriously. “You see, it’s a kind of magic.”

—Frances Hodgson Burnett, A Little Princess

It’s an old story, the fancy about toys who come alive when we can’t see, but pretend to be inanimate when humans are around. Hans Christian Andersen takes a turn with it in “The Steadfast Tin Soldier,” and it makes an appearance in the Edwardian melodrama A Little Princess. But it also sits comfortably in a contemporary, computer-and-cell-phone-strewn setting, as in recent books like The Doll People and Toys Go Out, and in the “Toy Story” trilogy.

[Read more]

Nov 13 2011 11:00am

First Words: What Was the First Book You Bought With Your Hard-Earned Dollars?

Devouring any book you can get your hands on is a common shared train among fans of any genre, but we tend to think science fiction and fantasy fans have an edge.’s patron saint of prolific reading skills has to be Jo Walton, who is on a life-long quest to read every single science fiction book every published. And from our Indie and B&N Bookseller Picks, to Genre in the Mainstream, we’re always trying to find you new books to read. But how did this all begin? What was the first book you bought with your own money?

We asked our Facebook and Twitter peeps and we got some fantastic answers!

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Oct 13 2011 2:45pm

Does an Immersion in Genre Help Keep Childhood Vibrant?

Last night, during the Center for Fiction’s keynote address for the Big Read, Margaret Atwood read from and talked a bit about her new collection of non-fiction: In Other Worlds: SF in the Human Imagination. Before taking questions, Atwood shared a power-point presentation, which featured a lot of images from her childhood and adolescence. The end pages of the book itself are covered with line drawings Atwood did this year, which represent various aspects of things that either influenced her when she was young, or things she actually created as a child. This gave me pause and formed this question: does a fascination with the creation of fiction and genre fiction in specific keep our fanciful childhood notions alive?

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Sep 9 2011 3:09pm

Hiding From Daleks Behind the Couch: The Doctor’s Love of Children

Hiding From Daleks Behind the Couch: The Doctor’s Love of Children

Believe it or not, Doctor Who was originally designed exclusively for children: it was an educational show that was meant to teach kids history by way of a time traveling alien. That in itself is a truly brilliant concept, but the show quickly morphed far beyond that into a sweeping, epic tale about that alien — his friends and enemies, his trials and adventures, his meddling and madcap sense of humor. The villains eventually received quite a bit more screen time, and every Whovian who has seen interviews or talked to a fan who watched “back in the day” has undoubtedly heard the classic story about hiding behind the sofa every time the Daleks appeared on screen.

The good old horror hook: you’re terrified, but you can’t look away. That is one of the deepest traditions Doctor Who has, a contract with its initial target audience, and it stems from a belief that campfire tales confirm every time — kids love to be scared.

[Please save me from the monsters...]

Jun 15 2011 5:33pm

Growing Up Potter

When Harry Potter was eleven, so was I.

That is to say that I was eleven years old when the first book was released and, therefore, the same age Harry was that first year at Hogwarts. Initially, I was determined not to read them, convinced that something so popular couldn’t possibly be good. (Yes, I was a precocious thing, and very unconcerned with what was “cool.”) But family and friends wore me down in the end, and I found my train to Hogwarts the same way most children my age did—with wonder in my eyes, magic tingling my fingertips, and a hunger for something that I could label as my own.

Harry Potter is an identification marker. In some ways, I like to think of it as its own Woodstock. Allow me to elaborate.

[Show me the way to Platform 9-and-¾]

Apr 6 2011 5:16pm

The Lost Star Wars Read-A-Long Storybooks, Part 1 of 3: Droid World

Droid WorldAs I have copped to before, I read most of the Star Wars comics and novels up through the late 1990s. But despite this, I’m pretty bad at expanded universe trivia. Luke Skywalker got married to Mara Jade after she stopped being the Emperor’s Hand, right? Were there numerous Emperors’ hands? Was he like an octopus? What about the Emperor’s foot? I’m pretty sure the Emperor’s foot was Grand Admiral Thrawn. That sounds right.

But one place I can lay down the smack with EA buffs is with the Star Wars read-along storybooks from the 1980s. Okay, so all of you know the complete history of the New Republic and the exact hour of the day Leia’s twins were born. Well, I can tell you all about Kligson the cyborg ruler of Droid World! Kligson? Droid World? I’m not making this stuff up! Read-a-long with me and the truth of the Star Wars read-a-longs will make you more powerful than you can possibly imagine. We’re going to revisit three of these daring Read-A-Longs, and first up is the epic adventure of Droid World!

[You can turn the page when R2-D2 whistles like THIS]

Dec 21 2010 9:30am
Original Story

The Trains that Climb the Winter Tree


We hope you enjoy this holiday story by Michael Swanwick and Eileen Gunn, previously available only to registrants. Don’t forget to check out the process post from Michael and Eileen once you finish! Merry Christmas!

It was the middle of the night when the elves came out of the mirrors. Everyone in the house was asleep. Outside, the city slumbered. Silent as shadows, the warriors went from room to room. Their knives were so sharp they could slit a throat without awakening their victim.

They killed all the adults.

The children they spared.

[Read more]

Nov 17 2010 9:30am
Original Story


Enjoy “Ponies,” a short story by Kij Johnson and the winner of the 2010 Nebula Award for Short Story.


The invitation card has a Western theme. Along its margins, cartoon girls in cowboy hats chase a herd of wild Ponies. The Ponies are no taller than the girls, bright as butterflies, fat, with short round-tipped unicorn horns and small fluffy wings. At the bottom of the card, newly caught Ponies mill about in a corral. The girls have lassoed a pink-and-white Pony. Its eyes and mouth are surprised round Os. There is an exclamation mark over its head.

The little girls are cutting off its horn with curved knives. Its wings are already removed, part of a pile beside the corral.

[You and your Pony are invited to a cutting-out party...]

Jul 20 2010 9:55am
Original Comic

How Is Like (And Not Like) A Two-Year-Old

Happy birthday to us!

Jul 15 2010 9:40am
Original Story

Fare Thee Well

This story is also available for download from major ebook retailers.

His hand was cool and damp, with the limp, rubbery texture of a corpse. I don’t know what it is about people who work with the dead, but every one I’d met in my fifteen years came to resemble their clients after a few years on the job. I didn’t shudder as I shook hands, didn’t pull back in revulsion. I kept smiling, and I think it surprised him. “Nice to meet you, Dr. Morgan. I’m Lia Thantos, the new summer intern.”

Bright green eyes behind thick glasses sparkled with something approaching amazement. He pulled back his hand and crossed his arms over his white lab coat. “Please, call me Mike since we’ll be working together. I have to admit, we don’t get a lot of applications for internships here at the morgue. You’re sure this is what you want to spend your summer doing?”

[Read more]

Jul 1 2010 12:41pm

Childhood Dreams and Science Ninjas

A few weeks ago, I dreamed that I’d written an incredible post for about how the BP oil spill had been fixed by Science Ninja Team Gatchaman. It was a fierce scene I dream-wrote about, with lots of anime-bird-science-ninja fighting and explosions and heroic trumpet fanfares and swooping sounds. And if you clicked on a special button, Joel from Mystery Science Theater 3000 narrated my post, making it a gazillion times cooler.

And then I woke up. No Joel. No science ninjas. Still a lot of oil in the gulf. I sighed the sad sigh of sadness. Still, awesome dream, ne?

[Read more...]

May 5 2010 9:55am
Original Story

The Courtship of the Queen

This story is also available for download from major ebook retailers.

When he was a child, he was stranger than many children, but not as strange as some. What he lacked in normalcy he more than made up for in passion, sense of wonder and acquisitiveness—the virtues that make any collector (or hunter) great. By the age of ten he had collected more than two thousand seashells, providing each, as any good scientist would, with its own neatly labeled card that listed its Latin and common names, where it had been collected and when and by whom, and the temperature that day. If he or his parents had purchased the seashell or it had been given to him by someone who did not have such information, that was all right; the card would at least bear its names. What mattered most was the beauty of the bivalve or univalve, the clam or snail, its personality, its character, and its role in the larger scheme of things, which the boy saw clearly.

He kept his seashells in the drawers of two nice oak dressers in his room and, as well, in the drawers of the ten junkier dressers his father had with affection purchased for him at yard sales and Salvation Army outlets and made room for in every garage or basement or attic they had, moving them carefully with their other furniture each time the family relocated from one coast or country to another.

How the boy’s collection had come into being was not as strange as the boy himself, even if the size of it was: his father, a Navy enlisted officer, moved his family often because the Navy ordered him to, and often, because it was the Navy he served, they lived on or near military bases by the sea; and the boy, when he was old enough to crawl, had discovered that the one thing he could truly make his own and take with him from one place to the next was the seashells of that place—whether they lay dead and clean on the sand of nearby beaches, lived on the mud below in shallow water, hid under seaweed at tide pools, were gifts from kind people, or were purchased by the boy, when he or his parents had the money, in local shops.

He could not take the people with him, friends he made at school, or the old women who walked the beaches in palm-frond hats, or the fisherman from the jetties. He could not take the houses his family lived in with him. He could not always even take the pets, which were sometimes lost in the moves and which, like all pets, sometimes died because pets rarely lived as long as their keepers.

He even felt that he could not take himself because what he was at each of his father’s “stations” was different. But he could always—with his parents’ encouragement because they knew he needed to take something with him or he would forget who he was—take the seashells of each place. They understood what moving meant, and they understood what could be lost. His father had fled a small town in Virginia to join the Navy and make a life for himself, and his mother was one-quarter Chickasaw Indian and, though quite educated, knew what it felt like not to know who you were.

Though it seemed odd when it began, his parents encouraged his playing with his seashells, too—the way other boys played with soldiers and toy boats and cars. His wanting to play with them as all children play with something did not, in fact, seem as strange to them as the cards with their scientific names and other information, which felt so adult and made them worry, lost in books as he often was, that he would never be a child. It made him—this playing—seem more normal to them; and so they watched and smiled when their ten-year-old son took the large, pink-lipped Queen Conch (Strombus gigas) which a shrimp fisherman in Key West, Florida, had given the boy (one his mother, without complaint, had boiled and cleaned so that it would not smell, as seashells sometimes tended to do), put it for the thousandth time on the rug in his bedroom, placed around it the fifteen tiny but feisty Strombus alatus—Fighting Conchs (shells he had also collected in Florida at his father’s previous station)— and, as he liked to put it, played “Kingdom of the Ancient Sea” with them. After all, the Queen needed protection, he explained, looking up, and the Fighting Conchs, loyal as they were, would protect her. In actuality, Fighting Conchs could drill through the armor of other seashells and kill them, so why not here, in his fantasy, in the boy’s very own kingdom, make them “the Queen’s guards”?

Feb 11 2010 9:05am
Original Comic

King of an Endless Sky

Dec 17 2009 9:30am
Original Comic

King of an Endless Sky, Part 19

In which hostilities are engaged.

Dec 10 2009 9:30am
Original Comic

King of an Endless Sky, Part 18

In which Charlie the First and Binx egg their robot friend on.

Dec 8 2009 9:30am
Original Story

The Horrid Glory of Its Wings

This story is also available for download from major ebook retailers.


“Speaking of livers,” the unicorn said, “Real magic can never be made by offering up someone else’s liver. You must tear out your own, and not expect to get it back. The true witches know that.”

—Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn

* * *

My mother doesn’t know about the harpy.

My mother, Alice, is not my real mom. She’s my foster mother, and she doesn’t look anything like me. Or maybe I don’t look anything like her. Mama Alice is plump and soft and has skin like the skin of a plum, all shiny dark purple with the same kind of frosty brightness over it, like you could swipe it away with your thumb.

I’m sallow—Mama Alice says olive—and I have straight black hair and crooked teeth and no real chin, which is okay because I’ve already decided nobody’s ever going to kiss me.

I’ve also got lipodystrophy, which is a fancy doctor way of saying I’ve grown a fatty buffalo hump on my neck and over each shoulder blade from the antiretrovirals, and my butt and legs and cheeks are wasted like an old lady’s. My face looks like a dog’s muzzle, even though I still have all my teeth.

For now. I’m going to have to get the wisdom teeth pulled this year while I still get state assistance, because my birthday is in October and then I’ll be eighteen. If I start having problems with them after then, well forget about it.

There’s no way I’d be able to afford to get them fixed.

* * *

The harpy lives on the street, in the alley behind my building, where the dumpster and the winos live.