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You Know That Show -- Literature

The purpose of this page is to allow contributors to post descriptions of half-forgotten shows, those old classics that sit on the edge of the mind, with details and images remembered but names tantalizingly forgotten. Whether to gather trope examples or just for peace of mind, post them here. Be warned that, due to necessity, all entries may contain spoilers.

Note that the page is divided into two sections: "Awaiting suggestions" and "Questions with suggested answers". If you're adding a suggestion to an item, please move it into "Questions with suggested answers". If you're the original poster and confirming that the suggested answer is correct, please move it into Confirmed YKTS. If you're the original poster and the suggested answer isn't correct, please move the item back into "Awaiting suggestions" (but leave the suggested answer attached, with a note saying it's incorrect, to stop people suggesting it again).

When you say something is correct, put in a timestamp in the format of [MM/DD/YY] in front of your line. Confirmed successes are being archived HERE.

Please put new edits at the top of the appropriate folder.

Awaiting suggestions

  • Has anyone heard of this childrens/YA book? It involves the fall of atlantis and the last princess of that city who finds out that she and her people are all aliens. Read it years ago and can't think of the title.
  • This question may well be unanswerable, especially since I do not know the content, but I remember the cover art. The cover had a boy with several bruises on his face and a worried expression. He was also gagged. The background was dark, like a cave. I think the title had something like "Paradise" in it or was some edition of "Kidnapped" by Robert Louis Stevenson.
  • Good luck: Two boys in a new Virtual Reality game, were first in line for it, impatient at the beginning of the book, the employee running the game can communicate through words in the sky (I think), and console messages (ex: "Player X, Two lives left) appear in the same manner. I think infiltrating a castle was involved at some point.
  • Good luck with this one - I read it about 15 years ago, probably more. It's a kid's fantasy book about a boy who is some kind of chosen one or messiah. At one point, he's captured and put in a dungeon, and he's sitting around idly running his hand across the floor when the earth starts furrowing behind his fingers. At which point, a lightbulb goes on that he's either some kind of earth champion or some kind of elemental champion, and he makes an archway in the dungeon wall and a tunnel out.
  • I'm looking for a book that was under the Nightmare Fuel section or something like that and it was one about dinosaurs and it described them as 'monsters' and you could make your own dinosaur skeleton, and at the very end there is a twist that says that humans are the actual scariest monsters of all. There is a blog entry about it that describes the horrifying ending.
  • YA fantasy/horror book, one of a set of at least 4 unconnected books under some kind of umbrella title. It's about a girl who finds a pendant with a demon trapped in it; the demon turns out to be the bastard half-demon son of Solomon, trapped in the stone for betraying his father.
  • A young adult novel from the early Nineties that included a scene where the main character's friend answers a math question on the blackboard while surreptitiously sucking on the chalk.
  • A book where there was a spaceship and a teenager or child who was awake but wasn't supposed to be and a large population of people in suspended animation.
    • I think I know what you're talking about, though I can't remember the name. The main character isn't really a kid--he's actually so old that, as he says, he couldn't play catch with someone else without running out of energy--but he never really grew up, since he spent all those years with nothing but the ship's A.I. for company. He used to play chess against it, but he's figured out all its strategies, so by the story's beginning he just sits and waits for the others to wake up. I think his name begins with a D. The A.I. is named Mikey, and it's really glitchy--when the other characters awaken, their attempts to fix it require so many changes that it temporarily becomes unable to speak.
  • An old story (probably pre-French Revolution), where someone (probably a nobleman or such) tells a group of people who demand democracy a fable. Content: The animals set up a democracy. Then, the humans attacked. A part of the animals wanted to fight a war (like the lion, the tiger, the eagle, the bear, the wolf, and the horse) but the great majority was too afraid and voted against it, thus there wasn't a war, the humans won easily and killed many animals. Yep, not only Democracy Is Bad, but Pacifism Is Bad too. That may sound a bit similar to Animal Farm, at least in the animals setting up a government and fighting humans, but this story is something different, also it's a pretty short story (just around one page in print, unless my version was abridged).
  • This one's bothered me for a long time. I got this book from a library a long time ago; just picked it off the shelf randomly. It's a romance story and I only remember a few things. The woman gets caught in the man's bed (although they weren't having sex, I don't remember why she was there though.) and they're on a ship, and thinking that the people had sex some other people force them to get married. Since it's a romance, of course, the man and woman end up falling in love with each other. I think later in the story they're on the Oregon Trail together, and I think the man in the story might be Irish. EDIT: I remember something else now. I think the woman of the story is some kind of Native American, and after she and her husband have sex for the first time she braids her hair as this is a tradition in her tribe for when her husband has become "her true husband."
  • There was this great YA (pretty positive it was YA) horror story I read back in the 4th-5th grade. It's about a girl who's poor, ugly, and un-popular until one day a new teacher comes into town and takes a liking to the girl. The teacher gives the girl a green like potion (so I assume the teacher was a witch?) which makes said girl beautiful and popular. The girl then gains the attraction of the popular boy she's been crushing on and they go to the homecoming game/dance. Then the girl comes home and finds her teacher there and finds out that said teacher got the girl's single father drunk to the point of where he signed the girl over to the teacher (making the teacher the girl's sole guardian). I believe the teacher then killed the father and put the blame on the girl? The only other part I remember it that the girl and popular boy are driving home when the boy stops the car, gives a long speech, and then commits suicide by jumping over the bridge in front of the girl. I believe the girl was then assumed to have killed the popular boy. I also remember one random bit where the girl and teacher are in a restaurant and the teacher orders the girl "lobster bisque and a salad" to help the girl "keep her figure". I also think that the story was written in the mid '80s or early '90s. If anyone can help me out with the title, that would be great!
  • A sci-fi short story, likely from The Twenties or The Thirties (certainly no later than 1944/5), where a guy goes back in time only to find that due to the immutability of the past means he's made of vapor. According to CS Lewis, this was in an American magazine, if that narrows it down any.
    • I remember reading somewhere that people have been trying to identify this story ever since Lewis wrote about it, and nobody has ever succeeded.
    • I'm pretty sure it was The Men Who Murdered Mohammed. I never heard of Lewis writing about it, but it has a man who tries to erase his cheating wife from existence via time travel, attempting more and more ridiculous changes to the timeline, culminating in nuking Paris, and then finds out he can't succeed due to the aforementioned made-of-vapor-ness. He also meets another man who tried the same thing with the same results.
    • Lewis wrote about the story in question in 1945; "The Men Who Murdered Mohammed" was published in 1959. Also, Lewis's description of the story he remembered includes a number of specific incidents (such as the character getting caught in a fall of rain and finding that the raindrops go straight through him, because it's established history that they fell straight down), none of which are in "The Men Who Murdered Mohammed".
  • A novel about the descentants of Native Americans, set in a contemporary or at least a fairly contemporary setting. There's a girl and she has an older half-brother who is a pretty troubled kid and a result of their mother getting raped. The way the story is told is pretty poetic. At some point a parallel is drawn between some birds in the main characters' garden and what Europeans did to the Native Americans in the past. I read this in the mid-2000s, it's probably a pretty new book. I believe the writer was a woman.
  • A short story (or a really short book) that had a IIRC holograph cover of someone's face. I only have a bare description of the plot, I'm sorry! The story was this guy/girl meets a girl/guy, and crazy shit happens, and she/he turns out to be under some sort of curse that turns her into a statue at a grave. I'm pretty sure that it was a girl who was cursed, and a teen boy that found her, but I'm not 100% positive. "He" wakes her up by kissing her statue, and in the end, "she" switches places with him, and "he" waits for someone to come and kiss him, so he can "wake up" from being a statue. I'm so sorry it's so vague! Please, anybody...?
  • A young adult novel where a boy is convinced the new girl in his school is an alien, although it turns out she just has Cloudcuckoolander tendencies. Some of her strange behavior that led him to this conclusion: She goes to a candy store and asks for exactly 75 centimeters of licorice (or something like that), generally exhibits Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness in everyday conversation, wears a dress that either looks like or actually is a shower curtain, and "turns invisible" (I think the explanation was that it was foggy and her clothes blended in very well). The cover image was a depiction of the turning invisible scene, and depicted her wearing thick glasses and blending into the background.
  • This was a story I read a while ago... It was written like a "report" (so for a long time I thought it was real), and it was someone piecing together the evidence that proved (IIRC) P.T. Cruisers were being used to make robots. The copy I had was really thin (but it never really "ended", so I think it was a promo or... Something), and it had a black and white cover. There was also a section with pictures in the middle, I think. ~Lora
  • Second one is that there's a boy and a girl, brother and sister, who runs away for some reason, and they join up with this man who has a magic hat. I remember two events in the book: 1) they convert the wagon they were riding in (it was late 1800's - early 1900's, I think) to a hot-air balloon to get money. They do this by selling everything on board, and the person who bought the thing that, with its removal, made the wagon take off won something. They sell everything, but the wagon still doesn't take off. A young girl liked the drawings in the sister's drawing pad, and she offers to pay for the pictures. The sister rips her drawing pad in half, so to have the blank paper for more drawing later. She tosses the drawings to the little girl and the wagon takes off! Now, the brother wanted to impress people or was jealous that the magic hat liked his sister, and wanted to try pulling something out of the hat. Unfortunately, what he pulls out was the ropes holding the wagon to the earth and the brother, sister, and man goes up into the sky. 2) After this event, the sister feels lonely or sad, or something dark and the hat gives her a black crayon. The sister thinks it's so she can draw out her "darkness".
  • I remember a YA story in which a group of kids have a weird but very nice neighbor who beautifies their block with lots of flowers. Then one day they find out that he's an alien and the flowers were really receivers for a teleportation device that was going to take their entire block to an alien zoo. Of course Adults Are Useless and don't believe them, so they listen in on his conversations with his superiors and find out exactly when the teleporter will be activated, and so they secretly just before the teleporter is activated dig up all the flowers and replant them around the alien's house alone.
    • I don't remember the name of the book, but I do remember the book itself, so have some more clues: it was NOT from a series; the flowers the guy planted around the neighborhood were tri-coloured roses (pink/yellow/blue, all in one bloom); the kids in the book are bored now that summer vacation has started, so they start a club whose purpose is to find fun things to do, which is how they end up finding out the dude is an alien.
    • It sounds like the kind of thing Bruce Coville would write, for what it's worth.
      • I read this around the same time I read a lot of Bruce Coville books, but it wasn't Bruce Coville.
    • It sounds a little bit like a Bailey School Kids plot, although they never really had definitive evidence that the strange adults were really aliens/werewolves/whatever.
      • I'm fairly certain the book wasn't at all part of a series. I do know however that at the end of the book they're watching TV and suddenly the signal changes and their neighbor appears in his alien form, telling them that they were very smart but that the aliens would do it again somewhere else.
  • This was a children's book that I *think* may have been on Reading Rainbow (or some sort of Edutainment show, anyway... It was on the TV), and it had an African-American girl in the south, and she had a "pet" firefly (or something like that). A man "kidnaps" it, and she goes into the bayou at night to get it back.
  • I'm looking for a children's book from the 70s that contained the line " Marvin Moose sees something funny; Ten Toucans in the Treetops.
  • There's a book where there's a boy and a girl who go to a shop with a strange man in it. They buy a frictionless pan from him but it actually has no friction and keeps slipping out of their hands. It has Universe in the title, I think.
  • There's a boy who finds out he's a werewolf. The book has the transformation as being all person to all wolf. There's some dude who comes for the boy and tells him about his transformation. The dude is a werewolf with black fur. They head to a restaurant and even though the boy is a vegetarian, he's so hungry that he eats a burger. He's in the werewolf camp, or whatever and they give him a new set of clothes so when he morphs out of wolf form he's not naked. He lopes around with the pack in wolf form and they fall asleep in a dog pile, but when he wakes up they're all human and he notes how normal it felt being piled on top of each other as a wolf, and how awkward it feels as a human. He was shocked at how cruel the pack was to the omega. The omega was a female.
  • There's a little girl whose name I think was Clarisse, and she turns into a cat one day for no apparent reason. She goes on lots of adventures as a cat.
  • This is a young adult novel I read some 10-15 years back, don't know how recent it was back there. The main character is an android probe from an alien race, sent to Earth to find another android probe who has gone rogue. The main character has a box that contains the consciousness of his sister (can't remember if it was his real sister or it was just a term they used to emphasize their bond) and that can make a high-pitched sound to scare the bad guy's mooks away. The protagonist makes friends with a human girl, who shelters him in her house. In the end, the bad guy is defeated when the girl sets the self-destruct on the protagonist's ship, lures the bad guy in it, and then teleports to the bad guy's ship, leaving the bad guy to die when the protagonist's ship blows up. Oh, and the protagonist and the bad guy look almost precisely the same, since they and their ships are mass-produced, and this causes some trouble for the human girl, until she figures out a way to tell the two apart. That's all I can remember.
  • An anthology of "original" fairy tales, from my earlier school years. Had pictures in them. One story was about a fairy who grieved about her wings being torn off. She finds a mermaid who helps her get a new pair of wings. That's one of many stories all in one book, was probably meant for elementary schools. Similar mermaids made appearances later in. And their lower half looked more like pebbles than scales.
  • I'm desperately trying to remember the source of this (likely somewhat inaccurate) snippet of conversation about somebody planning an assassination:

 Guy 1: "Just remember, Jack Ruby got caught." *leaves the room*

Guy 2: *muttering to himself in annoyance* "Well, of course Ruby got caught. He assassinated Oswald on national television, for God's sake.

  • This goes all the way back to first or second grade (1986 or 1987), so it's definitely a children's book. I'm pretty sure these were short stories, or at least chapters that didn't have much to do with each other. All the characters are Funny Animals, and the main character--I think probably the title character is a Doctor Doolittle-ish lion who solves all the other animals' problems. The one that I remember most clearly is about a Siamese cat who goes to the lion-doctor for help because his (the cat's) identical brother keeps doing bad things and setting him up so he gets in trouble for them. The doctor invents some kind of potion that makes the good brother into a reverse Siamese cat, dark with light points, so that everyone can tell them apart. It ends with the former bad brother coming to the doctor because now the good brother is so unique that everyone's paying him all kinds of special attention, and the doctor sketching a purple Siamese cat with orange points on his notepad.
  • A short story from Cricket magazine (IIRC). There's a girl who is considered "weird" by people. She sells weaving and stuff, and she has a cloak that is implied to turn people invisible (I think). In the end it turns out she's a werewolf of some sort. It had a second part in the next issue (or something).
  • Children's anthology book with numerous stories, one story is about a character who spends way too much time talking to their friends on their cellphone and they get turned into one as a result of the twist, or rather their head turns into one, basically they turn into essentially a cellphone with human features.
  • A story in which a professor needs to get his memory erased in order to live with the native population.
  • A very strange fantasy story set in a place where everything ran on the Life Energy contained in human bones, and The Undead were regular parts of society. The main character was supposed to guard a diva, but got affected by some sort of spell and kidnapped her, killed her and mutilated her body a bunch. (He kept hearing the phrase "Do you hear the bones?") Then he was hospitalized, recovered, and was hired to investigate what exactly happened to him. His coworkers included a ghost-like thing (I think it was called a wraith or something) and a zombie, and he fell in love with the zombie. He ended up getting killed and brought back as a zombie himself.
  • I read a fantasy novel for very young children, once. A tulip grew out of a boy's head. That's pretty much all I can remember of it.
  • I remember reading a children's/young adult's sci-fi book about a team of archaeologists on an alien planet with an extinct civilization of giant bugs, and they find the remains of a human. Through time-travel shenanigans, it eventually turns out that the human remains were from another member of the team who also went back in time to do evil stuff.
    • Wow. I think you're describing the same book I came here to ask about. See if any of this sounds familiar: The archaeologists are investigating the last days of an alien (humanoid?) civilization, by using belts (or wristwatches?) that let them travel in time while remaining invisible (but not immaterial) to the locals. They visit some sort of art gallery/museum, where a female archaeologist remarks on an especially impressive painting. In the climax, the peaceful society is ravaged by a horrific swarm of giant flying insects, which destroy one of the team members' invisibility/time travel devices. The bad guy you mention is killed outright by the bugs, so his device is grabbed as a replacement. Back in the desolate present, they recognize the painting in the ruins of the museum. Now, who can match this with a title?
  • A children's book I read a few years ago. From what I can remember, it involved two kids... I think... and a giant fig tree of some kind, and they were traveling through time trying to find three lost seeds from the tree. It was set in Australia, because I remember that they went into the past and accidentally ended up bringing along a convict girl, and I remember that they went into the future and found one of the seeds there, and it was all machinery and lasers.
  • A fantasy novel, set in modern Britain where a teenage boy goes on holiday to the country. The only things I can remember about it are that the boy meets the Green man who is then killed. There's a joke about how he doesn't know where eggs come from and he compares getting the magic items to computer game power ups. One of them is a spear that can pierce any shield and there are two others.
  • A sci-fi novel, possibly part of a series. The book was about the invasion of earth by an alien race which (I think) turned out to be either humans from an alternate history, or aliens that were remarkably similar. They had managed to create ships to travel across space (and tech to sling asteroids around), but I think that they hadn't discovered microtransistors or something like that, so their technology was all valves and steampunk and that. I remember that one of the first chapters, set in some monitoring base or military bunker in Berlin, ends with the base being suddenly obliterated by an asteroid hitting Germany (flung by the aliens, which do this to other major military bases and population centers). I think the story itself concentrated on some humans on the run.
  • A children's sci-fi book, about a form of cyberspace which starts to mix with real life. Bits I remember include; a bit where a character notices that their shoes in real life are filled with sand (they had been in some sort of desert/wild west area in cyberspace). The other bit is more memorable; it concerned one of the characters who maybe developed the cyberspace, who developed some sort of OS or computer system to rival Windows, and had a chip implanted into their brain - but someone in the company had implemented a trojan or virus into the chip, so he would occasionally hallucinate weird-ass stuff. One memorable sequence in the book: chip-guy is in a meeting ogling some lady or other, noticing that her fingernails are painted metallic silver - and so were her fingers, her hands, her arms... spreading all over her until she became completely metallic - and then she began to melt... For some reason, that sequence stays fresh in my mind.
  • A short story set in a British boarding school, I think a Catholic school, where the narrator is a boy who steals things. He steals some copybooks from a classroom just for the hell of it, and the whole class gets beaten with a slipper because he won't confess. Another boy, a bully, tries to intimidate him into confessing by saying he saw him do it, but we know he's only guessing because he gets the details wrong. Towards the end he either steals or thinks about stealing a green plastic eyeshade belonging to another boy -- he talks about how beautiful he thinks it is. I think the title might have had "smile" in it -- there's a theme about the main character smiling to get out of trouble or smiling to get people to leave him alone.
    • I might have read that. Doesn't the boy flush some of the books down the toilet in little pieces?
  • I've been trying to remember the title of this book I read when I was in middle school. It was a collection of short stories, but I only remember two of them, and very vaguely. The first story in the book was about this mother of two teenage girls, and she felt like she didn't understand them. The older daughter won a huge cheesecake at this arcade-like place, and the mother, in an effort to understand her daughter, tried to make friends with the cheesecake. She also locks up the television, so the older daughter gets her mother a movie-of-the-month club subscription (since the mom loves The Wizard of Oz) to get her to bring back the TV. The other story I remember was either the last or close to last, and was about this boy whose mom was running for town council (or something like that), and her opponents put out an ad against her that used a Monopoly motif. All the stories had a kind of weird, dystopia-lite feel to them.
  • I'm trying to remember the title of two picture books I read sometime in the. . .second grade? Third? (So late nineties).

 A group of magically inclined wild children live out in the forest. They each have special qualities(one who talks to crocodiles, one who plays with snakes, one who lives with tigers, etc.) and the main character is a little boy who rides clouds. Eventually, some lady comes and tells them; "Hey! Try this civilization stuff, it's pretty good and you get warm beds". All the kids except for the cloud rider go with her and become civilized. When they return, they find that all the snakes and crocs and tigers and things don't want anything to do with them, and - that's all I can remember. I want to say it ends with cloud-boy giving a bittersweet goodbye, but I'm not sure.

The second one I read earlier, and so is even more vague. A guy (whose name is never said. It may very well have been in the 'you walk up to here' sorts of narration) finds himself in an abandoned town. Its a large, circular stone city and it's nighttime. He walks around and realizes that he knows that place, and that he used to live there. There's a cat that appears throughout the story, usually discreetly in the background. The story ends with the guy walking up the front steps to his old house and finding himself a kid again, and his mother is making dinner. I want to say he wound up in the town due to some sort of air balloon accident, but I could be wrong. Help?

  • What's the title of this story, taken from the Nightmare Fuel namespace? (Hint: it's from Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark)

  (...) Like one story, which I might've messed up the details of in my mind since it's been a while, where a guy buys a cabin, sees a strange hole in the floor and seals it up. Every day he hears scratching at his door and I think the hole might've come unsealed or something. And then the story cuts to the fact that today only a burnt chimney stack is left. That just rushed back to my head now. Lovely.

  • A story from an anthology I remember reading from way back. The plot was similar to Monster House, but had adults instead of children in it. The vampiric house seemed to feed off of the love and care that went into maintaining other houses. In the end, a couple of adults set fire to it, and it grows wings and flaps screaming before crashing and burning to death.
  • A novel about a world where a virus cause people to partially merge with technology, mobile phones, computers, guitars... The main character ends up with a computer monitor for a face and a keyboard on his arm. Later it turns out the virus was manufactured by a drugs company. A think the main character was named 'pixel face' or something similar.
  • A girl lives in a boarding house with a huge bush blocking the window. There's supposedly a ghost living there who smells of honeysuckles. One day, a mysterious man comes to stay there. He was implied to be a ghost or angel. At one point, the girl follows him into the cemetery, where he plays his violin. Then he goes into a restaurant. She follows him and has some biscuits or chips shaped like stars. Then she can't find the restaurant again. There was also an author or poet or professor of some sort who would lock himself in his room. I think his name was Mr. Rosenthal.
  • Book with a scene where one character is captured? by opposing characters who want to know how many people live wherever the first character is from. He answers with things to the effect of "(a large number) but (most) of us are under the age of sixteen" and "(a few hundred) and we play bingo every week, the prize for the cover-all is a turkey", the captors try to get him to quit yanking them around because they don't particularly want to beat the info out of him but he shrugs because he won't just give the info up despite them giving him the chance.
  • A Romance-ish novel about an orphan girl who is very attractive except for her one eye points in the wrong direction. She is bought and raped by this guy and gives birth to a baby on the same night as a nearby rich woman who loses her baby. So one of the servants goes and buys the heroine's baby so that the rich husband won't find out, and hires the heroine as a wet nurse. The rich guy has some sort of attraction to her, but she also has a younger suitor who is the "safe" choice that she ends up with.
  • There was this children's book about a young girl who helped out an elderly man who lived somewhere in her neighbourhood, and it was implied that he was God. He had lots of TV screens and at one point she saw inside her own home and saw her dad making curry and the cat getting some of it. And he had a model of the earth with a reset button and his house got robbed and the robbers almost did reset it. Um... yeah.
  • I don't know for sure if this was a book. I think it was. A family of... crows? Hides in a chimney because a Peregrine Falcon chased them. The dad (I think) left every day to eat corn and store it in that special bit of anatomy to vomit later for his family...
  • When I was in grade school in the late 90s, we were read a book I'm convinced was titled The Gizmo. It had two boys who come across a small, strange, multipurpose device, possibly at a junkyard, which turns out to be of extraterrestrial origin. For some reason, they put it in the circuit of their crystal radio, and it gains the ability to listen in to the alien ships. Previous searches for this book turned up nothing. Searching just now I find one that would have only been a few years old at the time by Paul Jennings. However, the internet is not forthcoming about the plot, other than the protagonist steals a gadget and it actively ruins his life. Anybody more familiar with this book who can tell me if this is the one? I don't think we heard the ending.
  • Youth book, read in 1970s/written probably much earlier than that. Similar to Wind in the Willows in that it's an non-anthropomorphic animal world and the main character goes to jail; I think for a murder he didn't commit. He breaks out of prison and tracks down the real killer. Main character (or major supporting player) is a flying squirrel, who bemoans the fact that he's really only a "gliding" squirrel and not truly flying.
  • I'm trying to track down a slim volume of three illustrated short stories I remember from yesteryear... The first story was set on a planet called something like Rokell, and there was some basic plot nonsense about rescuing a missing explorer, but the main point of the story was to go on a cook's tour of a seriously weird ecosystem. Trees with wire instead of bark, flying V-shaped creatures in various colors with holes big enough for a human to hide inside, some kind of chamber inside a volcano where tentacled things sat in rows and passed strange things back and forth around a pool of lava... At the climax the volcano erupted and sent huge green glowing seeds floating down on the landscape. The second story was something about an undersea colony, with airlocks and artificial gills and so forth. The third story involved a space traveler discovering a desert planet covered in odd rock formations, then returning to a space station only to discover that a saboteur was loose. It turned out that the rock specimens he'd brought back were alive and sentient and causing havoc, as rocks so often do. I also distinctly recall a scene (illustrated I think) of his ship clinging to a bigger one using magnetic discs on the ends of long arms. As I recall, the cover of the book was mostly brown, and the illustrations had a 70s/80s limited-color heavily-inked look to them (the undersea or spaceship illustrations were entirely in shades of green and blue, the desert planet was all in yellow and brown, etc...) I have no idea who wrote it, or even if all three stories were by the same author. Possibly an Australian book.
  • A children's novel set in an island nation similar to Haiti or Jamaica or somewhere else in the Caribbean. The main character's were a young girl, her grandmother and her best friend/brother (one of the two). The friend goes on to become a banana-republic dictator over the island (possibly still as a kid, possibly as an adult) and has a mix of modern military dictator and medieval king imagery, living in a castle but wearing modern clothes. A magic bird may have been involved.
  • A young adult novel which I think involved some kind of ghostly mystery. The only thing I remember about it is a scene where a girl (I think) is playing an old recording of the song "The Old Gray Mare" and the player gets stuck on the "many long years ago..." part of the song, and those lyrics keep repeating over and over.
  • Takes place on Halloween, deals with magic, something about a magical marble or glass globe? The protagonist calls upon the power of Morgan Le Fay at one point and transforms into her? Some line about how she takes off her Halloween costume and feels the heat beneath it escaping into the cold night.
  • A couple of kids go forward in time from an ice-cream shop - everyone's bald and they have to wear bald caps to hide their hair. One of the antagonists is named "Mac Maxta"
  • A fairy-tale type story, quasi Thurber, about a princess forced to perform three quests by a villain who is holding the prince captive. The villain has a groveling assistant named Grovel, to whom he tells about the dangers he didn't tell the princess about, dangers which actually prove to be harmless (the snakes are both small and nonvenomous).
  • A really frigging weird novel about a detective-slash-do-anything-guy in the far flung future. The first half of the book is him trying to find a missing businessman, which is mostly an excuse to wander around the bizarre, Crapsack World future. The second half is him hiding the businessman in a bizarre, MindScrewy place where the Somethings exist, which show you aspects of your own mind and insecurities. There were a lot of weird little details I remember from it - every town was an explicit Planet of Hats, including Sound, where nobody was allowed to utter a word (the protagonist catches a train with a young couple going home to have "passionate, silent sex"), a city populated by cats (where the protagonist's cat comes from), and others I can't remember; walls could change appearance and talk (and were usually very childish, the protagonist tells his apartment to behave itself when he leaves it); all businessmen and women had sleep surgically removed (including the protagonist's love interest); and the scariest thing in the whole book was a manifestation of the protagonist's... something... as a knight on a horse made of meat. Now, if I could only remember the protagonist's name, I could Google it, but all I have are you guys.
  • A young adult Sci-Fi novel, sold in England. Set in a Knight Templar dystopia, a city sealed of from the apparently devastated earth by a dome structure. The immortal residents are forced to wear outfits that make then look like the robot from Metropolis, dreams and memories of the outside world are banned. The main characters are a pair of twin sisters with a telepathic bond, one is to be executed for thought-crime. They escape and find that the outside world is fine after all. The villain is one of the twins mentor, who starts of as a father figure until he decides that Utopia Justifies the Means.
    • Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that's "Useful Idiots", by Jan Mark.
      • Sounds close, but no cigar. This was a lot less specific about the whys and hows of how the world had gotten to that state. I also now remember that 'execution' process involved being taken to a bizarre mock-up of a farm, stripped of the suit and left to die on the surface.
  • A kids' fantasy novel titled "Dream______" (one word, I think) that reminded me of the TV series The Dreamstone. The main character was a boy who may have been named Rufus (that being the name of the main character from Dreamstone but I think it was a similarity between the stories). In the beginning of the story his cousin/friend/female-relation-of-some-sort was kidnapped by evil nightmare creatures, so he went off to rescue her; that was the main plot. Ended up on board a flying ship - I think all the crew were animals and one of them was definitely a pig. Towards the end we learned that the nightmare creatures used to be good dreams but were corrupted by the villain. That's all I can remember about the plot. I read it in about 2000 but I think it was fairly old at the time. It was illustrated and I'm pretty sure the flying ship was on the cover.
  • Another YA book, but this one not a fantasy. A girl is always moving from place to place with her older mother. She has standard coming-of-age experiences. One I remember is where she spends all night making out with a boy, and gets bruises all over her neck; instead of being worried, her mother finds it funny and tells her how to hide them. Near the end of the book, she discovered that her mother wasn't her real mother, but actually a former nurse who kidnapped a baby from a hospital because Her Biological Clock Was Ticking and then went on the run with the kidnapped baby.
  • A book in which a boy goes through some sort of portal and ends up in a world with giant ants. He meets a girl with purple hair from a futuristic world who has a nifty forcefield-generating energy belt, who is looking for her brother. I think they meet up with a third character as well. Near the end he asks for a lock of her hair to remember her by, since he doesn't know anybody else with purple hair.
  • YA novel, about a small village where werewolves kept appearing (and I think killing livestock or something). The main character felt a strange sort of kinship to the wolves. At the end of the book there's a beautiful white wolf that gets shot, and it shapeshifts into her mother when it dies.
  • I had some kids' books about some group of baby dinosaurs who I swear were in pants or diapers or something, and there was one where they were making fun of an archaeopteryx who ended up flying and saving them later or something.
  • A picture book where a little kid got switched with a baby aardvark at the zoo because his grandparents had really, really bad eyesight. I just want to know the title.
  • This is from the late eighties/early nineties, what I can remember is that a woman from a future where everyone has mental powers sends the soul of her son back to the present to hide him from some evil dude. For some reason (that I can only assume is made clear in the book, and I have forgotten) she dumps him in the mind of an autistic teenage girl, and he teaches her to use her own mental powers which were causing her autism and she teaches him to enjoy coffee. if this rings a bell I would be deeply grateful for the name of the book and/or author.
  • Somebody is compelled to enter a strange portal and ends up in a world filled with giant ants. He meets a couple of companions, one of whom is a woman with scifi energy shielding and bright purple hair looking for her brother. Anybody know the name or author?
  • A YA science fiction novel that must have come out in the mid-90's about two guys, one of which is the narrator, the other is his friend who is a computer genius named Aaron Zinger. The plot involves Aaron discovering a way of using his computer to time travel. I also recall that his screenname was A 2 Z.
    • Did they end up causing some British girl from the past to end up in the present, and she got confused over who the current King/Queen was? And they later met that girl in the present as an old lady? I remember some book involving the narrator's friend time travelling with a computer, and that definitely happened in it.
  • Another young adult book... A boy goes to live with another male member of his family because his parents died. They end up in Africa trying to stop some poachers from killing elephants. At one point, the older male relative tells the main character that the world is always changing, so you should never overlook your surroundings, even if they are familiar. I think the word "Thunder" was in the title...
  • I'm putting this in literature though it could also have been a TV episode. It was a Fireman Sam story, where the children were playing at being fireman and the girl is told to climb onto a beam on the ceiling of a barn to be rescued by the boys. The ladder falls down when the boys aren't around, and the girl starts crying, asking, "who says girls can't be firemen?!" She gets rescued by Firefighter Penny. I know it was Fireman Sam, but I can't remember what the story was called.
  • A short novel about a small dragon. I can't say for sure what language it was in originally, but the title translated to my native tongue was something to the effect of "Small is good." It was about a small dragon that decided he wanted to be bigger. So he started eating more and more, until he became large enough to bully some of the smaller animals around. Around that time, he got too big to move, and the other animals were bringing him food, so he just kept eating. Because he was always eating, he grew an additional head, just for talking. He just kept getting bigger and bigger, and growing more and more heads, which, among other things, spat acid and breathed fire. He grew huge completely destroyed the surrounding landscape, until eventually the other animals grew sick of him and decided to attack en masse. It was the smallest animals that ended up bringing him down, thus the title.
  • A short sci-fi novel, probably part of some easy-reader series for children and/or ESL students. It concerned an alien veterinary on a planet where they communicated almost exclusively through bioluminescence. A human spaceship lands on the planets. At least one of the humans, being small in comparison to the aliens, and completely unintelligible (as they just "keep making noise"), is taken in as a pet by the veterinary. She gives the human toys to play with, among them the aliens' equivalent of a music box, which makes light rather than sound. The human keeps trying to take it apart, and being chastised by the veterinary. Eventually, he pulls off what he was doing. That is, converting the 'music box' into a device that lets him 'speak' the aliens' language. He then learns the language by pointing to stuff, and being told what they're called. I can't remember the ending, unfortunately. It may have involved the humans leaving and the veterinary missing her 'pet', but I'm not certain.
  • A series of fantasy novels (about teen level, I think) about a girl who through an experiment gone wrong ends up in another world and joins a clan that herds unicorns. I remember at one point she gets home, but decides to go back, and one of the natives thought that garbage bags were really shiny clothes.
      • This is The secret of the Unicorn Queen series of books. They were written in the late 80's early 90's by four authors, Gwen Hanson; Suzanne Weyn; Dory Perlman and Josepha Sherman.
  • A YA (I think it's the genre. It's not quite a picture book, but it's one for late elementary or middle schoolers) book about a boy who meets with an old woman (who may or may not be a witch) who gives him a talisman that grants a wish. His younger brother gets him in trouble, so he wishes him out of existence. He eventually regrets this, and goes to get another one, only to find that the woman's sick and possibly dying. He wishes his brother back, and all is well in the end. I know it was published at least 10 years ago, since I saw it while I read it while I was in middle school, and I'm curious because I consider it an excellent example of Must Make Amends, especially considering that the trope drives the plot.
  • A short story, possibly from the 1800s - early 1900s. A young boy's parents take in a boarder to raise money. The boy hates having a boarder in the house because he can hear everything he does through the thin walls. He hears the boarder sneak out of the house one night and follows him. It turns out the boarder is a thief who lowers himself down chimneys to steal things.
  • Another short story that may be from the 1800s - early 1900s. This was a story about a wax museum that was included with an edition of The Crucible. This edition also included a retelling of Hansel and Gretel as well as an essay about the difficulty of being an overweight woman in today's society (which I would also like to find.) In the wax museum story, a new guard at the wax museum is nervous, especially because the museum has a replica of a serial killer who has just escaped from prison. I'm pretty sure this killer used a garrote. The guard keeps thinking that he sees the figure moving in the corner of his eye. Then the figure steps down from the platform and reveals that he is really alive, hiding in the museum. He murders the guard. In the morning, the guard is found dead; the figure, wax. It was all in the guard's mind.
  • I vaguely remember reading a novel when I was quite young involving a girl who could clench one fist (her left, if I remember rightly) to go back in time in a form of Mental Time Travel. I can't remember if she could go forward in time too, but the one incident I do remember from the novel was that at one point she went back to her nursery school (or something similar) and decided to use her artistic knowledge from her later years to draw a rose. However, she finds that her toddler hands are too uncoordinated to draw the rose properly, and she bursts into tears (I think).
    • Yes, she gets her powers from a guy who mends her TV and he arrives in literally two shakes of a (toy) lamb's tail.
  • A series of three children's books, the first of which is about a kid playing an arcade game, only it's a spaceship holding tiny aliens who the kid helps repair their ship somehow. The second one involes the same kid doing something with his uncle's camera. The only thing I remember about that one is that he breaks the camera in the end, setting up the third book where the kid and his uncle travel around the country, eating at every branch of a chicken restaurant in order to win some contest.
  • My mom, sister, and sis's fiancee have been reading the Stieg Larsson books, and they swear they've heard of one of its plot points before. They think there's been some mystery novel (possibly made into a movie) where an elderly detective receives pressed flowers in the mail from an unknown admirer, the mystery and unsolvable nature of who being a minor or major plot point. Is there a book or series with this premise that isn't Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and related?
  • I remember checking out a book from the library once but now I can't find it again. It was about a teen who accidentally pulls two other teens (they were a couple) into the water. They get swept away by a river and he tries to save them but can't. People regaurd him as a hero for trying to save the two teens (not realizing he had pulled them into the water in the first place). There was also something about a younger cousin he didn't like and a girl who saw what really happened. I know the title was something like Dark Water or Black Water but I can't find the book through any searches I've tried for names like that.
  • This book may have come out in the mid to late 80s, possibly early 90s. It may have been published by Baen Books. There were two viewpoints in the book. Both women I believed. The first was in the past, and it involved a woman whose father was vizier or chancellor, maybe chamberlain, to the Emperor Scientist who among other things invented a way for people to be immortal. Unfortunately the father was allergic to the process, so he wanted his daughter to take over. She ended up being taught the security protocols of the Palace by the AI so she could do her duties. One part of the story had another noble talking about setting up an expedition to form a colony, perhaps because he felt the empire was in decline, which sets up the second part of the story. That was some time later after the Empire had fallen, and it has an archaeological recovery team on an asteroid space station, but some sort of mind control system was blocking them out. Only this woman who was descended from the old Aristocracy could get past it because she had a genetic immunity programmed into her. I never finished the book so I don't know what happened from there.
  • Now this book had a misogynist man, a teacher, who periodically could go to a mental dream land, sort of like Thomas Covenant or the guy from the Magic Kingdom for Sale. Somehow a woman, who I believe was one of his students, comes along and he's upset because he didn't want anything to do with her. I think he was bitter over a divorce. Anyway the fantasy kingdom is being invaded, and she's there to help too. Eventually they fight off the invaders, and go back to the world where they decide to date. Not sure if it was a series or not. The man had been going to the world for a while though. Think of this as an author reacting against GOR.
  • And this last one had hunchbacked evil elves from underground who had invaded the surface. One of the main characters of the book was a healer who could persuade the local leader to be nice for a bit when he could ease the pain of the leader's gout/leg injury. He ended up trying to save an Orphan Princess, by getting her out of the country, with the help of a shifty character and a pirate, but she somehow thought she was going to be betrayed, so she revealed to the pirate who she was. So he ended up trying to sell her out to the evil elves, and then something really bad happened. So the shifty character started thinking he'd hope to have access to a guy who could resurrect him. Because things were about to hit the fan.
  • Kids' novel I read in the 1970s, but might be older; in Spanish, but may have been a translation. An old scientist created two "robot children" and gives one of them "anti-gravity marbles" as a "birthday" present; along a (real) boy, they set off to explore the planet Mars. They find the ruins of an abandoned civilization, still maintained by robots. The robot's leader demands a present to welcome them peacefully, and the littlest robot gives it his marbles to save them all.
  • I can't remember what it's called, who it's buy, where I read it, or how long ago I read it, but it's a kids'/YA sci-fi short story about time travel, a group of kids builds a time machine and tests it by sending a stuffed bear a week into the future. A week passes and the stuffed bear doesn't show up where they expect it to be, and one of the kids gets sick of her life so she uses the time machine to jump a couple hundred or thousand or so years into the future, and the big reveal is that the kids forgot to take the movement of the earth into account so she ends up in space.
  • I only remember part of the book but it had a pair of twins sepperated at birth. The girl was found and adopted by a slave but was ok and i think i remember her giving a spolit girl breckfast of somthing like bread which the owner girl said she didn't need because she didn't have to work therefore not needing the energy. The other twin was a boy (?) who was captured by the big bad and was locked in a libery and ment to find out what happend to his sister but he all ready knows and pretends not too so the big bad can't find her.
  • This has been bugging me for a while now. A few years ago I read a YA paperback book. It was about a teenage girl who was hired by a family to babysit. They turn out to be a family of monsters, but are actually nice. The two kids are a boy who is a budding mad scientist with an obsession for ketchup, to the point where he drinks it straight from the bottle and a girl who turns into a wolf-man type werewolf.

The babysitter doesn't realize the kids are monsters until the girl changes in front of her. She's freaked out, but the girl assures the babysitter that she would never hurt her. I don't remember too many details about the plot. But I do know that it ends at a school halloween party. The boy brings creepy party favors that are actually alive, but no one realizes it because it's halloween and they think it's just part of the show. Also the werewolf girl wins a prize for best costume but turns it down, because it's not a costume, it's just her. Does any remember the title of this book?

  • A rather short book, probably from the 70s, about animals that visited a garden where the people who've just moved in leave out food for them. At first the animals (rabbits, deer, birds) are very suspicious, because all the other gardens are fenced or have traps or dogs or whatever, and are puzzled by this kindness. Eventually the new residents add a statue of St. Francis to the garden, which the animals recognize. The human neighbors who've always relied on fences are puzzled that the grateful animals don't damage the garden.
  • A YA novel. It's written from the POV of a sort of human character. I can't remember the gender, but they are part of a group of somethings who consider humans weak and pink. This one gets injured (or something) and is looked after by humans. The main character can see the 'vines' of human friendship and attempts to escape them. I think they end up trapped against a window, then they get caught and decide to become a human. One of the humans they are looked after by is female and might be called something like Kathy.The cover was silver.
  • Fantasy/supernatural series about a female protagonist who is a law enforcer/detective and there are a number of different monsters in them including vampires and werecreatures, wererats were some of the werecreatures that were featured.


Questions with suggested answers

  • I'm trying to recall YA or children's novel I read back in the late '70s or early '80s. It involved a pair of youngsters or tweens, a boy and a girl, whose aunt or some such was a witch in training. They stumble upon her secret after she's gone to take a trial to qualify for...coven status or some such, I don't recall exactly. The two kids end up caught in different parts of the trials their aunt(?) has been passing through as they pursue her. I recall the woman's name was Miranda and the boy's name was Matthew, but I can't remember the girl's name. At one point, the two kids find a poem meant for Miranda, giving clues of the forces she had to master to pass the test. It went something like:
    "Turned the spinning clock around. / Sprinkled stars upon the ground. / Raised a tempest in a pot. / Why, how bold Miranda's got!"
    The first line, naturally, represents a test involving time. The girl finds a bead necklace and runs the beads through her hands, and as she turns it, she takes herself back in time, initially to a scene from her infancy, though she retains her mind. When she fumbles the necklace the other way, she goes too far into the future and finds herself a very old woman surrounded by her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. One of them, Michael, is the spitting image of her brother from the present, so she uses him as a guide for how many turns of the necklace to make to put herself back in the present.
    Yeah, a lot of detail, but not enough for me to figure out what this book was called.
    • Sneaker Hill, by Jane Little
      • That was it, thank you! (Had I not lost track of this page when it was archived, I'd have responded much sooner.) (A few minutes later) I was curious that the link you provided was to a book printed in 1991, with no earlier edition noted. Turns out the version I read was Danger at Sneaker Hill, printed in 1977, which jibes more with my memories of when I read it.
  • A story of the fantasy genre. I found it in a locker room and only got to read about half of the first chapter. The main character had a chicken pastie and a raspberry pastie for his first lunch on the road. That's literally all I remember about it.
    • It might be the Stephen King/Peter Straub novel The Talisman; there's a scene where the young hero buys that sort of food from a booth in a mideval-type fair. Although it wasn't in the very first chapter.
  • So I was feeling nostalgic and was trying to find all my old readers on amazon but I can't remember most of the names. It was from 2nd to 8th grade and they were all by the same publisher. If it helps they were a greenish color. I definitely remember one called Cats Sleep Anywhere. Also there was Rare as Hen's Teeth and Turtles Like to Sleep In, I think. And something about a sun. If anyone else had and remember these readers I'd be so grateful.
  • A classic play or novel reminiscent of Clarissa or Pamela with a protagonist named Ora (spelled that way, and possibly part of the title as well).
  • Book I read in late Elementary School. It begins with a girl who is in a school play playing the part of a tree, when all of a sudden time stops and a fairy comes up to her and gives her a watch. The watch turns out to be a portal to some sort of fairy world, and has a picture of that fairy world on its face. When the girl touches the surface of the watch, she falls into the fairy world. The numbers on the watch appear to be floating around the landscape for a while, but they disapear. The girl finds out she is supposed to catch fairies, by trapping them and saying "We are one." She finds a fairy in a flower, who turns her into a bumble bee. Another fairy tries to catch her for her bumble bee fur, but accidentally turns her back into a human. This fairy had a blue triangle on her neck, which was supposed to indicate that she was a counter fairy, a rare type of fairy that could undo other fairies' spells. The girl ends up sitting on her when she turns into a human, says "We are one" and the fairy is stuck going on adventures with the girl for the rest of the book, even though she initially doesn't want to. The girl ends up meeting other human "fairy finders," with whom she goes on adventures, defeats a Big Bad, and gains a pet salamander. It is implied by the ending that there would be a sequel or a series.
  • I read a few chapters of a truly terrible YA fantasy book a few years ago. I remember, among the characters, the following: two kids, a boy and a girl; an apparent Messiah archetype with some really Anvilicious name like Raphael (it definitely started with an R); and a villainous religious authority of some kind (maybe a vicar?) who lived in the lap of luxury even though displays of wealth were out of line with the morality of his religion. There were all kinds of references to such cliches as "the eyes are the window of the soul, so you can tell if someone's a good person by looking at their eyes." The evil vicar (or whatever) had obtained some sort of little figurine and was trying to get the other one. Early on, the Messiah guy confronted the vicar in his home and lectured him on the hypocrisy of his wealthy lifestyle, so the vicar knocked him out with a wine bottle and had him sent to some kind of prison camp. There, he proved himself to be oh so super special awesome by calling out a tarot card reader on her tricks, thus humiliating her for no legitimate reason when she'd only been trying to provide entertainment to the prisoners. Since he was an unbelievable Purity Sue, this was portrayed as a good thing, and the tarot card reader had some kind of spiritual awakening as she realized how wrong she had been to deceive people--this despite the fact that it was stated that her card reading had been basically her only source of self-esteem for her entire life. That was where I stopped reading because I just couldn't take it anymore. Now I can't remember the title, and I want to look it up and see if anyone else hated it as much as I did.
    • G.P. Taylor wrote a book called Shadowmancer, in which the main character is called Raphah and is an obvious Messiah figure, and the villain is a corrupt vicar - I read it once and promptly erased as much as I could from my mind, so my memory of the details is very sketchy.
  • This was a book I read about 10 years ago, it was about a second coming of Christ, except this time as a woman (I think she was bio-engineered or something as well).
    • This could be Only Begotten Daughter
      • That sounds close, but I can't find it in any library, which makes me think it was never published here (& translated into Czech). A bit more information - it was written from the perspective of a guy (a journalist?) who got into the whole 'is she? isn't she?' and later fell in love with her.
    • I'm pretty sure this must be The Last Day by Glenn Kleier, though unfortunately I've not read it - I just remember a friend showing me a book called The Last Day and describing the plot which involved the Second Coming of a female Jesus with a journalist who fell in love with her... worth a look!
  • This Story I read in one of the Reader's Digest Condensed Books, it was about a former spy/secret agent who is enrolled in the Witness protection program, and starts living with a woman named Angela, from Philadelphia, who was the ex-fiance of a mob boss and also was in the WPP, one day some hitmen try to kill Angela, and she flees with her child, and the Agent tries to locate her, the finale of the is in a windmill inside the propierty of the Mob boss house.
    • Stalk by Louis Charbonneau
  • I actually remember the cover of this one: it has a picture of a girl making the 'gun' motion with both hands (you know, clasping your hands together with the pointer fingers making the barrel?). The whole story is about how she's planning on killing her ex-best friend because she thinks he killed her twin brother. When she asks anyone about her brother's death (he was shot) they simply sigh and tell her it was an accident- which of course convinces her that they're covering for the friend. She takes a gun and goes to the friends house and tries to kill him. He tells her how her brother actually commited suicide while the friend was in the same room. She has a bout of Heroic BSOD and fires off the gun. A minute later the friend's aunt comes upstairs to see what the noise was, and faints when she sees the gun. Turns out the girl had missed the friend entirely, and he tells his aunt that the gun was a toy and that there isn't anything to worry about.
  • A fantasy novel, set in modern Britain where a teenage boy goes on holiday to the country. The only things I can remember about it are that the boy meets the Green man who is then killed. There's a joke about how he doesn't know where eggs come from and he compares getting the magic items to computer game power ups. One of them is a spear that can pierce any shield and there are two others.
    • That sounds like it could be Elidor by Alan Garner, possibly? It was written in 1965 so the computer game power up thing wouldn't fit but I definitely remember the magical weapons and possibly the Green man.
    • Not the original troper, but Elidor doesn't sound quite right--it didn't have a holiday, and there were more than three items (one item for each of several children, each disguised as something more commonplace--the spear, for instance, looked like a straight piece of iron.)
  • In my middle school they had this trilogy where these two sibling, guy and girl, has to save their town by getting a silver M being in the possession of a woman who also happens to be legion. After getting it, they awake the legion army and race back home to put the M in the belltower so that they can prevent the destruction of their town. This is book one, then book two starts with town getting destroyed and the survivors having to migrate. Then, after a number of things like hallucinations and killer mosquitos, they find this other city. Not sure what exactly happens, but then the guy protagonist is told he is special and has to train to beat the legion chick once and for all. There's also a bit where the guy is so lost and out there he sits there pondering the texture of an egg.
    • the first part sounds a lot like the windsinger trilogy... not too sure about the rest of it though.
    • I'm almost certain that is indeed the Windsinger trilogy, with the second two books all mixed up.
  • All right, this is probably just about impossible, but I figure I'll try anyway. I volunteer in the children's section of the library, and last night, a woman came up to me and somewhat desperately asked, "Have you seen a book with a green hat on the cover?" I had absolutely no idea what she was talking about and said no, but now I'm curious. Can anyone think of a children's fiction (or teen fiction, since they're not all that good at sorting them at my library) book with a particularly notable green hat on the cover?
    • Could it be Making Money by Terry Pratchett? The hat's not really green, and it's not really a children's book, so that technically fails both your criteria, but I thought I'd try anyway.
  • Series of children's stories that I read when I was at school. Literally all I can remember is it had children being transported to different places, like under the water or into a tree? And when they went under the water there was Mr Gudgeon with his Trugeon. It's a long shot, but it's been really playing on my mind.
  • A parody science textbook with all "facts" being entirely false.
  • Very old fantasy book I read when I was young. Sort of generic, and the title had the word "Storm" in it somewhere--like Stormwizard or something. And there was a character who had the title of Stormwizard or something similar. Anyway--plot elements. There's a guy and his little sister. Turns out they have the potential to be powerful psychics (just a type of magic in the setting). The younger sister gets kidnapped, and the guy offers himself and the bad guys release the girl. The dude ends up being the student of the hot evil women, yada yada. Another character, the son of a pyrokinetic, presently dead, needs to get his own pyrokinetic powers awakened (pyrokinesis is extremely powerful, but all the users burn themselves while using and heal immediately; the pain drives them batshit insane) so he goes to the Stormwizard (or whatever he's called). Stormwizard used to be best friends with the pyrokinetic father knows how insane that shit is, and gets pissed when the son of the pyrokinetic approaches him. He eventually comes around, the son gets pyro and terrakinetic powers. The awakening process is weird--to unlock the dudes power, he's taken into this hi tech bunker and placed in a capsule or something, and in another capsule, a mole gets immolated(symbolic, no?), and bam--pyroterrakinesis. Anyway, the ending indicates that all the powers are the result of aliens leaving their technology behind. That's all I remember. It's been bugging me for years. Any help appreciated.
  • Young Adult/Childrens book, as I recall there was at least two books in the series. The main character went to a shop, like an antique shop or resale shop, and found some kind of weird thing (as I recall it was a grandfather clock, this could be wrong) that transported him to another dimension, and it turned out he was a contestant in some kind of... game show or something, I think it turned out at the end that it was a rigged game, the fate of the world may have been at stake... it's very blurry, I'm sorry.
    • Finders Keepers and The Timekeeper by Emily Rodda.
  • A book I read ages ago, about a girl with possibly hornrimmed, possibly tortise-shell glasses, who is either telekinetic or a mind reader. I can't remember which. It turns out that she is psychic/telekinetic because of a drug her mother took when she was pregnant with her. She figures that there are other people/children like her, so she sets out to find them. One scene sticks out oddly in my mind where one of these special children, or maybe teenagers, is playing Frisbee with his dog. I think it hits the main character in the head or something, and I think the dog is big.
  • I'm pretty sure I posted about this one before, but it was a while ago and I can't see it anywhere on this page. It's a YA novel. There were a bunch of children who all had the same genetic disease, which would kill them once they turned a certain age, I think 13. Each of them had a different cure to try, but something went wrong and one of the girls in the middle ends up breaking into the government lab and finding the remaining cures. I think it may have been part of a series because I remember finishing the book but not what happened to her, but I could be wrong about that.
    • You're referring to a book that I believe is either titled "Watcher(s)" or in a series of that name. Girl called Eve finds out she's a clone and tracks down the families of several sister clones before finding the medicines just in time. Unfortunately I don't recall the author.
    • Definitely the Watchers book ID by Peter Lerangis. My brother had a bunch of books in that series, all of which had different plots, but featured these watching ghost like people talking about them. The clones are named alphabetically.
  • A children's book about a town besot by giant flies. They make a giant jam sandwich and fly it in with helicopters to catch all the flies.
    • Believe it or not, it's called The Giant Jam Sandwich. It's by John Vernon Lord and Janet Burroway.
  • I read a book as a child in the late 90s/early new millenium, and it was some sort of fantasy adventure. I think that it took place in Wales. Not sure. I remember that the protagonist was a boy who learned about these magical artifacts. One was a tube of some sort with which he saw some weird people, and something had to do with spiderwebs. MAYBE his sister had dissappeared at some point. One thing very clear that I remember was that there was some sort of miniature horse that had a non-english writing on it that translated to "not this".
  • A pair of short stories I read when I was a child -- they may have been in the same book, two books from the same series, or totally different books, I can't remember for sure. I had thought they were from the Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark series, but I reread the three of them recently for research, and not only was it not them, they were folktale collections these stories would have been out of place in. The series/books they were from might have had similar titles, though.
    1. A girl returns to her old town to meet a girl she was friends with, as had been promised. They go into the nearby swamp, and encounter a legendary monster, then narrowly escape. At the end, the girl who returned found out that her friend had died before she came back, and she'd returned from the dead to keep her promise
    2. Three (I think) teens or children visit an island where a doctor they know is doing some work. They discover various giant carnivorous "plants", and are all killed by them -- I only remember two deaths, where one was eaten by a slime mold, and another was eaten by a Venus fly trap they'd mistaken for a giant lily pad.
      • The man-eating plant one sounds VERY familiar to me. Would it be The Double Garden perhaps?
        • Well, that's a film -- well, the one that's actually at all relevant to this -- and I'm looking for a short story.
      • Sounds like a Goosebumps story to me, or a similar series.
        • Sure it's not Goosebumps. I followed that series a lot as a child, and nothing like that in there. They were from a similar series (singular or plural), except said series was/were a collection of short stories. I think one of the books that contained them might have had a story to the effect of a teen girl wandering where she shouldn't and getting killed by a murderous vampire... or being stalked by someone, with the twist that she was a murderous vampire and the stalker was the one who was actually in danger -- I don't remember that story as well as these two, so I'm fuzzy on the details.
    • The killer plant story sounds a lot like something the Dare to be Scared series would do.
  • A children's book about a boy who can travel around the world via his bed, which has the ability to float and become intangible. I think it's really the bed that moves wherever it wants to.
    • Sounds like the movie Little Nemo which was based on comic strip Little Nemo in Slumberland.
      • Unlikely. This book was wone of those regular "text-with-pictures" type books, not a comic, and the pictures were more of a photorealistic, painted style as opposed to the whole outliney stile of the film or the comic book.
    • Just a Dream- an avilicious childrens book about preserving the environment?
    • This sounds like it could be The Magic Bedknob.
  • Another one, a YA book, with semi Ronald Dahl-esque black-and-white drawings, and it was about two mice, and the husband was a dentist, I think. But he went to go work on a fox's toothache (I might be mixing that bit from another story, I don't remember) and got swept away in a flood and landed on his own island, but eventually some of his/his wife's friends found him.
    • You're mixing up two books, both written and illustrated by William Steig. Doctor De Soto has the mouse dentist, assisted by his wife, who works on a fox's toothache. Abel's Island has the mouse who is swept away from his wife by a flood and stuck on an island.
  • Err, there's a book I read a while ago... this guy can stop time, and at some point he ends up near a construction site and moves a falling wrench two feet to the left so it doesn't hit a worker. Later that worker turns out to be someone really important, I think. Also, when he first gets the power, he jokes around with it, but has to learn how to be mature with it.
    • Bit of a stretch, but there was a UK kids' TV show called Bernard's Watch with a similar premise, suppose it could be an adaptation?
  • I had this book of short stories when I was younger, and I particularly liked one story. It was about a young nobleman, only his sister-in-law (or some other relative) was particularly odious and forced him (due to money or something) to marry the ugliest woman in town. She set up a sham wedding full of drunkards and other loathsome types, and forced the two of them to spend their wedding night in a dungeon or an evil castle or something really unpleasant. I forget the specifics. However, their shared horrible ordeal helped them bond, and the nobleman fell madly in love with his hideous bride. In the end of the story, he died in a really poetic way, on the same day she did, or something similar.
    • Long shot, but are you remembering a scrambled version of one of the King Arthur stories: "The Wedding of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnell"?
  • Children's/YA novel: It starts with three children (one elder sister, a boy, and third kid) who play very very nasty tricks on the evil(or maybe just equally nasty) nannies their rich dad hires. Then they get a nanny who ends up being a burglar trying to steal the Great Bear, which is in pieces, and the burglar's group is competing with some other people for it. The kids join the group of burglars and do various things to assist them in their quest. The thieves' leader turns out to be the kid's long-gone mother, who had joined the burglars because they were so abysmal at stealing that she felt sorry for them. I remember a few details: The boy (I think his name was Klaus, or maybe not) pressed the 1000-volt doorbell to the thieve's technition's abode, and also helped another evil-genius-in-training factor in wind speed when aiming the family's antique cannon/whatever. The bowler hats the nannies wore either assisted or caused the evilness, and the whole thing was set in either 188-1900's Great Britain or some alternate universe that resembled 18-1900's Great Britain.
    • This sounds strikingly like A Series of Unfortunate Events. There are three children, the oldest is a girl, the second is a boy named Klaus and the youngest is a baby. They get orphaned, and for the most part their caretakers are nasty people, and it takes place in a steampunk quasi-Victorian setting. Both of their parents were in the same organization as the main antagonist of the story. There are a bunch of things that don't match up, but they're so alike that it's uncanny.
      • I'm with the troper above--if the work you're after is not A Series of Unfortunate Events, then you've scrambled in a lot of ASOUE into your memory of it.
  • It was a children's novel. It had a peacock on the cover and it was about two kids, one was called Jane and she had scabby knees, there a ghost that used to be a landscape gardener. There was a mystery to do with the ghost, Greek-style garden monuments appearing and haunted paintings. Every time the ghost was around, the children could smell cigar smoke. They had a grandpa whose cabbages were arranged in circles rather than rows and who knew stuff about the ghost.
    • Sounds like The Revenge of Samuel Stokes by Penelope Lively.
  • I came to post one and remembered two more I've always wondered about:
    • Childrens/YA-ish, I suppose. I took this out of my elementary school's library a million times. It's definitely science fiction. I can't even describe the plot to you because it didn't have one. It was basically a travelogue to the various planets and star systems humankind had colonized, organized by world. The edition the library had was a big hardback book. I think the title had a format like "Mike Somebody's Guide to Whatever," but I may be misremembering. It had a copyright date of 1979, but other than that it never broke "character." The author info on the back flap was something like "the author owns several gas mines on Venus, etc." The only world I specifically remember was one that contained a predator that was basically a carnivorous crater, illustrated as a giant face in the grey, rocky ground with big red eyes and enormous bloody fangs. It lived in a symbiotic relationship with some kind of catlike aliens (red, scaly things in the illustration) that used their psy powers to lure prey to the face-thing.
    • Possibly by the same author or illustrator as the last one, or at least from the same era. It was a book of scary short stories. It was not "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark," because it had full-page, full-color illustrations in a style that makes me think it was probably published in the mid to late 70s. The stories I remember most clearly (because they scared the living shit out of me) were the last two in the book. In one, a girl named Tracy or Stacy accepts a package for her neighbor, who she suspects is a witch. She opens the package and it turns out to contain a miniature monster that stalks her around her house as it grows bigger and bigger. The story ends with her running into her neighbor, who says something like "ah, that's why you shouldn't open other people's packages!" and shutting her in the basement with the monster. The second story is about a girl who is babysitting her younger brother, or at home with her younger brother and a scary babysitter. Somehow or another they come into possession of a scary sock monkey that was given to them by another neighbor who was/might have been a witch. It was a scary, evil sock monkey with sewing pin claws. The girl somehow figures out that its patchwork body is made of scraps of clothes from children who disappeared after coming into contact with the woman and/or the monkey. The story ends as she finds herself alone in the house and discovers that the sock monkey has a new patch, made out of the pajamas that her little brother had been wearing.
      • "Baleful Beasts and Eerie Creatures" by Andre Norton
  • This is a short story IIRC. There's a scientist trying to create a cure for cancer. He does so... Sort of. It works by "resetting" a person's DNA, however they end up the opposite gender. It soon becomes a recreational drug, with people changing genders if they don't want to have a baby, if they want to dress a certain way for a party etc. It ends with the man going to a beach, and realizing he created "Angels" or something like that.
    • This sounds like a story by Neil Gaiman that's in the Smoke and Mirrors collection. I think it's called "Changes".
      • Agreed, this is totally it.
  • A series of books (maybe about three?) which contained several short stories that all had some sort of logic puzzle associated with it. An actual example: a man visits both heaven and hell, where he observes the same situation: while eating, diners are forced to use absurdly long chopsticks, making it impossible to eat. What was the difference? In heaven, each diner would use their chopsticks to feed the person across from them. Or another one, where a man had to find the one real flower in a room full of fakes. The solution? Open a window, let a bee in, and wait for her to figure it out. I recall reading these sometime in the mid-90s, though they were probably older than that. They may have been illustrated (B&W), and their covers were always fairly plain and yellow.
    • I have a book (used to love it) called Stories to Solve: Folktales from Around the World by George Shannon that has both of those in it. Amazon has it here, along with a sequel (Fifteen More Stories to Solve), although my edition looks like your description (black and white illustrations by Peter Sis, a mostly yellow cover). Yes?
  • A sci-fi YA/children's novel that I read in 4th/5th grade. It was set after some disaster destroyed the earth/made it uninhabitable, and it was written like a diary belonging to a girl who was part of a group trying to colonize the new world. They had trouble growing crops because the grain was brittle, and I think it either had a Downer Ending or they left it very open as to whether the colony survived or not.
    • The Green Book by Jill Paton Walsh!
  • A children's novel where a boy looks for alternative ways to nourish himself. The end result is that he makes a concoction that makes himself part plant, and he prefers staying outside just to bask in the sun. He kept thinking that if he stood in grass for too long, he'll be stuck there. A woman applies it, mistaking it for lipstick, and suffers the same consequences.
    • I do remember this story - The kid makes a chlorophyll based potion that turns his skin partially green, and when standing in place he did put down roots. The woman involved was someone who disbelieved him and came after him for some reason, and did put it on as lipstick. I tried a number of "chlorophyll" based searches, but came up with nothing. It did exist though.
      • Sounds Like Top Secret by John Reynolds Gardiner. The boy wants to do his Science project on human pohotosynthesis, but his teacher assigns him a project on lipstick instead. He does the photosynthesis project instead, and manages to make it work.
  • All I know about it is the cover. It has someone looking like a bhuddist monk sitting in the very middle meditating. There is a red orb to one far side and a blue orb at the other.
    • The Initiate Brother
  • A story about a burnt-out coder who finds his friend is not dead but has secretly become part of a project to hack the human body -- provide a computer interface to physiology. I thought the story was called "Ring 0" or similar but I just can't find it.
    • 0wnz0red by Cory Doctorow. An amazing story.
  • A short story about the third man to go into deep space on a manned probe, beyond the edge of the galaxy (it was in six-month shifts). The first two had gone mad (one catatonic and one suicidal), and all records or babbling showed was that nothing had scared them. he realizes that "nothing" meant a combination of vacuum and paranoia, the nothing of deep space that could pop the thin hulls of the probe like a balloon with a tack through if one of the welds popped. It ends with the next person starting his shift, saying they need a mechanic, not a scientist.
  • A half-remembered children's short story about a kid going through some sort of ceremony where he has to pick up a little dragon egg and hatch it, only when he runs away (out of nervousness, I think) and hides in a storage room, he accidentally hatches a rare golden egg meant for someone else. I think. It's all very vague- definitely written before 2000.
    • It might be Dragondrums, a YA novel set in the Dragonriders of Pern universe and published in 1979. Piemur is a child singer, but when his voice breaks he gets sent to monitor drum messages. During a festival he finds a clutch of smuggled fire lizard (mini dragon) eggs and steals one. He hides in a storage room and the sack he's in gets shipped to the bad guys' base. The egg hatches and turns out to be the golden queen's egg especially intended for the bad guys' leader.
  • I remember reading a novel about a bat who had to go on a giant, perilous journey. It was written from the bat's point of view and I remember it included such details as the tiny bat being menaced by a pigeon, which he saw as giant, and him using sonar, but I don't remember much more than that.
    • Silverwing? I don't remember any pigeon, though.
      • It's definitely Silverwing: the main characters get attacked in the city by pigeons, and sonar is one of the protagonist's main skills/weapons/defenses.
  • Fantasy Novel for ages 8-12ish, standard Dark Carnival stuff as the main plot with overarching theme of Careful What You Wish For, has one character turning into a Tree, (possibly)another causing a flood. It was on Cover To Cover once and I remember a scene of one of the townsfolk wrestling a guy that was invincible as long as he was in contact with the ground was implied to be Antaeus (if not actually him)
    • That's almost definitely The Wishgiver -- if the leader of the carnival was strongly implied to be Satan and the wishes were granted by pieces of paper with red dots, it's definitely that.
      • Thank you, any word on whether it's still in print?
      • Just checked on Amazon, and it appears to still be in print, with the added subtitle "Three Tales of Coven Tree."
  • A short science fiction story I think I read in an anthology of some kind - the narrator is essentially made an Unperson as everyone is legally required to not interact with him and act as though he's invisible. The narrator explains that, while this means you could do things like sneak into a restaurant's kitchen and steal food, it also means the chef at said restaurant could just "happen" to dispose of a pot of boiling water in your direction with no repercussions, because after all, there was no one in the way. I don't think I finished the story, so that's all the detail I can give.
    • To See The Invisible Man, referenced here?
  • A series in which the hero is the illegitimate son of a prince, is training to be an assassin, and can use telepathy. Anyone?
    • Telepathy primarily with animals, try Assassin's Apprentice and sequels by Robin Hobb.
  • A story I read in one of those "weekly reader" type magazines in middle school. This would have been the early 80's. It might be the same as some other story being discussed here. Or I might be combining two or more stories in my head. My memory is it took the form of a diary. The date was recorded just with a set of hash marks. It was told by somebody who didn't really know where he was or who he was. But eventually it becomes clear he is chained up in some sort of cell. He can pull the block that has his manacles on it out from the wall so he can walk around the cell. At one point he gets out of the cell, and my memory is he calls boys "little fathers" and girls "little mothers". But I might have confused that detail from another similar story. I think he gets caught out of the cell, and whoever-it-is puts him back there. Towards the end he says that it is getting harder to pull out the block, I suppose implying that he is getting weaker.
  • Remember reading this back in middle school or earlier, so my recollection is hazy at best, and may be extremely distorted. It was a book wherein the plot centered around a sort of experimental computer game. If I remember correctly, characters were teleported into the game world when they were fired upon by a kind of light gun. One of the characters (a bully, I think) used the gun on himself at one point, and was expressing some self-loathing as he did so. The main characters assumed that there was a Holodeck Malfunction of some kind, and that the game was dangerous. The ending, however, after they completed the game revealed that there was never any danger, and that everything that had happened had been what the creator of the game had planned.
    • Could be Space Demons, or one of its sequels, by Gillian Rubinstein? (The sequels are Skymaze and Shinkei. I'm confident it isn't Shinkei, but I have a feeling it might be Skymaze.)
  • A children's book about an orphanage or boarding school -- I think it was girls-only. A Magical Nanny of sorts joins the staff, and... the other adults disapprove, or something. The only thing I specifically remember is that she asks the girls a riddle, "What is the biggest room in the world?" and they can't figure it out, but one day a blustery administrator comes to inspect the school and is storming out in a fit of dissatisfaction when one of the girls suddenly asks him the riddle, and he says, "Room for improvement, and there's certainly a lot of it here!" before slamming the door. I also associate it mentally with the letter V and the color purple, but God knows if there's a reason for that.
    • I remember this too! -- but, alas, not the title.
    • Miss Know It All by Carol Beach York. First in a series of Miss Know It All books.
  • It's a novel, probably around middle school level. The cover was mostly black, with some sort of red design or image on it. In the story, the protagonist is upset to discover that her parents had made copies of her genetic makeup (because she was a chimera... or something to that effect). (If I remember correctly) It turned out that she was the clone, and she met the original on the top of a cliff covered in lilies next to a waterfall. There was some romance sub-plot, but I can't remember much about that. It was surprisingly dark.
    • Could it be Star Split by Kathryn Lasky
  • A short story in an anthology I read in school: A young boy wants to be a wolf, and spends his days running around on all fours and growling. His peers pretend to be dinosaurs or monkeys or what have you, so no one makes anything of it. As he grows, he develops a taste for rare meat and learns to hunt from his cat; the rodent population in the neighborhood dropped noticeably. When he's in his teens, he starts looking into ways to transform into a wolf magically. His best friend, a girl who's known him since he was young, helps him with this. Every time he does a spell, she has the counter-spell on hand to turn him back. Every time, something goes wrong -- he has a foot outside the circle, he mispronounces something, it wasn't the full moon -- and he turns into something else (a fish, a dog, an armadillo), and needs to be changed back. Finally, the transformation is a success! He becomes a snarling wolf. The girl who's followed him through all of this considers using the counterspell, but hesitates . . . then takes a swig of the potion, steps into the circle, says the magic words, and becomes a wolf herself. They run off into the night together.
  • I'm pretty sure it's part of the Bruce Coville's Book of _____ or Bruce Coville's series. If it's ...Shapeshifters (no "book of") it's probably Myself by Mark Garland. If it's another (one of the ...Book of Magic or ...Book of Transformations anthologies), it could be entitled Changes. I'm sorry i can't be more specific, but only a couple of his books have a table of contents on Wikipedia, let alone summaries of the stories, and anywhere else online (even Google Books) has at most a short description that gives the premise of three, maybe four stories. Hope you can find it, and if I end up at a library that has them, I'll probably check just out of curiosity.
      • I know it's not "Bruce Coville's Book of Magic"--at least not the first one--because I have it and this story isn't in there. It sounds like an awesome story, though, now I have to go look for it.
  • I can't remember the plot very well, but the setting is in an Alternate History where entire Europe is wiped out by the plague and as a result Asia expands to the West. I think there's a lot of focus on the development of the culture and so on.
  • I've been thinking about a book I read while I was younger, that was largely a de-mystification of the Arthurian mythos. I know, I know, that really doesn't narrow it down, so here's a couple more details: Merlin is replaced with a reclusive blacksmith named Myrrdin (or something like that), who knows the truth of Arthur's lineage and creates a spring-loaded "Sword In The Stone", where one can only remove the sword if they know the trick to it, and presents it as mystic in order to get people to accept it unquestioningly.
    • I haven't actually read it, but could it be Stephen Lawhead's Pendragon Cycle?
      • Looking at a plot summary, I don't think it is. I don't remember anything about Atlanteans in the book I read.
    • Try Jane Yolen's 'The Sword of the Rightful King'.
  • An unidentified work mentioned by someone in the YKTTW for Suspicious Spending: Victorian period mystery--one police officer has a swanky-looking house in a nice neighborhood, and the parlor is appointed in a style that would seem well beyond his means, so the protagonist is thinking corruption. Later, he gets to see the rest of the house, and it's almost completely bare, with only the cheapest minimal furnishings; the officer and his wife are just putting on a pretense of prosperity in hopes of social climbing.
    • Possibly one of [Anne Perry]'s William Monk books. I do remember a scene in A Funeral in Blue where Monk visits a main character's house - Dr. Kristian Beck - and is received in a really nice room the Beck only uses for guests. Later he discovers that the rest of the house is very cold, hardly decorated and home to *gasp/horror* mismatched, threadbare furniture. Knowing Anne Perry, she's probably used this device in other books.
  • This troper read a book when he was younger. The plot remains vague thanks to years passing. It was pretty cool. There was this small town that turned out was being controlled by a race of mind-control spiders. Basically there was this group of four teenagers, and three of them, it turns out had a crystal implanted in their brains by this race of crystal-aliens at war with the spiders. One of them has a spider, and takes them to this factory where they meet this giant spider who may or may not be the leader of the spiders on earth. Then they use the crystals to shoot a laser or something and basically kill everyone in the town. They high tail it out by hitch-hiking on a truck, and they wonder if there's more of the spiders out there. And no. It's not Pod People.
    • It's not an exact fit, but the combination of spider(ish) antagonists, mind control implants, and teenagers going on a journey to destroy the lair of the bad guys reminds me of The White Mountains, the first book of John Christopher's Tripod Trilogy. Ring any bells?
      • I remember that book fairly well, and unless he's really mangling it, it's not that. Doesn't even vaguely match up -- for starters, antagonists weren't at all spider-like (and didn't even show up in person until the next book), visiting the lair didn't happen until the next book, and the mind control plot was basically world-wide, not restricted to a single town.
  • A young childrens' book in the vein of Enid Blyton with a magical tree of some kind with tons of different 'worlds' on it. There was a Land of Idiots and I can recall something to do with shoes...
    • Sounds to me very much like the "Faraway Tree" series, written by the same Enid-Blyton-ish author as the Famous Five and Noddy.
  • In the book, the protagonist is a girl who, at a young age, experiences some kind of accident and nearly dies, only at that moment she finds she has a power where she can see possible futures and choose which one she continues along. during the accident she obviously chooses the future where she survives the accident, but when she gets home she finds that she has chosen a future where her parents had died when she was a baby and she was raised by another family member (an aunt I think). She is understandably upset at the perceived "sudden" loss of her parents, but the rest of the universe doesn't seem to understand why this has suddenly cropped up again after so many years. The main character attempts to recreate the use of her power and repeatedly tries to find her "home timeline/universe/reality..." but is unsuccessful. The plot fast-forwards to later in her life where, bereft of companionship because of the fleeting permanence of her reality, she has become a cat burglar, using her power to consistently choose the future where she is not photographed or caught. This lifestyle comes into conflict when she encounters characters who she does not want to lose and so on, but i don't remember the rest. Minor detail: It seems to me that, at least the initial accident, occurred underwater. Either while the character was diving, or the entire thing took place on a waterworld.
    • Is this Mainline by Deborah Christian? The girl in that has the kind of power you described and she had her first accident while diving, but she was an assassin rather than a thief.
  • I remember reading a story -- it could have been a self-contained short story, it could have been an excerpt from a longer novel -- in an English class from some time ago. It was narrated in the first person; the narrator said that there were demons all around the world, and that he had one such demon who tried to convince him that humans were vile and not to be trusted. However, the narrator explains that the more the demon tried to persuade him of this, the more he actively fought to not believe in it. Then one day, he and the demon hitched a ride with another man, the demon with a luggage full of money for some reason I don't remember. The demon kept on talking about the luggage he had with him and how corrupt the world was, until finally the driver lost his cool and ordered the demon at gunpoint to get out of the car and leave the luggage behind. There was some quote the man said while he drove away, along the lines of "Demons. You give them an inch, and they'll foul up the whole world." Unfortunately, the car later ran out of gas in the middle of nowhere (it might have been a desert), so the man told the narrator to stay in the car while he took the luggage of money and went to get help. The narrator stayed in the car for days, and began to hallucinate that demons were taunting him about the man deserting him, saying "Now do you believe me? Now do you believe that all humans are crude?" In response, the narrator screamed that he didn't, and the man did indeed come back for him, weeping with joy when he found that his passenger was still alive. The closing lines from the narrator were that while he has been visited by many demons even after that, they have not been able to shake his faith in his fellow men. Well, as you can see, I remember an ungodly number of details about the story. Just not the title. (AAARGH!) I thought the title was "A Precocious Autobiography," but the book a Google Search turned up with that title doesn't seem to be about demons at all. All these details and almost-quotes, and yet I cannot recall the most important detail of all. So frustrating!
    • Google Books suggests you remembered the title correctly ("A Precocious Autobiography", by Yevgeny Aleksandrovich Yevtushenko): excerpt
  • A horror novel (more likely a short story) told from the point of view of a boy who finds that he has a brother in the basement, chained up. His father explains it's because of an old family curse (?) and the brother turns into a werewolf-like animal (?). He's kept chained up at all times for the family's safety. Then the brother dies, but when he dies he changes back into human form and just looks like a horribly-abused child. So the father and the boy have to bury him in secret. It's left open as to whether the curse was real or if the father was insane (and passed that insanity down possibly to the boy).
    • I believe you are thinking of Lisey's Story by Stephen King, or else Mr I-could-publish-my-shopping-list engaged in some plagiarism.
      • Sure sounds like Lisey's Story to me. Does the OP remember how the surviving brother's life played out at all?
  • This one actually has two examples riding on it. It's a short story I read in an anthology of stories with twist endings. I think the anthology might've also included Stephen King's "Battleground", and I know it included "Eight O' Clock In The Morning" and "The Davenport." Anyway... the story follows a protagonist who we're led to believe for most of the story is the last living human, shielded by working in the sewer from an alien superweapon that killed everyone, and he lives in fear of -- but previously lived with -- some violent and chaotic creatures we're supposed to believe were the aliens. At the end, we discover he's just the last living adult. For whatever reason, the alien superweapon killed everyone over a certain age, and the children, without rules or guidance, have become savage and fitful.
    • I believe the story you are talking about was written by Harlan Ellison- Stephen King mentions a similar story in his book Danse Macabre. I've never read it, and I can't remember the title to save my life, but that sounds like the synopsis King presented in that book.
    • I think it's "The Underdweller" by William F. Nolan. Ellison did write "Croatan", about an angry mob of flushed fetuses. You heard me.
      • After just sitting on this for a while, I finally checked into it a bit. I found "The Underdweller" online then skimmed it, and it sounds right... but they left out the pages with the ending, which would have told me for sure.
  • Children's fantasy novel that had something to do with a hedge maze...also, different worlds. The bad guy had fabricated a new world: as long as it was attached to the real world, the people in it were only shades, and he could control them (and everything in it). Severing the link between the worlds would make the new world 'real' and take away his power. The protagonists eventually enter this world through the middle of the hedge maze and find themselves in a lighthouse that is actually the evil guy in a different form. When they defeat him, it falls down just as they manage to escape, and they find themselves at the edge of an ocean, watching the sunset. Or sunrise. Whatever. And they rescue some girl along the way.
    • Sounds like it might be part of Andre Norton's Color Magic series.
  • Occasionally a bit of this book floats to the top of my mind. I must have read it something like ten-fifteen years ago, so my memory is pretty patchy, but a family was setting up their new VCR and someone (the daughter, maybe) discovers that by setting it to record and then holding the rewind button they can go back in time to the last instance of the time of day it was set to record, and stay there for the duration of the recording. The parents, naturally, aren't supposed to find out. I remember it being the first place I encountered the phrase "pinned him into a corner".
    • Rewind to Yesterday by Susan Beth Pfeffer.
  • It's bothered me for years, and no one I know seems to have heard of this book. I think it was set in Oz (as in The Wizard of Oz) and involved a queen who had this chamber of interchangeable heads and one of them was actually the real princess or something of that nature.
    • Yes, I have read that one too. It's one of the original Oz books written by L. Frank Baum (he wrote "The Wizard of Oz" and then about a dozen other Oz books, then other writers took over the series). I may have time to track down which specific title has the queen with the interchangeable heads, but I am 100% certain it was one of the L. Frank Baum Oz books.
      • Okay, I had some time to spend with Wikipedia. The book you are remembering is "Ozma of Oz" which is the third of the Oz books written by L. Frank Baum (The first being "Wizard of Oz", the second being "Land of Oz") The character with the interchangeable heads is named Princess Langwidere. The motif was kept in the movie "Return to Oz", where the villain Mombi is a combination of traits from the villain named Mombi from the book "Land of Oz" and Princess Langwidere in "Ozma of Oz", and has a big collection of interchangeable heads.
  • A short story in what I think is SF&F magazine, somewhere between 1995 (maybe a bit before) to 1998. Takes the form of an interview with a vampire (possibly not actually stated to be a vampire), who's a little girl, and who claims to be the "muse" for Lewis Carroll's works (I forget if she also claimed to be Alice Liddell). It stuck in my mind for the use of various (alleged) letters written by Carroll/Dodgson as excerpts, specifically one where he ponders on the phrase "drinking your health" (leading to "then I haven't got any health left, since you've drunk it all"). Also, the vampire girl remarks that the pedophilia charges were unfounded, and Carroll/Dodgson was a perfect gentleman.
    • "Never Seen By Waking Eyes", Stephen Dedman, F&SF August 1996. Most recently reprinted in the collection Never Seen By Waking Eyes in 2005. (Or you could track down the rarer 1999 collection The Lady of Situations, which contains both this and a sequel that has never been reprinted anywhere else.)
  • A time-travel story in which something (a power outage Meanwhile in the Future, maybe?) prevents the protagonists stranded among dinosaurs from getting back all in one go. They have to, if I remember correctly, calculate when and where the return platform will appear next and get there before it disappears. At one point a dinosaur steps on the return platform and (I think) short-circuits it. Also there may have been a mammoth involved in the beginning, and I think there was a romance with the caveman chief's daughter.
    • This is definitely the book Tunnel through Time by Lester Del Ray. The dinosaur that stumbled into the time ring (and shorted out the system) was a brontosaurus apatosaurus. The first jump was to 80 million years ago: the damage to the system forced the protagonists to make shorter jumps to return. While in an Ice Age, one of the protagonists snuggled up to a mammoth to keep from freezing to death, and they met the "caveman chief's daughter" during the Ice Age.
  • I work at the library, and I briefly read a blurb for a book about how someone encountering a whale that inexplicably has an obscene or insulting message tattooed on one of its flukes, and how this ends up tying into deeper secrets or mysteries, but I can't remember the title or author to find it again for the life of me. Did I just dream it?
    • By a remarkable coincidence, it's called Fluke. The author is Christopher Moore.
  • It was a children's book set in Victorian times. A girl is found by a family who are immortal. The mother of the family is condemned to hang for a crime she didn't commit and has to be rescued before her execution - because she wouldn't die and that would freak a lot of people out. The girl falls in love with one of the sons who is like 20 years old in appearance and really 100 and something. Before she goes back to her family, she's given a potion to take when she's old enough that will make her immortal so that she can come back and be with the son. The rest of the family thinks this is a stupid idea, because being immortal kind of sucks what with having to watch all their friends and families die. At the end of the novel, it's the 1950s or 60s and the family comes back looking for the girl, but she's dead and buried. She came to the same conclusion about immortality and poured the potion out. A toad drank it.
    • Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt.
  • That book was scary, but now I really want to know what it was and who wrote it. (The story in question was referenced in Jane Yolen's "Cards of Grief", but that's all I could find.) I think it's called "The Queen And Her Shadow", but as far as I remember, the queen was prohibited from seeing her reflection, not shadow. Or maybe shadows as well as reflections (and portraits, too). But she somehow broke the taboo and... I'm not sure what happened in the end. Maybe she died. Maybe shadow/reflection/portrait took her place and queen herself was forced to become painting/reflection/shadow. It wasn't the only story in the book, but I can't remember the others - I only remember that they all was either scary, or depressing, or both. It could be folktales, but I doubt it.
    • Sounds a lot like "The Lady of Shallot" by Tennyson, but that's a poem.
  • A compilation horror story book, possibly by R.L. Stine. Admittedly, this troper hated horror/ghost stories as a kid and can still get frightened by them, but found these particular ones to be very cool. The three stories were: A kid who goes on a hallucinogenic trip where all of his family and friends forget that he exists, another kid who discovers that his elderly neighbours topiary comes to life and must be chased out of town, and my favourite, where two friends realize that their school is possessed and decide to take matters into their own hands in terms of driving the evil spirits out. I read this book in the spring of 2005, and happen to remember a publication date of 1995 on the inside cover. I believe it may have been part of a series.
    • Goosebumps. At least, everything you're describing is Goosebumps. Of course, i can't find the actual story with the possessed school.
  • A historical fiction/fantasy book set in France, in the Middle Ages (don't remember exactly when), with the fantastic element being lycanthropy. The main characters were a young woman who had grown up in a nunnery, but was sent away for some reason;I believe involving a noble inheritance (?), and the werewolf, a knight/lord ruling a small fiefdom. The plot involved a love story between the two main character, complicated by the man's backstory, in which he told his wife that he was a werewolf and she left him. There was also a nice-guy type after the girl, and antagonists who somehow stopped the werewolf guy from transforming back to a human; naturally featuring a hunting scene.
    • It reminds me of Bisclavret. Possibly The Wolf Hunt, by Gillian Bradshaw.
  • It's a YA dystopian sort of thing - they live underground, and the female protagonist sees the same instructional video every single day, and has memorized both that and the videos the two people next to her are subject to. Nobody is supposed to know how to read, but I'm pretty sure one of the heroes picked it up somehow. There are definitely signs posted along the way when they're trying to escape, anyway.
    • I remember this too, although not enough to get the name. There's also a scene where the girl, who's never seen an orange before, eats the whole thing including the peel. Her friend, who was from the surface and therefore did know how to eat an orange properly, tried unsuccessfully to persuade her not to eat all of it.
    • Is it H.M. Hoover's "This Time of Darkness"?
  • A YA horror, possibly by Christopher Pike. In the end it turns out that the entire story, seemingly set in modern times, is a hallucination -- the heroine is actually an ancient Egyptian who's been placed in some kind of stasis spell (or maybe just flat-out mummified) and locked in a coffin. Before this revelation aliens (grays) appear, someone rises from the dead after being embalmed, and I think there's a visit to the Egyptian exhibit at a museum.
    • Sounds like The Visitor, which is indeed by Christopher Pike.
    • As I recall, the heroine isn't an ancient Egyptian, but rather is one of the aliens. The reveal is that the heroine isn't the reincarnation of an ancient egyptian, but rather that she's an immortal alien, mouldering away in a sarcophagus somewhere in egypt.
  • A story I once remember reading about in a magazine (but never actually read), in which Snow White was a vampiress (or some other monster), the Prince was a self-absorbed Jerkass, and the "Evil" Queen was actually a would-be heroine, trying to destroy her monstrous daughter before it was too late. I've suspected it was Neil Gaiman's "Snow, Glass, Apples" since I heard about that story, but I've never been certain enough to try hunting the story down, given that my library doesn't have the collections it's in and I'd have to buy one.
    • Certainly sounds like "Snow, Glass, Apples" to me. (And I bet it's online somewhere, if you look hard enough.)
  • Some horror story set in a hotel where Room 13 (or Floor 13 perhaps) only appeared at a certain time of night. I don't really remember much about this besides that, only that I got read it in primary school and it terrified me.
  • I read a poem in one of those standardized English tests in high school. It might have been the UBSCT (Utah Basic Skills Competency Test). It was about sunflowers, it was maybe 8-12 lines long, each line maybe five words. I seem to recall it comparing the sunflower to a soldier, though the only line I remember with any distinction is "strongest of hours" and even that probably isn't correct.
    • Odds are it was written for hire specifically for that test, so that it wouldn't be familiar to any of the students. You might want to call the board that administers the test and ask them about it.
  • A man checks out a strange skull at a science library to reassemble. As he puts it together, he sees visions of the skull's old life, and eventually ends up turning into the creature the skull came from. The librarian was a creature, too.
    • This is a short-short story titled 'The Anatomy Lesson' by Scott Sanders. I read it in the anthology collection 100 Great Fantasy Short Short Stories. (It's a whole skeleton, not just a skull.)
  • I'm calling this Literature because I remember it from a paperback novel, but it was really a novelization of a live-action 1970s(?) Disney movie or episode of Wonderful World of Disney. Protagonist was boy inventor - I think he invented an automatic lawnmower, and a device to shoot the newspapers he delivered on his paper route from a special...something...so it would take less time than having to toss them by hand. Early in the book/movie he and/or his friend lost something down a sewer grate, and his friend and eventually his sister were stuck down there too. The book had a cover illustration of a "Frankenstein's Monster;" I think in the book it was a non-AI robot which he could control via remote, on which for some reason he used a Frankenstein mask as the head. The end involved a fireworks display set off prematurely - like the day before they were supposed to be used.
    • This might not be the same book, but I can add a vague remembrance of a YA novel which ends with the boy-scientist hero commandeering a bunch of fireworks and using them to seed clouds to cause it to rain/snow. It might of been one of the 50's "Danny Dunn" YA novels, specifically "Danny Dunn and the Weather Machine." None of them were made into Disney vehicles, though.
    • "Wiz Kid and the Carnival Caper" from Wonderful World of Disney
  • I read this fantasy book many years ago. I vaguely remember it being about dragon eggs... and I remember a scene where a fat woman was branded on the back with a heated shield?
    • I don't remember a shield branding scene, but the book "Dragon's Milk" centered around a girl delivering dragon eggs to another dimension. It's part of the series "The Dragon Chronicles".
  • I remember reading a bit of the book my mom was reading on an airplane once, over her shoulder. The only line I remember is "Fuck." said Beaver. If I remember correctly, and I'm not sure I do, the characters were playing chess or something. Sound familiar to anyone?
    • Sounds like Dreamcatcher by Stephen King. I read it recently; there was a character nicknamed Beaver who swore every other sentence.
  • This is driving me crazy. I can sort of see the cover of book one in my head. It was a children's or young adult series. I thought it was by Terry Brooks but I might be wrong. All I can remember is that a bunch of the main characters came from a region with tons of natural springs and they all had four letter nicknames derived from their initials. I can remember that one of the characters had the rather unfortunate name of Burping Ant. I never finished the book, but I loved it and my copy of it had a red cover with fairly lousy but minimal cover art.
    • It's not a perfect fit, but allowing for the corruption of time, the book you're thinking of might be The Firelings, by Carol Kendall. There are lots of hot springs due to their being near a volcano, lots of four-letter names or name combos (like Life and Mole Star), and I remember a very bland red-brown cover too. And the volcano was named Belcher.
  • There's this book I remember reading in middle school, something about three girls having to work together to do something. (can't remember what though, sorry) What I do remember was that each girl was named after a stone. There was Opal, Amber, and Jade. I also remember that Opal had a very cold personality (and I think she was described as being pale skinned) and I think Jade was a rich brat. Not knowing what this it is (for some reason) KILLING ME!
    • Unless there's multiple books with three girls named like that, Google tells me that what you're looking for is The Prophecy of the Stones.
  • A man goes to the doctor because he has a creature living inside him. IIRC, it was a salamander of some sort that leapt down your throat. The only way to get rid of it was to find someone who truly didn't believe that you had a salamander inside you. Then it would leap down their throat. As it moved through the school, everyone learned of its existence, leaving this guy as the lost non-believer. So the doctor, naturally, doesn't believe him. The man is cured. The story ends with the doctor sitting (on his desk?) and trying to get used to the feeling of the salamander.
    • This is the short story "Heartburn" (1951) by Hortense Calisher.
  • Fantasy, probably aimed at the YA or child set, but I can't remember. I do remember that I read it in middle school, though. The main character was a human boy raised by badgers. At some point, he has to set out, and... do that thing fantasy heroes have to do, accompanied by his badger-family. It involved collecting Plot Coupons. He met a girl, too. It was ostensibly set in the "real world," but there were elves hiding underground. At the end, there's an "author's note" where the author recounts "hearing" the story from an old man he met on a hiking trip or something, who was heavily implied to be the boy. Otherwise, all I remember.
    • This is almost certainly "Quest for the Faradawn", by Richard Ford.
  • A science fiction short story. There was some sort of expedition team to what I believe was Mercury. There had been another team that had gone years before, and at some point along the way this team finds their remains (with their skeletons' faces visible through the space suit face screens). There's also a point where they're trying to cross a crevasse of some sort using their vehicle, and I think several of them die when it collapses and buries them.
    • Not gonna be much help, but I remember this story! It pops into my head occasionally, usually when I'm talking about the planets to my son. I remember the author (it's written as if it's being told by the main character, right?) talking about the poisonous atmosphere (ammonia?) of the planet (I thought it was Venus, but obviously I don't remember). I read it during my SF anthology phase, which would have been around 1980. Hope someone knows.
    • Sounds like one of the stories in I, Robot, maybe.
      • It doesn't sound at all like that story, apart from being set on Mercury.
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