Rated G. Contains a childhood made strange by books.
In the House of the Seven Librarians
by Ellen Klages
Once upon a time the Carnegie library sat on a wooded bluff on the east side of town.
About the Author
Ellen Klages grew up in Bexley, Ohio, a few blocks away from the public library, and remembers: “When I was a kid, access to books was segregated. Until you were 12, you could only check out books from the Children’s Room, which had its own rules and customs. I remember picking out a book that had a rocket ship on the spine, but one of the librarians told me I wouldn’t like it. It was science fiction and that was for boys. “The message stuck, for a while. But after graduating from college—with a degree in Philosophy—I moved to San Francisco and worked at the Exploratorium, a museum of science, art, and human perception founded by physicist Frank Oppenheimer. And the rule of thumb there is: Everyone is a scientist. Everyone is an artist. “All it takes is curiosity and the urge to explore—what would happen if… Every day at the museum I’d hear someone exclaim, ‘Wow! Look at this!’ Later, I began to think of history and fiction the same way, getting hooked on a fact or a picture or a chance remark that make me say, ‘Wow! I never thought about that…’ “It’s an attitude I want my characters—and my readers—to share.” Her story, “Basement Magic,” won the Nebula Award in 2005. Several of her other stories have been on the final ballot for the World Fantasy, Nebula, and Hugo Awards, and have been translated into Czech, French, German, Hungarian, Japanese, and Swedish. A collection of her short fiction, Portable Childhoods, was published in 2007. Her first novel, The Green Glass Sea, won the Scott O’Dell Award for historical fiction and the New Mexico State Book Award. It was a finalist for the Northern California Book Award, the Quills Award, and the Locus Award. A sequel, White Sands, Red Menace, was published by Viking in 2008. It has a rocket ship on the cover.
About the Narrator
Rachel Swirsky came onboard PodCastle as the founding editor in 2008 and was honored to run many beautiful stories by amazing authors. She would name them all, but would rather point you to the beginning of the PodCastle archive. It’s a Peter Beagle story.
Rachel graduated from the Iowa Writers Workshop, and she’s been nominated for the Hugo Award, the World Fantasy Award, the Locus Award, and several others. She’s won the Nebula Award twice, once for her novella “The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers Beneath the Queen’s Window” and once for her short story “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love.” She’s been published a number of times in the first three Escape Artists podcasts: EscapePod, PodCastle, and PseudoPod, and narrated a bunch of episodes, too.
Find her website at rachelswirsky.com, visit her on Twitter, and help her write more stories on Patreon where you can get an original story or poem each month for as little as a dollar.