I recently read Talisman, a graphic novel about Marcie, who has a book she loves as a child, loses it, forgets what it's called, and goes on a quest first to find and then to recreate it, which ends up changing her entire life.

I had multiple books like that. Children tend not to register author names or titles, and I travelled and moved often, including between the US and India, so I might lose a small-press book only published in India and never find it again. Some I have managed to rediscover, while some remain lost.

I have ascertained that Dariba the Good Little Rakshasa, about a kid demon who keeps getting in trouble because he's nice when he's supposed to be wicked, exists but seems unavailable. My most recent rediscovery was Mystery of the Witches Bridge; the beginning of the review explains how it was rediscovered. It was as much of a delight as when I'd first read it.

I used to read a children's magazine, Chandamama, which had a serialized fantasy story which I read in scraps and pieces, as I often missed issues and then found old ones in a friend's house, and so it felt beautiful and dreamlike. It had beautiful illustrations in a classic Indian style. When Lucy reads the story "for the refreshment of the spirit" in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and can then only remember that there was a king and a hill and a cup and a sword, and she'd give anything to be able to read it again, I think of my lost serial: there was a princess and a flying chariot and a Goddess and a lotus and a kingdom in the air, and I'd give anything to be able to read it again.

Another that haunted me was a book of fairytales from many lands. I think they may have been adapted by different authors as they had very different styles. They were more adult than usual. A tale from France had a rose who turned into a man; he raped a woman, felt guilty, and became a rose again. A Scandinavian tale had a young man tending a red bull for three sisters; there was one who was beautiful and seemed kind, but when she parted her hair he saw a third eye in the center of her forehead. He and the bull fled into a blizzard, and I think it was ambiguous whether they survived or not. Another tale, I think from either Africa or New Guinea, had a man and a woman in a boat on the ocean, and they ate yams in three colors, white and purple and black.

No one has ever been able to find this book. I found a fairytale that's similar to the one with the bull, but it's not quite the same story. I sometimes wonder if I dreamed it. But think it was real.

Did you have a lost book? If you found it, did it capture the same magic you felt as a child, or was it disappointing? Did it change your life?
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londonkds: (canon ship (by redscharlach))

From: [personal profile] londonkds

I had one people on LJ found for me - a family of shape-changing alien blobs in a Paris suburb, which turned out to be Barbapapa. (There's a lovely image of the daddy blob driving a Renault 4, with his body filling the entire interior of the car like a mould, and his eyes on stalks sticking out of the sunroof.)
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)

From: [personal profile] edenfalling

I had two lost books for many years, but I did finally manage to track one of them down. (The Dragons of North Chittendon, by Susan Fromberg Schaeffer.) I still have no idea what the other one was called, except it involved Baba Yaga, a girl named Vasilisa (but not Vasilisa the Beautiful; possibly her daughter or granddaughter?), a boy who might or might not have been named Peter, and a train ride. I loved it very much, but I always found it by shelf position at the library and then one day it was gone. :(

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larryhammer: Yotsuba Koiwai running, label: "enjoy everything" (enjoy everything)

From: [personal profile] larryhammer

A few. The one at the top of the list right now was actually a lost tv-show-cum-book: it turned out to be an anime of Journey to the West I'd seen as a child in Japan, specifically the bet with the Buddha episode, which periodically haunted my dreams for years till I managed to ID it. The anime itself was charming but not nearly as magical as later reading the original book.

(I love being able to introduce TBD to the Handsome Monkey King. We've got at least a half dozen different adaptations of parts of the story knocking about the house.)
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)

From: [personal profile] sophia_sol

This is one of the few ways in which having a terrible memory is a blessing - although I'm sure I have lost track of books I found deeply important as a child, I don't remember them anymore so they don't haunt me!
sholio: sun on winter trees (Default)

From: [personal profile] sholio

I still can't find that one about the floating mom that I described awhile back and now it's driving me crazy.

I think it's so cool that we were able to find Mystery of the Witches' Bridge and both still liked it! That's a fun book.

I don't think I have any that are dramatic or life-changing, though. Mostly it's just kids' books that I remember liking but can't quite remember enough of the title/author to find again, but not any that made a big or influential impression on me. Everything that was particularly influential I seem to have either managed to hang onto, or remembered enough of it to find it again later.

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juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (Default)

From: [personal profile] juushika

This topic always makes me think of this particular bit from Jo Walton writing on the Suck Fairy:

Worst of all, that wonderful bit you always remembered, the bit where they swim into the captured city under the water gate at dawn, and when they come out of the water in the first light and stand dripping on the quay, it all smells different because the enemy’s campfires are cooking their different food—it turns out to be half a line. “Next morning we went in by the water gate.” This most typically happens with re-reading children’s books. It’s like the moral opposite of skimming, where you’ve dreamed in extra details the book never mentioned. The thin thing you’re re-reading can’t possibly be what you remember, because what you remember mostly happened in your head.

and not in a bitter way! that sense of lost imagination or of the potential book-around-a-book which I may or may not have created is wondrous and has its own, independent magic.

That said, I have a startlingly clear memory for the things I read; I'm currently rereading the Animorphs books for the first time since publication/childhood, and every element of the plot is familiar. So I rarely run into the suck fairy in this particular incarnation--the books are about as I remember them, which also means the ones that seemed particular evocative/magical actually are, which I appreciate!

There's absolutely been exceptions: I tracked down Enter Three Witches some years ago but just couldn't get into my reread, because my associations with the book, re: discovering Macbeth/Shakespeare as a kid and also the magical concept of witchcraft, were evoked more by "good title" and "I read this at the same time in my life because of that title" than of anything in the book itself, so the book itself just ... sat there.

There's also two things I haven't found (a book about werewolves where a non-werewolf is bitten by a werewolf trying to drag her from a fire; a probably-animated-movie? about a mermaid? who steps on/is otherwise hurt by a poisonous plant?). whatwasthatone/whatwasthatbook have always intrigued me in the same way as the above Walton quote, for their inherit sense of potential. But I'm convinced that my personal ghosts probably never existed.
sholio: sun on winter trees (Default)

From: [personal profile] sholio

Re: the Suck Fairy quote - I had an interesting recent-ish example of that when the first Narnia movie (in the recent series of them) came out. I remember thinking the movie version of the climactic battle really did justice to the epicness of the book ("It was just like that!") and then rereading the book for the first time in ages and was astonished to discover that the battle happens entirely offstage. I had no idea! It was so vivid in my head.

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sovay: (Rotwang)

From: [personal profile] sovay

A Scandinavian tale had a young man tending a red bull for three sisters; there was one who was beautiful and seemed kind, but when she parted her hair he saw a third eye in the center of her forehead. He and the bull fled into a blizzard, and I think it was ambiguous whether they survived or not.

I know a story with a young man and a bull and three sisters, one of whom has three eyes, but it's not Scandinavian; it's a Jack tale from Virginia.

Did you have a lost book? If you found it, did it capture the same magic you felt as a child, or was it disappointing?

I've had several, one of which I was discussing earlier this afternoon with [personal profile] asakiyume—a collection of indigenous Mesoamerican legends, where I first read a version of Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl. I remember a flood story in which the sole survivors are a man and his black dog, who can change shape into a woman; they repopulate the earth. I learned the word "bitch" from that story, because it was used neutrally to describe the she-dog. You'd think this would make the book easier to find in the age of the internet, but it's only ever confused the search results.

One I found again was Vivien Alcock's The Haunting of Cassie Palmer (1980), which as I've mentioned before was absolutely worth it.

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naomikritzer: (Default)

From: [personal profile] naomikritzer

I had a lost story from a magazine. I knew it had appeared in Cricket, but not when. It involved a girl at a magical boarding school who was the dunce of the class, inept and slow to learn. When you'd proved yourself to a certain degree, you were promoted from "student" to "apprentice" and given a gray robe to wear. The story started with students trying to learn to summon a bolt of lightning; the protagonist fucked it up twice, once summoning a rain cloud that drenches her, once summoning a lightning bolt so big it almost strikes her (she's saved by the exasperated instructor.)

So she goes off and practices. And practices and practices and practices, until the spell is second nature to her. She's scheduled a time to test her skill, finally, and goes for a walk in the woods to calm her nerves beforehand and encounters a man with a big knife who's snared a bright red parrot and is trying to stuff it in a cage to carry it off. She yells at him, he threatens her with a knife, and she brings down a bolt of lightning to burn his hand. He drops the knife and flees. She frees the parrot -- only to have it transform into "a gray-cloaked, flame-haired girl," the young woman from her class who is the MOST BRILLIANT, who learned everything first and fastest, who was the first to become an apprentice. The girl tearfully thanks her, saying that she'd been practicing a transformation spell but panicked when she got snared and couldn't change back.

When the protagonist gets back to her dorm room, a few hours later, she finds on her bed a gray wool robe.

I LOVED this story. I still love this story, like typing out the plot makes me tear up! I wanted to find it so I could send the author a fan letter. I did finally discover that Macalester College had an archive of Cricket Magazine from the 1980s and I set aside an afternoon, went over, and went through old issues until I found it.

It's called "Toil and Trouble," by Kerin G. Morrow, from April 1983.

My expert-internet-stalker friends were able to determine that Kerin G. Morrow changed her name to Kerin G. Rose and got a Master's degree in the late 1990s. There are two other Kerin G. Roses running around, neither the one I'm looking for, so I've never been able to send the fan mail.

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em_h: (Default)

From: [personal profile] em_h

I've found most of my remembered childhood books eventually, but one is still haunting me. It was for older children, or younger young adults, and it was a fictionalized account of school desegregation, from the point of view of a Black girl obviously somewhat based on Elizabeth Eckford of the LIttle Rock Nine. That book had a huge impact on me, and while I've tracked down many similar books, none of them are the one I read as a child.

I have an oddly vivid memory of some Real Life Problem YA novel about some girls whose mother loses the use of her legs in a car accident, and how they all Come To Terms, basically because there was one scene involving cooking pancakes which embedded itself in my mind. I haven't bothered to search for it, because even at the time the only part I really liked was the pancakes.

William Sleator's House of Stairs was one which I remembered in a vague but vivid way and eventually rediscovered, and although it is certainly thinner than it seemed to me at the time, it's still pretty creepy. I had entirely missed the somewhat dubious gay subtext (which I think was not so dubious in the context of the time period, but probably in fact the best that Sleator could get past a publisher).

Zilpha Keatley Snyder's <>The Changeling held up pretty well too, although I think it was always the illustrations I loved more than anything else.
murumatsu: (Default)

From: [personal profile] murumatsu

The YA one you mention I think is by Marilyn Sachs, one of the Amy and Laura books (sorry, I am not sure which, but I remember the mother was in a car accident and after she finally came home Amy (the younger daughter) made pancakes for/with her

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sartorias: (Default)

From: [personal profile] sartorias

Oh, yes.Two of them.

Long before I read Narnia, there was Loretta Mason Potts, which turned out to be written by Mary Chase of Harvey fame. The kids discover a secret place through the back of a closet, with a fun castle and denizens who turn out to be dangerous. It didn't age well for me, but it was vitally formative.

I was a little older when Penelope Farmer's The Summer Birds came out, which I remembered as being gorgeously illustrated. It wasn't. That was all the intensity of my passionate devotion to a book with my most secret kink of all: kids flying.
asakiyume: created by the ninja girl (Default)

From: [personal profile] asakiyume

I *do* have a lot book--kind of like your rakshasa one. It was a picture book done in only like three colors--blue, pink, and purple, and it was about a little witch girl, who didn't like the witches' plot to catch the fairies, which (iirc) involved spiderwebs. The fairies only came down to dance at night(?) Anyway, they got stuck in the cobwebs, but the little witch swept them away and the fairies were able to get away--and then they came back and got her, or took her away with them right away, because it turned out she was a fairy who'd been kidnapped.

... At least that's how I think the story went. I remember the style of picture was line-y, with then the color applied afterward, and I remember thinking they were pretty in spite of the limited palette.

Your serialized fantasy story that dovetails with Lucy's story to restore the spirit--that's magical.
magistrate: The arc of the Earth in dark space. (Default)

From: [personal profile] magistrate

For some reason, I don't seem to do this much with books, but I do with other media.

– There was a cassette of fairy tales I listened to a lot when I was a kid, and there was one particular story. All the details are fuzzy, but I think it had to do with a king (or just a father) who was dying, and sent his sons out to look for a cure for him. And one of the sons actually went adventuring and found it, while the others gave up; the son came back with the cure, but one of his brothers killed him and buried him so that he could have the glory, instead. And then reeds grew from the grave, and someone cut the reeds and made a flute, and the flute sang about the son's death when they were played, and it was very haunting and it is entirely impossible to google and it was a collection of stories on a casette tape so I don't even know if it would have been archived anywhere.

– For years and years and years I was half-convinced I'd made up my memories about Big Bird in some Japanese ghost forest, but I hadn't! I eventually found the entire Big Bird In Japan movie on YouTube, though the actual ghost forest sequence is a lot shorter and less eerie than I remembered it being.

– I swear I remember a really early virtual-reality computer game, where you could play as a person, a car, or a plane. Super-simple graphics; I think all the playable stuff was wireframes, and the environments were just grey lines on a white backgorund, and not very many grey lines, either. But you could run/drive/fly around in a 3D world, and if you were the plane you could actually see the person and the car as persistent objects in the environment, and I have never been able to find this game again or remember what it was called. For some reason, it also creeped me out, as a child. And I'm pretty sure I played it on the first computer I ever knew, which was a Windows, boot-from-DOS, 5 1/4-inch-diskettes machine. Which puts it pretty early on the scale of computer games, let alone virtual environments.

– More recent, relatively speaking, but when I was in highschool I did competitive Speech & Debate (...almost entirely Speech), and I ran into a poem while I was looking for selections for my Poetry act which I then couldn't find again for years. I think I spent more than half a decade looking, until finally Google caught up to whatever little slam poetry book it was published in. And then I tracked down the poet on Facebook and enthused at him about how long the poem had stuck in my head and how glad I was to have found it again. (The poem was Joseph Brodsky is Dead, by Victor Infante.)
sheliak: Princess Langwidere has a head for every occasion. (changing heads)

From: [personal profile] sheliak

That first one sounds like a variant of 'The Singing Bone', with reeds standing in for the bone in the title--the related set of murder ballads (about sisters rather than brothers) switch back and forth between having the magical instrument be made out of the dead girl's bones or the tree that grows on her grave.
kore: (Default)

From: [personal profile] kore

There's one book I've been looking for for years -- decades even -- altho every time I try to describe it even to myself, it slips away. There was a family -- I think two brothers and a sister. I believe the eldest brother was named Peter. And there was something about a fishing globe, fishing buoy? made out of glass, and a witch foresaw his fortune in it, but she was making his future out to be bad. It was full of nets and waves and the sea and enchantments. But I can't really remember any details.

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sheliak: Handwoven tapestry of the planet Jupiter. (Default)

From: [personal profile] sheliak

That serialized story sounds marvelous.

I lost Wren to the Rescue for several years—I'd forgotten the title and many of the details, but remembered the description of Wren's hair, and I think that's how I managed to find it again. I did still like it! (I was surprised to find out that it had sequels.)

There was a story in one of the kids' magazines I read—possibly Spider, but probably not--about a group of people who lived in a giant wooden something, which I parsed as something like a treehouse and something like a ship, but possibly able to fly. (Maybe it was an airship of some kind?) I think it was a serialized story and I only read part of it, but I'm honestly not sure. I have a vague sense of the illustrations, wood and motion, and that's it. But I still wish I could find it again.

And in another one--World, I think--there were a set of comic strips, about two pages per installment, about a group of kids or teenagers traveling through time with a magic something-or other--I think it was a magic chest of drawers? They possibly had a dog. Each story ended with a mystery for the reader to solve. I know they visited Rome just before Caesar's death (there was something about forged coins in that one), Ancient Egypt, and somewhere in Europe for a mystery that involved lemon juice used as invisible ink. I adored those stories, but only managed to find a few of them--I think the magazine switched them out for something I didn't find as interesting pretty soon after I started reading.
Edited Date: 2019-01-15 01:26 am (UTC)
tibicina: (Books)

From: [personal profile] tibicina

I don't have particularly formative lost books, but there were a couple of books that I borrowed from the library. Much like someone else, I usually found them by location. And the real problem is that my memory may be conflating two or more of them.

There was something about a whistle shaped like a bird. And there was one where a group of students made up another student (and did things like took turns signing in for him during roll), but then things start happening which make it seem like the fake student really exists and is doing things.

Though the best lost book story I know is that when I moved back from Minnesota to California, a friend from CA came to help me pack and drive back with me. While she was there, we ended up going to one of the local used book stores which was largely focused on SF&F. And looking through the shelves she found a book with a mermaid theme that she'd been searching for for years because either her mother had sold her copy or it had been in a storage unit which had been lost due to not being able to pay. And then it turned out that it was literally /her/ copy of the book. So... on the one hand she found it. On the other hand, we can't really prove that there's more than one copy of the book.
cyphomandra: fractured brooding landscape (Default)

From: [personal profile] cyphomandra

There was something about a whistle shaped like a bird. And there was one where a group of students made up another student (and did things like took turns signing in for him during roll), but then things start happening which make it seem like the fake student really exists and is doing things.

This is Jane Louise Curry’s The Birdstones! I loved the imaginary student idea (and tried to talk my classmates into doing it :D)

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cyphomandra: boats in Auckland Harbour. Blue, blocky, cheerful (boats)

From: [personal profile] cyphomandra

I started keeping a book log to deal with the moments when I would remember a bit of a book but not be able to place it (I think what set me off was a very visceral memory of someone chopping through a writhing piece of giant snake, that I eventually tracked down to a Naomi Novik). It does help.

But I do have lost books - one was in a fairytale world, where the protagonist was the second of three sisters, and so of course the youngest gets everything, and there was a bit where she and the elder sister were paralysed in a hay loft listening to the youngest say the right things to the old woman or whoever down below. Another was a black and white picture book with pigs as protagonists, and half pages that you could turn to show new events. I think one ran away and there might have been a circus? But it’s the mood of it I remember, which was melancholic and compelling and dangerous all at once, at least when I was six or so.

watersword: Keira Knightley, in Pride and Prejudice (2007), turning her head away from the viewer, the word "elizabeth" written near (Default)

From: [personal profile] watersword

When I was a child, I spent a certain amount of time hanging out in the basement of a local church, where they had a bookcase full of God only knows what — National Geographics from sixty years earlier, etc., etc. One book was a hardcover, and was my introduction to Mars colonization, I remember nothing about it except that the protagonists were children/adolescents and the viewpoint character was a newly-arrived-from-Earth (Terra?) colonist who remarked on the strong Mars accent of another kid who was a colony native. That's the entirety of my knowledge, I just remember being so impressed by that bit of worldbuilding.
kore: (Default)

From: [personal profile] kore

OH that reminds me, there's another book I've never been able to find but I remember better -- a very old man who sold his soul or something (no really) so he could be young again, or find youth, and there was a description of him in a sailor suit rolling a hoop, and something about a rocking horse? and very vivid black and white illustrations. It ended badly for him I think.
skygiants: the aunts from Pushing Daisies reading and sipping wine on a couch (wine and books)

From: [personal profile] skygiants

My second-grade classroom had a whole shelf of fantasy novels aimed at children slightly older than we were that only I ever read - so some of them my teacher gave me to take home with at the end of the year, but some of them she didn't, and I have only extremely vague very watercolor memories of them. I think one of them possibly had 'Enchanted' in the title, and another had a cover that showed children flying through the air on some kind of giant seed pod, and I've never seen any of them outside that room.

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affreca: Cat Under Blankets (Default)

From: [personal profile] affreca

I've been able to track down (or stumble across) all but two childhood books I'd like to reread.

One has a set up like Superman - the hero turns out to have been sent to Earth as an infant when his planet blows up. There's something about a green gem. The scene that sticks with me is when his class visits a planetarium (or telescope), and he looks at the nebula where his home used to be and starts recovering memories. I've hunted my childhood library, but no luck.

The other was set somewhere rural US. A lot of orphans are found and adopted. It turns out they're aliens with special abilities and amazing brains. However, their bodies are put together wrong, and they end up dying young. The main character is a kid who's family adopts several of the aliens. He ends up marrying one of them in the end.

I realize when I try to write it out how few details I actually remember.
genarti: Orange harvest moon viewed through grass or grain, with text "Come.  Reap." ([dt] demon moon)

From: [personal profile] genarti

This doesn't really properly count as lost. For one thing, I'm pretty sure my parents still have it in a box somewhere, and for another thing, by the time I thought to google it a year or two ago enough things were on the internet that I could find it, too -- because I'd forgotten much of the plot and almost all the names, but I did remember the monster's distinctive and searchable name. So once I actually thought to search, it didn't take that long to find Turramulli the Giant Quinkin.

But for years, all I remembered of it was that name, Turramulli, and vivid images from the illustrations: the monster, striding along, tall as a cliff, dark and shaggy and sharp-toothed and bloody-mouthed. The people, small as insects beside his huge shaggy ankle, hiding in holes in those cliffs. That the sound he made was wonk, wonk, and it echoed across the land.

That book TERRIFIED me as a child. It took me years to be able to think of the name Turramulli or that echoing wonk, wonk without a frisson of fear, and there's still a little bit of a nostalgic one now. But clearly I was a child who believed in facing her fears head-on, because when I mentioned this to my mom a couple of years back, she said, "What I remember is how you kept asking me to read it to you! I always thought it seemed awfully scary for a little kid, but you kept on asking for it..." Meanwhile, I have no recollection of asking for it, just of finding Turramulli terrifying. But clearly it stuck with me!

I haven't tried rereading it, but I kind of want to.

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rydra_wong: Lee Miller photo showing two women wearing metal fire masks in England during WWII. (Default)

From: [personal profile] rydra_wong

A tale from France had a rose who turned into a man; he raped a woman, felt guilty, and became a rose again. A Scandinavian tale had a young man tending a red bull for three sisters; there was one who was beautiful and seemed kind, but when she parted her hair he saw a third eye in the center of her forehead.

... okay you didn't dream this book because I REMEMBER IT TOO. I don't remember anything else about it, but both of those descriptions ring a bell.

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From: [personal profile] rydra_wong - Date: 2019-01-15 08:00 am (UTC) - Expand
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)

From: [personal profile] vass

I've had many books like that.


- Jane Yolen's Heart's Blood. I read it in one sitting while in a library, didn't take note of title and author, and didn't encounter it again for years. Couldn't even remember anything about it except "there was a guy training a dragon, and it make me feel like... I can't put it into words." Then when I did find it again, I didn't know it was that book until I started reading and went "wait, is that... it's THAT BOOK!" It was just as good later.

- Italo Calvino's If on a winter's night a traveller. In this case I hadn't read it myself, but a teacher described the book and read out the first line, and it sounded amazingly my thing, like just the concept was life-changing, and I made a note about it. Then I forgot about it. Then I lost the note.

Then, maybe as long as a decade later, I found the note again and this time I had internet access. I found it and read it. I am sorry to say that it didn't hold up. The first line's still just as good, but the author's whole concept of who a reader is... only includes heterosexual men. The "you" who are about to pick up this book is a man, and a man like the author at that. Bitterly disappointing.

But I haven't let go of the magic of the book as I imagined it from that description and first line.
Edited Date: 2019-01-15 07:18 am (UTC)

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From: [personal profile] vass - Date: 2019-01-15 07:57 am (UTC) - Expand
yhlee: voidmoth with starry wings in a triangle (hxx emblem Nirai)

From: [personal profile] yhlee

You have caused me to refind Stephen Cosgrove's Flutterby Fly, which I hadn't thought of since I last read it in kindergarten. There was a whole series of these--Serendipity Books or something? With butterfly-winged horses and unicorns and things. And now I want to collect them again, except yikes, some of those prices.

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From: [personal profile] yhlee - Date: 2019-01-15 07:32 am (UTC) - Expand

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From: [personal profile] tibicina - Date: 2019-01-15 09:59 am (UTC) - Expand
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)

From: [personal profile] vass

Oh my god. I was reading this book and I just remembered one I forgot I lost.

It was excerpted in an English textbook, and I don't know if it was part of a longer short story or novella or part of a novel.

It was about a girl who had brass-coloured metallic skin and wasn't bothered by heat. Once when she was roasting chestnuts in the fireplace, she spilled them in the fire and before her parents could stop her, she reached in and picked them up, and was completely unharmed. (Her name might have been Cassie, or I might be confabulating that.)

She's teased at school for her unusual skin: "They're calling her Brassy," one of her parents reports. "And not as in Bold As," the other adds.

Her parents decide to tell her the truth. She's the way she is because in an effort to save humanity from the effects of overpopulation, scientists got some parents to agree to splice some Venusian bacteria's DNA into their prospective children's embryos, so the children might be heat-resistant too and be able to colonise Venus when they grow up.

Guiltily, her parents tell her "You don't have to go there, it's your choice."
To their great disquiet, staring into the fire, she replies "No, I want to go home."

The main McGuffin sounds absolutely batshit in restrospect, but even now I have that same welling up/shiver of recognition.

I can totally see which tropes present in that story were so powerful for me at age 14, too. A bit of the Ugly Duckling, a bit of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and a whole lot of "you are actually an alien from outer space and your home is there not here."

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From: [personal profile] vass - Date: 2019-01-15 08:01 am (UTC) - Expand

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