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Fairyland is a Glorious Place

July 24, 2014 | Lorna | Comments (0)

The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There  The girl who circumnavigated Fairyland in a ship of her own makingCatherynne Valente's wonderful trilogy begins with The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, a whimsical Victorian fairytale intended for adults. In the first book September is invited to Fairyland by a Green Wind and a Leopard. She makes friends with A-L, whose mother was a wyvern and whose father was a library.

In The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There, September learns the Hollow Queen is stealing the shadows of the inhabitants of Fairyland and all the magic is fading away. She shops at a Goblin Market, and rescues a Night Dodo named Aubergine, as she fights to save her friends.

The trilogy concludes with The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two. Driving across the wonderfully imagined moonscape in her faithful Model-A car, September returns to Fairyland to hunt the dreadful moon-Yeti and prevent the destruction of Fairyland's moon.

The beauty of Valente's prose is only matched by the richness of her imagination. September's adventures lend new life to old images, and these exuberant, charming stories never pause for breath.

July Events at the Merril Collection

July 4, 2014 | Lorna | Comments (0)


Glen Hirshberg, author of Motherless Child,  The Snowman's Child, and numerous short story collections, will appear at the Merril Collection of Science Fiction on Thursday, July 17, at 7:00PM. Mr. Hirshberg is a previous winner of the Shirley Jackson Award for outstanding achievement in the literature of psychological suspense, horror, and the dark fantastic. Mr. Hirshberg's appearance is co-sponsored by the Friends of the Merril Collection and ChiZine Press.

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                                                                                                       Motherless Child

Staff Recommendations

June 20, 2014 | Lorna | Comments (0)

When the Emperor is murdered, Maia, his isolated, youngest son, abruptly becomes the Emperor Edrehasivar VII. Aided only by his secretary and bodyguards, the new half-goblin emperor fights to change the course of a thousand-year old empire. Fantasy combines with mystery, and politics with suspense, as Maia must identify the murderer of his father before the killer strikes again. Maia Drazhar, hero of The Goblin Emperor, is easily the most charming fictional hero since Lois Bujold's Miles Vorkosigan. Watching this likeable hero overcome all obstacles to establish himself is terrific fun.

  Goblin_emperor Sparrowhillroad
     The Goblin Emperor                                                        Sparrow Hill Road

"Go and talk to the girl in the green silk gown, Who died on Sparrow Hill Road." Teenage Rose Marshall was murdered on Sparrow Hill Road over sixty years ago. Now a ghost, she hitch-hikes along the roads of North America, helping travellers in danger. Not all the people who encounter Rose survive the experience, but most have reason to be grateful for her help. Eerie and charming, Rose's encounters in the afterlife are stories about justice, vengeance and love.

June Events at the Merril Collection

June 16, 2014 | Lorna | Comments (0)

  Hugh Howey; author of the groundbreaking novel "Wool"    
  Monday, June 16 at 7:00 p.m.
  239 College St. (Lillian H. Smith building)
  Lower level program room
 Hugh Howey is the author of "Wool", the first self-published e-book to sell over a million copies. The book  has also been published in hard copy and film rights have been sold to Twentieth Century Fox. Mr. Howey will be discussing his work; both writing and e-publishing. Copies of the book will be available at the event.
  This event is co-sponsored by the Friends of  the Merril Collection and Kobo.  
Coming Out & Speaking Up: Celebrate Gay World Pride at the Merril Collection of Science Fiction, Speculation and Fantasy
Tuesday, June 24 at 7:00 p.m.
239 College St. (Lillian H. Smith building)
Merril Collection Reading Room, 3rd floor
 The Friends of the Merril Collection are pleased to be hosting an exciting panel discussion of LGBT issues in speculative fiction. Chris Butcher of The Beguiling will moderate a panel discussion between scholars Derek Newman-Stille and Stephen Kenneally and authors Gemma Files and A. M. Dellamonica.
 Dellamonica GemmaFiles

Recommended Reading

March 29, 2011 | Lorna | Comments (0)

The books in the Merril Collection are mostly meant for adult readers of science fiction, fantasy and horror. However, YP fiction (fiction meant for slightly younger readers) is also collected, if it is of  unusual merit. Holly Black's White Cat certainly falls into this category.


Cassell Sharpe is a student in an expensive private school. He is the family failure, the sole member of a family of magically talented criminals who has no magic. He compensates by practicing his mundane illegal skills upon his classmates. When Cassell's family brings him into their dangerous world, he and his friends use their unorthodox skills to save the lives of his brothers. The threats to life and limb are more easily resolved than the issues of trust within his complex family. This is book one of The Curse Workers, and I look forward to reading the next in the series. In the meanwhile, I am going to read all of Black's previous novels.



New Books!

February 28, 2011 | Mary Cannings | Comments (0)

Bonanza week! Some of my favourite authors have had new books come out and are available to be read at the Merril Collection now!

Patricia Briggs is currently my favourite fantasy author, and not only was her first fantasy reissued in a revised form last fall, Masques with a brand new sequel, Wolfsbane, but River Marked, the new Mercy Thompson book is now out!! Yeah and double yeah!

And Tamora Pierce has a new collection of short stories out: Tortall and other lands, which should help hold me until the next Beka Cooper book comes out in the fall.

I have a hard waiting for new books to come in. Authors just cannot write new books as fast as their audience can read them, and when the new book is going to continue a beloved series the wait can seem interminable, but now I have a couple of new books to keep me going while I wait for my hold on the new J. D. Robb, Treachery in Death to arriveā€¦..



River Marked

Treachery in Death

Steampunk Fantasy

November 8, 2010 | Lorna | Comments (0)


SteampunIrondukeindex.aspxk fantasy mixes advanced technology with Victorian culture. creating a world which is recognizable, but turned sideways to reality. In Meljean Brook's new book, Iron Duke Detective Inspector Mina Wentworth's problems begin with a murder on the property of Rhys Trahaearn, the sinister Iron Duke. The stakes become higher as Mina and Rhys use their wits to resolve political and personal dangers arising from pirates, zombies, zeppelins and nanotechnology. Highly recommended.




Related Non-Fiction

Packing for Mars: the curious science of life in the void  was written by Mary Roach, author of Stiff: the curious lives of human cadaverSpook: science tackles the afterlife, and other clever books in which she investigates aspects of everyday life which most people manage to overlook. Mary Roach shares the fun of researching the personal aspects of space travel; chatting with astronauts, visiting the vomit comet (NASA's freefall facility),and details the odd experiments devised to work out if it is possible to get there from here, exactly how we would have to prepare for the trip.

Favourite Sites

Lines and Colors - Art Blog

Charley Parker doesn't limit his blog to art involving science fiction and fantasy; he covers a wide variety of artists, techniques and areas of associated interest. Readers interested in dinosaurs will also enjoy this site. Lines and colors  is updated frequently and provides links to other sites of interest.

New to us

November 3, 2010 | Lorna | Comments (0)

Hi. This is the first post to the Merril Collection blog. The contributors to the Merril Collection blog will be the five librarians who work at the Merril Collection. We'll post information about forthcoming events at the Merril Collection, recommend books, provide links to other sf-related sites, and write about anything else that seems likely to interest the sf community.

The Merril Collection and the Friends of the Merril Collection sponsor events throughout the year, where people of interest to the sf community, often writers, read from their forthcoming fiction, talk to their fans and pass on news about forthcoming projects. You can always check the Merril Collection Facebook page for additional information about events.

Next week, on November 10 at 7:00 in the Merril Collection reading room, the Merril Collection will host 4 readings sponsored by the Toronto Public Library and the Sturgeon Literary Trust, celebrating the publication of the 13th and final volume of the complete works of Theodore Sturgeon, Case and the Dreamer. Robert Charles Wilson, Nalo Hopkinson, Lesley Livingston, and Michaelle Sagara will read from some of Sturgeon's short fiction and Noel Sturgeon will talk about her father and his writing career.

The following week on November 18, at 7:00 p.m. in the Merril Collection reading room, sf writer Michael Swanwick will read from his fiction and talk about his writing career. 


Cryoburn was worth the long wait for another novel by Lois McMaster Bujold. Imperial Auditor Miles Vorkosigan begins an off-world investigation by getting lost in a necropolis, then hiding out with a street kid, while investigating the political and financial ramifications of a culture where people want to live forever. Great fun.


Arts Unknown: the life and art of Lee Brown Coye by Luis Ortiz. Coye is best known in the sf community for the work he did illustrating Arkham House's fiction, although he also painted a lot of Americana. Ortiz' biography reproduces many of Coye's most striking pieces.

Associated Interest

People who have read Sean Russell's fantasies, beginning with The Initiate Brother might be interested to learn that he also writes historical fiction as S.T. Russell. A Battle Won is the 2nd in a series about an English naval officer during the Napoleonic War, continuing the story started in Under Enemy Colors. Russell's writing shows a good understanding of this period, his characters are interesting and the adventures convincing.

Lorna Toolis, Collection Head

The Merril Collection holds over 70,000 items, all science fiction, fantasy, or horror, as well as non-fiction about science fiction and fantasy. The materials are available for reading room use only. For more information call the Merril Collection at 416-393-7748.