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“They’re here.”

MTWafflesSo that TV show whose name I could not remember on today’s podcast is Stranger Things, which Richard and I Netflixed assiduously in a handful of evenings. People are loving the throwback allusions, but my experience of 80s adolescence is entirely secondhand and spotty: I was a youth services librarian for most of the decade but I didn’t go to the movies much or watch a lot of TV. I did play Dungeons and Dragons once, for research.

M.T. Anderson (left) is a fan; fellow viewers of the show will recognize his shout-out to Eleven, one of its heroes. And also, fellow viewers, if we can discuss without spoiling it for everybody, where is she?

Although she thus far demurs on the grounds of “too scary,” I’m trying to get Siân to watch it so we can discuss on an upcoming episode of the podcast; mainly, I’m curious to know if twelve-year-olds today are enjoying it as much as I suspect the twelve-year-old me would have. Or, as Tobin wonders, does its appeal rely on nostalgia? Not for me–I picked up a couple of Spielberg references but everything else flew by me–but I do wonder if the five innocent adorable kids at the heart of the story can survive the disdain of a more sophisticated generation. I hope so.

Roger Sutton About Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.



  1. Let me know, Siân, if you watch it and if it is indeed too scary. Just a few minutes ago a friend was trying to convince me to watch saying it was more sci-fi than horror.

  2. Siân Gaetano Siân Gaetano says:

    Jules Danielson says her 10 and 12 yr olds watched it no problem, Monica. So…maybe I can do it? I’ll keep you updated. I DO like sci-fi! But man…that second episode of Firefly (with the reavers) scares the crap out of me every time.

  3. Ha, I don’t recall finding Firefly too scary! Roger said it is like Fringe which I loved so I may give it a shot. Don’t know about you, but I’m really good with that 10 sec fast forward through scary bits.

  4. Eric Carpenter says:

    Love this show and happy to hear that there seems to be a preteen audience for the show.
    I am at a bit of a loss when I try to think of some read alikes for middle-grade readers. On twitter, Matthew Winner suggested Tracy Baptiste’s JUMBIES.. Any other suggestions?

  5. Finished it yesterday and ended up loving it. I didn’t find it overly scary and didn’t mind the goopy parts at all. Scary for me is someone chasing someone else with an axe and then using it vividly. Also, sound has a lot to do with it so I just turn it off during tense moments:) This, for me, was indeed more in the tradition of Lost and Fringe, the sort of thing I adore.

  6. Eric — perhaps a little too old, but Margo Lanagan’s short story collections?

  7. Eric Carpenter says:

    I’d add Aaron Starmer’s The Riverman (and its two sequels) with their 1980s setting and missing children might be the perfect match for young fans of the show.
    Any reason to put The Riverman into the hands of the right reader is reason to celebrate.

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