In the Mean Time

A history teacher begins his unorthodox senior course with clips from an ominous surveillance video, causing a student's home life to deteriorate along with the lessons.

A girl with a second head that changes into different historical and fictional identities tries to find her father while figuring out how to handle Mom and the book club.

A blog documents society's slow, unexplained, but inexorable end, or is it only a collection of pixel-sized paranoia?

A once-awkward teen holes up in a kiddie-themed amusement park after the end of the world, and schemes to take Cinderella's Castle by force.

This collection by Paul G. Tremblay (author of The Little Sleep and No Sleep Till Wonderland) features fifteen stories of fear and paranoia, stories of apocalypses both societal and personal, and stories of longing and coping.

Reviews of In the Mean Time:

[Tremblay] tells the kinds of stories that reveal the truths nesting inside the things that scare us the most. If ever I find myself wandering through an apocalyptic darkness, I would trust Paul Tremblay to hold my flashlight.
Paul Tremblay's stories sneak up on you quietly and then . . . wow! You don't know what hit you, but you like it. And you want more. Powerful, emotional and unforgettable; these are stories that work their way into your brain and into your heart. Highly recommended.
—Ann Vandermeer, Hugo Award-winning editor of Weird Tales
These finely crafted, often oblique stories exhibit formidable analytical intelligence. . .
—Paul Witcover, Locus Magazine
These deliciously imaginative stories are grounded in reality but have fantastic sci-fi twists that amplify the anxiety and loneliness felt by humankind.
In the Mean Time is at once eerie, disturbing, challenging, and wonderful. Tremblay challenges readers’ sense of security and may not leave any parting consolation—except perhaps to say that we’re all in this together.
If you're a fan of the likes of Dennis Etchison, Donald Barthelme, Thomas Ligotti, or Kelly Link, you'll love Paul's work. In any case, scarf up his books, you can't go wrong.
—Tom Piccirilli, author of Every Shallow Cut
Considering the quality of Tremblay's short fiction, a collection like In The Mean Time is long overdue. There are a handful of authors which I consider are the writer's writer: Jeffrey Ford, Jeff VanderMeer, Kij Johnson, Mary Robinette Kowal. Paul Tremblay easily belongs to that list, and this book proves it.
[A] selection of diverse tales ranging from the horrific to the heartfelt. . . Through his characterization, subtle dialogue, and intriguing premises, Tremblay succeeds in showing us the truth no matter how ugly or futile the circumstances might seem. . . Tremblay knows how real people think and speak, and that the most important things sometimes lurk hidden in their messages.
When you enter the world of Paul Tremblay most anything can happen, and usually does.
In The Mean Time is an eerie little collection that will unnerve you with its quiet moments even as it threatens you with society's end.
Tremblay has a skilled way of writing stories that linger in the readers mind. He is able to take characters in out-of-the-ordinary situations and tell their tale in an unusual and relatable way. The stories leave the reader to speculate and wonder about the scenarios, characters, and eventual—but unwritten—outcomes.
Paul Tremblay's In The Mean Time is a dark, heart-twisting collection of short fiction which defies categorization and requires your complete attention. The children, parents, and teachers who inhabit these stories exist in the ways we all exist-through those old historical longings which are rarely answered. Tremblay offers no solutions, but in the end, somehow, we walk away with a greater understanding of ourselves. Or, at the very least, the kind of selves we are but rarely see.
—Jessica Anthony, author of The Convalesent
In The Mean Time is a miscellany of voices-witty, wise, weird, assured. These stories push at boundaries, not just within genre; they play alongside the uneasy undercurrents of lives we'd usually call ordinary. Stories to read and read again.
—Helen Oyeyemi, author of The Opposite House and White is for Witching
In The Mean Time is a formidable collection, as disquieting as it is beautiful. They shock and they gleam, these stories, and the moods they provoke linger powerfully in the imagination: the dread of those who see the trouble coming and the strange relief of those upon whom it has already fallen.
—Kevin Brockmeier, author of The Brief History of the Dead
Rumor has it that the world will end in fire and ice, but then again, if Paul Tremblay is to be believed, it may conclude in preternaturally active plants, amusement parks, sudden brain aneurisms, and silence. In Mean Time, end of the world scenarios brush up against the traumas of more personal apocalypses. The resulting stories are as stressful and quietly traumatic as they are fluidly and lucidly written.
—Brian Evenson, author of Last Days and Fugue State
The power of these stories is that you think you're reading them, that there's that distance, but really you're living them, experiencing them, and that's how you remember them later. Not as something you read, but an event you lived.
—Stephen Graham Jones, author of Demon Theory and The Ones That Almost Got Away
Paul Tremblay is a storyteller of the highest order-edgy, sensitive, and fearless.
—Stewart O'Nan, author of Last Night at the Lobster and Songs for the Missing
Paul Tremblay creates images of terror and wonder. Lean, mean, and just a bit on the nasty side, he's a hardnosed prose stylist with a heavyweight punch. Tremblay is a bona fide contender.
—Laird Barron, author of The Imago Sequence
Tremblay more than proves that horror doesn’t have to be disgusting or gruesome—at least initially, and instead employs a more character-driven and subtle approach. If you’re willing to read between the lines, Tremblay’s fiction is one of the most horrific you’ll ever read.
There's always room for subtlety and elegance, even in genres like horror, and Paul Tremblay understands this. What makes his fiction remarkable is that it creeps up on you, instead of being transparent and overt.

eShorts

These single stories from this collection are available for individual purchase:

We Will Never Live in the Castle by Paul Tremblay

In this story, described as a tour de force by Locus Magazine, a once-awkward teen holes up in a kiddie-themed amusement park after the end of the world, and schemes to take Cinderella's Castle by force. From Paul Tremblay’s In the Mean Time, this tale is one of fifteen “finely crafted” (Locus Magazine) stories of fear and paranoia, stories of apocalypses both societal and personal, and stories of longing and coping.

ChiZine Publications (CZP) curates the best of the bizarre, bringing you the most excitingly weird, subtle, dark, and disturbing literary fiction. Look for more titles in

$0.99

It’s Against the Law to Feed the Ducks by Paul Tremblay

An unnamed cataclysm occurs while a young family is vacationing on a New Hampshire lake, and five-year-old Danny's world and family changes irrevocably before his eyes. From Paul Tremblay’s In the Mean Time, this tale is one of fifteen “finely crafted” (Locus Magazine) stories of fear and paranoia, stories of apocalypses both societal and personal, and stories of longing and coping.

ChiZine Publications (CZP) curates the best of the bizarre, bringing you the most excitingly weird, subtle, dark, and disturbing literary fiction. Look for more titles in the ChiZine short stories collecti

$0.99

Headstones in Your Pocket by Paul Tremblay

A border patrol guard in Arizona is haunted by the demons of his past after accidentally keeping a child's tooth he'd confiscated from man who attempted to enter America illegally. From Paul Tremblay’s In the Mean Time, this tale is one of fifteen “finely crafted” (Locus Magazine) stories of fear and paranoia, stories of apocalypses both societal and personal, and stories of longing and coping.

ChiZine Publications (CZP) curates the best of the bizarre, bringing you the most excitingly weird, subtle, dark, and disturbing literary fiction. Look for more titles in the ChiZine short stor

$0.99

There’s No Light Between Floors by Paul Tremblay

In this Bram Stoker Award-nominated story, a man wakes trapped underneath a pile of rubble from a building that he thinks leads to a new world populated with Elder Gods. From Paul Tremblay’s In the Mean Time, this tale is one of fifteen “finely crafted” (Locus Magazine) stories of fear and paranoia, stories of apocalypses both societal and personal, and stories of longing and coping.

ChiZine Publications (CZP) curates the best of the bizarre, bringing you the most excitingly weird, subtle, dark, and disturbing literary fiction. Look for more titles in the ChiZine short stories collect

$0.99

The People Who Live Near Me by Paul Tremblay

Meet your neighbor Nick-Nick and the rest of the strange, but all-too-recognizable suburban neighborhood, which includes a worrisome man who picks apart the asphalt, one chunk at a time. From Paul Tremblay’s In the Mean Time, this tale is one of fifteen “finely crafted” (Locus Magazine) stories of fear and paranoia, stories of apocalypses both societal and personal, and stories of longing and coping.

ChiZine Publications (CZP) curates the best of the bizarre, bringing you the most excitingly weird, subtle, dark, and disturbing literary fiction. Look for more titles in the ChiZine shor

$0.99

The Blog at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay

In this ChiZine Short Story Contest-winning tale, a blog documents society's slow, unexplained but inexorable end, or is it only a collection of pixel-sized paranoia? From Paul Tremblay’s In the Mean Time, this tale is one of fifteen “finely crafted” (Locus Magazine) stories of fear and paranoia, stories of apocalypses both societal and personal, and stories of longing and coping.

ChiZine Publications (CZP) curates the best of the bizarre, bringing you the most excitingly weird, subtle, dark, and disturbing literary fiction. Look for more titles in the ChiZine short stories collection

$0.99

The Marlboro Man Meets the End by Paul Tremblay

With a city in the midst of a fiery apocalypse, a young boy choose to help his brother burn down a billboard. From Paul Tremblay’s In the Mean Time, this tale is one of fifteen “finely crafted” (Locus Magazine) stories of fear and paranoia, stories of apocalypses both societal and personal, and stories of longing and coping.

ChiZine Publications (CZP) curates the best of the bizarre, bringing you the most excitingly weird, subtle, dark, and disturbing literary fiction. Look for more titles in the ChiZine short stories collection to build your digital library.

$0.99

Rhymes with Jew by Paul Tremblay

In an America that has split into two separate countries (the Blue States and the Red States) an old Jewish woman attempts to help two young men find their way to a better world that may or may not exist. From Paul Tremblay’s In the Mean Time, this tale is one of fifteen “finely crafted” (Locus Magazine) stories of fear and paranoia, stories of apocalypses both societal and personal, and stories of longing and coping.

ChiZine Publications (CZP) curates the best of the bizarre, bringing you the most excitingly weird, subtle, dark, and disturbing literary fiction. Look for more titles i

$0.99

Harold the Spider Man by Paul Tremblay

A widower gives spiders--including two secret eating spiders from Japan--the run of his home so that he'll feel protected from the dangers of the outside world. From Paul Tremblay’s In the Mean Time, this tale is one of fifteen “finely crafted” (Locus Magazine) stories of fear and paranoia, stories of apocalypses both societal and personal, and stories of longing and coping.

ChiZine Publications (CZP) curates the best of the bizarre, bringing you the most excitingly weird, subtle, dark, and disturbing literary fiction. Look for more titles in the ChiZine short stories collection to bu

$0.99

Growing Things by Paul Tremblay

With the world choking underneath preternaturally growing plants, two daughters await their father's return to their mountain hideout, but uncover a family secret instead. From Paul Tremblay’s In the Mean Time, this tale is one of fifteen “finely crafted” (Locus Magazine) stories of fear and paranoia, stories of apocalypses both societal and personal, and stories of longing and coping.

ChiZine Publications (CZP) curates the best of the bizarre, bringing you the most excitingly weird, subtle, dark, and disturbing literary fiction. Look for more titles in the ChiZine short stories colle

$0.99

Figure 5 by Paul Tremblay

From the safety of his tower, a surgeon documents the transformative stages of a plague decimating his city until he recognizes one of the victims on the street below. From Paul Tremblay’s In the Mean Time, this tale is one of fifteen “finely crafted” (Locus Magazine) stories of fear and paranoia, stories of apocalypses both societal and personal, and stories of longing and coping.

ChiZine Publications (CZP) curates the best of the bizarre, bringing you the most excitingly weird, subtle, dark, and disturbing literary fiction. Look for more titles in the ChiZine short stories collectio

$0.99

Feeding the Machine by Paul Tremblay

A pregnant woman descends into the clutches of the eating disorder pica while her relationship with her partner deteriorates. From Paul Tremblay’s In the Mean Time, this tale is one of fifteen “finely crafted” (Locus Magazine) stories of fear and paranoia, stories of apocalypses both societal and personal, and stories of longing and coping.

ChiZine Publications (CZP) curates the best of the bizarre, bringing you the most excitingly weird, subtle, dark, and disturbing literary fiction. Look for more titles in the ChiZine short stories collection to build your digital library.

$0.99

The Strange Case of Nicholas Thomas: An Excerpt from A History of the Longesian Library by Paul Tremblay

A librarian details the mysterious connection between his missing mother and a plague of balloons that returns to a historical city every nineteen years. From Paul Tremblay’s In the Mean Time, this tale is one of fifteen “finely crafted” (Locus Magazine) stories of fear and paranoia, stories of apocalypses both societal and personal, and stories of longing and coping.

ChiZine Publications (CZP) curates the best of the bizarre, bringing you the most excitingly weird, subtle, dark, and disturbing literary fiction. Look for more titles in the ChiZine short stories collection to build you

$0.99

The Two-Headed Girl by Paul Tremblay

A girl with a second head that changes into different historical and fictional identities tries to find her father while figuring out how to handle Mom and the book club. From Paul Tremblay’s In the Mean Time, this tale is one of fifteen “finely crafted” (Locus Magazine) stories of fear and paranoia, stories of apocalypses both societal and personal, and stories of longing and coping.

ChiZine Publications (CZP) curates the best of the bizarre, bringing you the most excitingly weird, subtle, dark, and disturbing literary fiction. Look for more titles in the ChiZine short stories collec

$0.99

The Teacher by Paul Tremblay

In this Bram Stoker Award-nominated short story, a history teacher beings his unorthodox senior course with clips from an ominous surveillance video, causing a student's home life to deteriorate along with the lessons. From Paul Tremblay’s In the Mean Time, this tale is one of fifteen “finely crafted” (Locus Magazine) stories of fear and paranoia, stories of apocalypses both societal and personal, and stories of longing and coping.

ChiZine Publications (CZP) curates the best of the bizarre, bringing you the most excitingly weird, subtle, dark, and disturbing literary fiction. Look for

$0.99

Other Reviews

goodreads 4.38/5 stars more...

Author Info

Paul Tremblay portrait

Paul Tremblay is the author of The Little Sleep, No Sleep Till Wonderland, In the Mean Time, Swallowing a Donkey’s Eye, and the forthcoming A Head Full of Ghosts. His short fiction and essays have appeared in The Los Angeles Times and numerous Year’s Best anthologies. He lives just outside of Boston, and when he’s not writing about narcoleptic private detectives, girls with two heads, or teens who float, he helps administrate the Shirley Jackson Awards.

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