Cover Image: The Hitherto Secret Experiments of Marie Curie

The Hitherto Secret Experiments of Marie Curie

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Member Reviews

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for granting me free access to the advanced digital copy of this book, as this book has already been published, I will not share my review on Netgalley at this time.
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I knew little to nothing about Marie Curie, so this short story collection was a good gateway drug to start researching. I enjoyed them!
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Thank you for providing a copy for review. I was very excited to pick this up as my career is in science. Unfortunately this felt like reading a textbook. I found it hard to be intrigued and to pay attention. I did not have enough power to finish it, but I might come back to it in the future.
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This was a quick and delightful read! I'm sure a lot of science fans will fall in love with the writing and creativity of the authors. From the first story, Uncrowned Kings by Seanan McGuire, I was ALL IN. It's like learning a whole new language in addition to the one you already know, just so find out that it's even better. I'd pick this up over any book, any day. All in all, a very fun, light read.
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It was a well written and absolutely amazing short story collection about Marie Curie!
I was skeptical at first but I enjoyed this one!
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I was interested in this book so that I could teach my students a little about Marie Cutie. While there some stories that I liked, there were others that I did not. I hated that instead of science, it was mostly magic. I think should have been better as straight historical fiction and educational short stories  rather than a fantasy anthology.
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Probably closer to a 2.5 star. I thought that this was a fairly solid collection, and I love work that focuses on the history of female scientists. However, the almost RPF style and the general through line of making Marie Curie's life "magical" left a sort of bitter taste in my mouth, and I'm still not sure if all of it landed as well as it should have. I also felt like some of the stories got repetitive, and I would have like to see it cover a wider range of her life
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These short stories were throughly enjoyable and offered a lot of fun ways to convery scientific information in a way that I feel students will find very engaging. As a science educator, I can see myself references or reading from this collection in the classroom.
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There are some great short stories around Marie Curie in this anthology. I feel the need to search out other works by individual authors. If you like speculative historical fiction, definitely check this one out.
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First off, this is an anthology of fictional stories and poems that are only loosely related to each other through the historical facts of Marie Curie's (Marya Skłodoska's) life. This leads straight into my major gripe; the stories, although not connected, are also not in chronological order. Marya will be 13 in one story, then 15 in the next, and 14 again in the following. She'll have graduated school in one story, then attending it again in the subsequent one. Sometimes she'll be attending the Flying University and then in the next chapter be listening to her father discuss how to start the Flying University. I'm not sure why the editors chose such a haphazard organizational system but it made the anthology more disjointed than necessary to me. 

I was also expecting a wider range of time to be represented. These stories primarily cover Marya's childhood from about age 10 to age 15. I feel like her older teenage and early adult years could have also offered material for this project and given it a more diverse story set. As it was, a lot of the stories felt a bit repetitive since they followed the same basic story concept but simply changed up what "science" experiment was being done. 

Following up on the "science" experiments: I was disappointed in this aspect. I was expecting more science and instead ended up with Polish magic and folktales. Some of this is absolutely to be expected, however I thought it would be more about Marya disproving such things or relating them to actual science as opposed to some of what actually happened in the stories. I did enjoy the "science notes" that some of the authors put at the end of their contributions. 

I don't specifically recommend this as a whole, however some of the stories were worthwhile, like the one that took place in the Flying University where a student's skin turned blue. I also liked the message of the quasi-Frankenstein retelling story as well. On StoryGraph I gave this 2.5 stars but rounded up to 3 here.
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I want to preface this review by saying YES to more books about women in STEM, historical and modern-day. I was excited to see this book on NetGalley because I know that ten-year-old me would have begged for it at the fifth-grade Scholastic book fair in 2004. 

The stories in this book reimagine Marie Curie's life before she was the Marie Curie the world remembers today. Young Marie, or "Marya" as she was called by friends and family, gets up to a variety of hijinks as the youngest of five children and deals with the early loss of her mother and eldest sister to tuberculosis and typhus. I enjoyed the chance to see such a prominent historical figure as a child with more questions about the world than answers.

That being said, I don't know why many of these stories had to be about Marie Curie. In one, seemingly inspired by folklore, Marie befriends a monster under her bed. In others, she solves a murder, and in another, a missing persons case. I didn't understand the purpose of creating such wildly fictional stories about a real person. It felt like the authors wrote fun stories about young girls with interests in science and logic, and then copy-pasted in Marie's name. 

As a girl who grew up inhaling Nancy Drew books like candy, I know there is an appetite for middle-grade mysteries. (I still read a fair bit of middle-grade literature today considering I'm a 28-year-old woman.) But making these mysteries and fairy tales star Marie Curie felt a bit... off, somehow. With much regret, I DNF'ed at 44%, but acknowledge I may be overthinking the purpose more than the average middle-grade reader.

Thanks to NetGalley for the eARC in exchange for my honest review.
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Marie Curie is an under represented women of historical importance. These vignettes allow the reader to imagine and experience some of the world of this scientific researcher.  This would be an amazing gift for young scientists and young women who are interested in reading more about their heroes.
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Marie Curie is a fascinating historical figure, and this book is made up of fantastic science fiction stories about her in her youth.  Many of them center on the loss of her mother and sister close together, others on different experiments she might have performed if magic were actually real, and about her experiences as a girl in Russian run gymnasiums.

I really enjoyed this book.  The stories were all fascinating, my favorite being the one where young Marie (who is refered to by her Polish name Marya--she changed it later on in life) is confronted by a demon of sorts, a monster under her bed, who challenges her to not be afraid of him multiple times.  Marya, a curious child, wins the bet despite all of the demon's terrible forms.  Another excellent one finds a jealous rival of Marie's exchanging places with her, leaving Marie just a ghost who needs to figure out how to get her body back.  I really enjoyed this book, and all of the stories in it.
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The Hitherto Secret Experiments of Marie Curie was a pretty enjoyable anthology that featured a lot of really great authors.  If you love a good short story collection you will really enjoy this.
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A very interesting collection of stories by talented authors. The life of Marie Curie is the basis of all the stories included here. They are imaginative on the whole, though all were not my cup of tea.
I was expecting realistic stories of how Curie could have been as a teen or a young woman, but what I found were stories involving Curie fighting werewolves, solving murders, and challenging ghosts, all before the age of 14.

Excellent writing but just not for me.

Thanks to @netgalley for the opportunity to read this eArc in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion.
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The Hitherto Secret Experiments of Marie Curie posits a world in which the teenage Marie Curie, née Skłodowska, uses her scientific knowledge to protect family and friends from threats ranging from murderers to the supernatural. While a few of the stories stray from the concept (either by not including a science-based solution to the problem, or by having the title character do something downright villainous), most fit the bill.
Marya Skłodowska grew up in Warsaw, which was then under Russian dominion. Girls were only allowed to attend school to a certain age, and Poles were treated by the Russians as second-class citizens in their own city. When laboratory instruction in the sciences was removed from the curricula for Polish students, Marya and some of her peers attended a “flying university” that changed locations to avoid Russian detection. Most of the stories take place during the time Marya and her friends were students at a regular “gymnasia” (school) for Polish girls, but a few take place during the “flying university” years, and at least one during the year Marya spent living with relatives in the Polish countryside. Only one (“The Beast” by Stacia Deutsch) features an adult Marie Curie and is a neat twist on the typical time-travel story.

The volume opens with “Uncrowned Kings” by Seanan McGuire, who herself knows more than just a little bit about using hard science in science fiction and horror. After the death of her eldest sister by typhus, Marya stops believing in God and starts trusting in science. When something that seems like typhus rears its ugly head six years later but only affecting children and teens including another of her sisters, Marya follows the evidence to find the true source of this latest scourge: a mythical rat-king in the sewers. McGuire’s tale sets the tone of the book perfectly: showcasing Marya’s determination to not let others fall victim to preventable disease, her curiosity about the scientific underpinnings of the universe, her devotion to family and friends, all ensconced in a story that includes some fantastical element. “The Cold White Ones” by Susanne L. Lambdin also uses the return of typhus to Warsaw as a launching point but with a different supernatural problem at the core.

Marya’s grief and anger over the untimely deaths of her mother and eldest sister, Zofia, are palpable in many of the stories, not just McGuire’s. Sometimes the emotions spur the action, sometimes the action helps Marya process her grief – I’m thinking particularly here of Alethea Kontis’ beautiful “Marya’s Monster,” in which Marya returns from a St. Andrew’s Day birthday party to encounter a wolf-like monster under her bed. I don’t want to say too much more about how the story progresses, except that it is a stunning look at how we process grief and loss.

Other favorites in the anthology that feature a supernatural menace of some sort as Mylo Cabria’s “Three Ravens,” Scott Sigler’s “A Glow in the Dark,” and Jonathan Maberry’s “The Night Flyers,” which closes on the book on as solid a note as McGuire’s story opened it, focusing as it does on the other bane of Marya’s existence: the Russian overlords controlling Warsaw. The story is especially affecting as in 2023 we watch Russia’s continued war on Ukraine.

Not every story features a supernatural element. In “The Magic of Science,” co-editor Bryan Thomas Schmidt teams with author G.P. Charles to give us a wonderful “cozy mystery:” a girl in Marya’s dorm wakes up to discover her skin has turned blue. Later that day, a cook at the school dies. Supernatural explanations are put forward by her fellow students, but Marya is sure there is a rational scientific explanation. There is, and the path to it is well-developed, a very “fair play” kind of mystery. Steve Pantazis’ “The Prize” also seems to lack, or at least downplays, a supernatural element, pitting Marya and a rival classmate against the impending death of the classmate’s father by metal poisoning.

Many of the stories are followed with an explanation of the science that underpins the story, which I think enhances the book’s ability to interest young readers in the sciences and encourage them, especially young girls, to pursue STEM studies.

I received an electronic advance review copy of this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. The Hitherto Secret Experiments of Marie Curie was published on April 11, 2023.
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This seemed like a lot to read, but with it being an anthology, it was easier to break down the different stories and take it in in smaller chunks.
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An anthology that puts the science in science fiction, The Hitherto Secret Experiments of Marie Curie brings together 20 stories by standout names - Jane Yolen, Scott Sigler, and Jonathan Maberry, to name a few - who spin dark stories about Nobel Prize winning physicist Marie Curie. Driven largely by the childhood losses of her mother and sister, the stories and poetry in Hitherto dream of scenarios that formed Curie. Set in her young adolescence, there are dark tales, supernatural tales, and straight-up unnerving tales, with several mainstays: Curie's break with religion, the Russian occupation of her beloved Poland, and her dedication to science and learning. Stories are rooted in science, and many include Science Notes to clarify the divergence of fact and fiction. Run from the whimsical, like Alethea Kontis's "Marya's Monster", where Curie confronts the literal monster under her bed with level-headedness, to the bittersweet, as with Seanan McGuire's "Uncrowned Kings", where Curie battles the disease-carrying beast that's infected her town. Stories like Henry Herz's "Cheating Death" take a turn into horror, where Curie's obsession with halting Death leads her to disturbing experimentation, and Christine Taylor-Butler's "Retribution" is a science murder mystery (minus the mystery). 

Every single story here is an excellent read, with something for dark fantasy, horror, and thriller fans alike. Science fans will rejoice at having Marie Curie front and center in her own adventures (I know I did), and resources for further reading keeps the momentum going, with books about Curie, women in STEM, and websites to explore. An excellent choice for YA collections.
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I received an advanced reader’s copy from net galley in exchange for my honest review
Marie Curie is such a fascinating woman.  I think that what you learn in school doesn’t do her justice. I was excited to read a collection of short stories about her and I was not disappointed! It was made even better because my search initially was for books by Jane Yolen (of whom I’m a big fan)- but that brought me to the collection of stories about someone else I enjoy reading about. 
I think my favorite of the the stories (not poems ) was the Beast (by stacia Deutsch) which was a little bit time travel and little bit Frankenstein , and it was really good
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Thanks to Netgalley and Blackstone Publishing for the ARC of this! 

This was such an interesting fantastical allohistory about Marie Curie. While she is very famous, I didn’t actually know much about her. These short stories and poems, while full of monsters and scenarios that the real scientist never faced, made me more interested to learn about what she did do in her real life. They were lightly creepy without being scary, and I had a fun time reading them.
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