There is a new young adult horror anthology coming soon entitled, THE HITHERTO SECRET EXPERIMENTS OF MARIE CURIE. The collection from Blackstone Publishing reimagines Curie’s younger years to ask the question “what if Marie had instead drifted toward the darkness? What if she had used her talents for diabolical purposes?” Among the authors involved are Christine Taylor Butler, Mylo Carbia, G.P. Charles, Stacia Deutsch, Sarah Beth Durst, Henry Herz, Alethea Kontis, Susanne Lambdin, Dee Leone, Jonathan Maberry, Emily McCosh, Seanan McGuire, Steve Pantazis, Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Scott Sigler, Jo Whittemore, and Jane Yolen.


We had the opportunity to ask the authors of this book about their contributions and about who Curie was to them.

Jane Yolen

-What is your installment of the anthology about?

Four poems from different periods of Marie Curie’s life

-Who is Marie Curie to you?

An interesting woman of history who pushed through into what had been mostly a man’s world.

-What message are you trying to convey to readers about Marie Curie?

That she was both brilliant and odd, that she was more complicated than usually portrayed.

Bio: Jane Yolen, called “The Hans Christian Andersen of America,” will have her 389th book out this fall from Tachyon, a collection of her dark/horror stories and poems, called Midnight Circus. Her work has won two Nebula Awards, two Christopher Medals, three World Fantasy Awards, three Mythopoeic Fantasy Awards, two Golden Kite Awards, the Jewish Book Award, and the Massachusetts Center for the Book award. She has also won the World Fantasy Association Lifetime Achievement Award, the Science Fiction Writers of America Grand Master Award, the Science Fiction Poetry Association Grand Master Award, the Association of Jewish Libraries Award, the Catholic Libraries Medal, the DuGrummond Medal, the Kerlan Award, and the Ann Izard Storytellers’ Choice Award. Six colleges and universities have given her honorary doctorates for her body of work.

Seanan McGuire

-What is your installment of the anthology about?

I wrote about the typhus outbreak that took Marie’s older sister’s life, and the folkloric phenomenon of the Rat King, which was appropriate to the region and engaging enough to be fun.

-Who is Marie Curie to you?

Marie Curie is a figure that I, as a science-minded girl, encountered early and have been fascinated by throughout my life.  Learning how much more she was than a martyr to science was a real revelation for me.

-What message are you trying to convey to readers about Marie Curie?

Marie Curie was a person.  She was real and complicated and loved her family, and science couldn’t solve everything.

Bio: Seanan McGuire was born and raised in Northern California, where she has made a lifelong study of horror movies, horrible viruses, and the inevitable threat of the living dead. In college, she was voted Most Likely to Summon Something Horrible in the Cornfield.

Seanan is the New York Times bestselling author of the October Daye urban fantasies, the InCryptid urban fantasies, and several other works both stand-alone and in trilogies or duologies. She also writes under the pseudonym “Mira Grant.” She has won three Hugo Awards, a Campbell Award, and a Nebula Award. She earned 11 other Hugo nominations.

Bryan Thomas Schmidt

-What is your installment of the anthology about?

GP Charles and I collaborated on a story, The Magic of Science, about how Marie and her classmates use science to solve a murder. It starts though with a contest about science vs. magic, and in those days, magic was something people took seriously. It was to explore all that in this context.

-Who is Marie Curie to you?

Marie Curie is one of the greatest scientists who ever lived.

-What message are you trying to convey to readers about Marie Curie?

That anything is possible. And that science is magic. For young women, Marie shines as an example of someone who didn’t let societal expectations, norms, or pressures stand in her way. She had a gift and intellect and she chose to use them in pursuit of a higher calling no matter what, and as a result, she changed the world. Not only with her discoveries, but as a woman of prestige and esteem in a male-dominated world and field. Every scientist who follows owes her a debt—male or female—but especially I would hope young women see her as an example of what’s possible for them. STEM is a great field to pursue, and it’s for everyone.

Bio: Bryan Thomas Schmidt is the co-editor of The Hitherto Secret Experiments of Marie Curie, and the #1 bestselling editor and author of 21 anthologies and 11 novels. He lives outside Kansas City with three precocious cats and two old dogs.

Susanne Lambdin

-What is your installment of the anthology about?

‘The Cold White Ones’ is about Marie Curie, aged 13, and her classmates from Warsaw’s Gymnasium Number Three, who attend a school picnic at a lake outside Warsaw. Over the next few days, girls known to have swum in the water succumb to a high fever and lung congestion and die in their sleep. As the unknown disease spreads through the countryside, Russian Imperial troops arrive with orders to arrest Polish scientists suspected in a plot against the Czar, including Marie’s father. In the school’s lab, Marie discovers an unusual substance in a water sample, which produces “strange cellular activity” under the microscope, and believes it to be the cause of the illness. When the Russian captain is ill, a city curfew is enforced, and the girls are forced to spend the night in the gymnasium. Marie awakens to find tiny, emaciated creatures crawling on the faces of sleeping girls. Seeking shelter in the lab, Marie, with the help of a girlfriend from the country, turns to Slavic folklore for answers. The girls identify the Biali Zimni Ludzie, “the cold white ones,” as the creatures which gorge on the life force of humans and spread disease. Using their knowledge of science and folklore, Marie and her friend rely on the ingredients of an ancient recipe to defeat the creatures and cure the inflicted. 

-Who is Marie Curie to you?

Marie Curie was once quoted as saying, “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is to be understood.” For me, this is a mantra we should take to heart. It certainly is how Marie lived her life and her career in science. She fought to be educated in an era when women were considered inferior to men. Being highly intelligent, driven, and focused on a career meant more to her than being popular or famous. She had strong opinions and a strong work ethic, and once committed to a project, she saw it through to completion. When uranium was discovered in 1898, Marie spent the rest of her life studying its properties, placing herself in mortal danger by handling a radioactive substance that eventually killed her.  Marie inspires us all that you can be anything you want to be in life, but it comes with great personal sacrifice and commitment to succeed.

-What message are you trying to convey to readers about Marie Curie?

Marie Curie was extremely patriotic and a fierce defender of her Polish heritage, which included her interest in Slavic folklore and a great love for the great composer Frederick Chopin. Imperial Russia oppressed her country and people. Polish scientists, like her father, were considered inferior. There is a scene where Marie and her friends spit on a statue of the recently assassinated Czar. While others at her school live in fear of the Russian soldiers that came to Warsaw, Marie risks her own life to save her friends, father, and town. I wanted to show Marie as a methodical individual, dedicated to research and science to solve problems and open-mindedness when it comes to solving problems. I introduced Slavic folklore and a character whose grandmother told her all the legends of her tribe. This character recognizes what has infested Warsaw and provides Marie with the ingredients of a traditional remedy that has more to do with superstition beliefs than science. Yet, together, these characters can utilize science and folklore to save Warsaw.

Bio: Susanne L. Lambdin hit the NYT best-seller list in 2012 with her first published novel “Morbid Hearts,” one of eleven books in the Dead Hearts Novels (zompoc) series. In the last ten years, she has published twenty-four novels, including, The Realm of Magic series (dark fantasy), The Lady of Shadows (Gothic horror), Acropolis 3000 (sci-fi), and ‘Blood and Honor,’ in Alien VS Predator- The Ultimate Prey. 

After receiving a BA in Professional Writing from the University of Oklahoma in the mid-80s, Susanne moved to Los Angeles to begin a writing career in the film industry. While at Paramount Pictures, she received writing credit for her contribution to Star Trek: The Next Generation, Season 4, Episode 76, entitled ‘Family.’ Her love for writing fiction brought Susanne back to her home state of Kansas, where she lives with her family and dogs. While she spends most of the year attending comic conventions throughout the U.S., Susanne makes it a point to help younger generations of writers and often gives lectures on writing at bookstores, libraries, and schools.

Lissa Price

-What is your installment of the anthology about?

In my story Marie learns what it’s like to become invisible while someone else takes over her life. She fights to get it back, but it doesn’t turn out the way she hoped. Science—or is it magic?—is full of surprises.

-Who is Marie Curie to you?

Marie Curie was the woman who could do it all. She devoted her life to science, literally, dying from radiation exposure. She was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize, the only one to win two of them, and was a war hero. She also had an affair with a younger man after her husband was gone. Marie Curie was the definition of a bad-ass woman.

-What message are you trying to convey to readers about Marie Curie?

If there’s a message after the fact, it’s watch out for that person who befriends you and says they want to be just like you. They might really mean it.

Bio: Lissa Price’s debut novel STARTERS is an international bestseller published in twenty- nine countries with praise from Harlan Ellison, the LA Times and Dean Koontz who called her YA futuristic thriller “a smart, swift, inventive, altogether gripping story.” Kirkus called the sequel, ENDERS, “delightfully disturbing.” The STARTERS series has taken Lissa all over the world on book tours and festivals in the US, Europe, the Middle and Far East. She’s an alumna of the Faber Academy in London.

Steve Pantazis

-What is your installment of the anthology about?

In “The Prize,” we get to see a young Marie Curie through the eyes of Adela Kowalski, her archrival at school. Both desire the coveted Arcanum prize, the top award in the metallurgic arts, sparking a fierce competition that pushes them to their limits. The story delves deep into their love of science, but also explores the frailty of the human spirit and hardship of living in a Russia-oppressed Poland at the end of the nineteenth century.

-Who is Marie Curie to you?

To me, Marie Curie is more than a trailblazing scientist of her era. She’s more than an innovator and a pioneer. She’s an icon of hard work, relentless passion, and fearless creativity—qualities that inspire me as a writer.

-What message are you trying to convey to readers about Marie Curie?

That Marie Curie was someone who wanted to make the world a better place. Not by a tiny margin—but in a big way. I figured the best way to see this is not through Marie’s eyes, but through her rival’s—someone just as passionate, creative, and relentless, and who would misjudge and misunderstand Marie, only to learn Marie’s true potential and the extent of her sincerity and compassion as a human being.

Bio: Steve Pantazis is an award-winning author of fantasy and science fiction. He won the prestigious Writers of the Future award and has published short stories in leading anthologies and magazines, including Nature, Galaxy’s Edge, and IGMS. He is the author of The Light of Darkness epic fantasy series and the sci-fi thrillers, Godnet and Blackout. When not writing (a rare occasion!), Steve creates extraordinary cuisine, exercises with vigor, and shares marvelous adventures with the love of his life. Originally from the Big Apple, he now calls Southern California home.

Dee Leone

-What is your installment of the anthology about?

My entry was inspired by the fact that Marie and her husband Pierre attended séances and studied them scientifically, considering the possibility that some of the phenomena they observed could be due to physical states not yet understood.  

In “Silence Them,” Marya (Marie) participates in a séance as a teen, but when it’s time for the leader to put a co-conspirator into a trance, Marya’s eyes grow heavy and she experiences several horrors. Upon awakening, she’s shown a spirit slate with her handwriting on it. The message? Uciszyć ich, which is Polish for “silence them.”

The words keep appearing under mysterious circumstances and Marya questions her sanity. Is she suffering strange aftereffects from the séance, is she the victim of an elaborate hoax, or are actual spirits pressing her to do their bidding?

Convinced the unsettling words will consume her until she acts on them, Marya has an insight in regard to the perfect target and carries out a secret vengeful experiment. But experiments are called that for a reason, and even she couldn’t predict the outcome.

-Who is Marie Curie to you?

Marie Curie is a two-time Nobel prize winner whose ability to overcome social obstacles of her time and to pursue scientific research with limited resources is a role model for me when facing challenges. Her passion for knowledge is both inspiring and motivating. Her mobile X-ray units known as “petites Curies” saved countless lives and limbs during World War I. Her achievements in regard to radiography and cancer therapy continue today, touching the world of so many I know. 

-What message are you trying to convey to readers about Marie Curie?

I wanted to portray Marie as an intelligent, determined, and courageous individual who defied the Russian occupiers that tried to suppress her language and culture. As a child, she studied forbidden Polish subjects, but in an effort to protect her teacher and classmates, she bravely recited answers about Russia when an inspector paid a surprise visit. As an older student, she and her friend often spat on a statue which commemorated a battle won by the suppressors. Snippets alluding to such incidents are included in my story. 

Though females in Warsaw in the 1880s weren’t allowed to study higher level subjects, Marie risked punishment by the Russian authorities to further her education by attending the secret Flying University. A reference to the beginning of the clandestine school is given in my selection, and an indomitable Marie uses stockpiled equipment to conduct her experiment.

Marie suffered from depression due to the death of her mother and sister, yet she was able to graduate at the top of her class. She plunged into even deeper despair after graduating. Her father and doctors thought a year spent in the country would help. In “Silence Them,” I created an imaginary reason for her despair. Though she faced many challenges, Marie was able to overcome great odds and went on to become one of the greatest scientists of all time. 

Bio: Dee Leone is the author of Dough Knights and Dragons and other children’s books as well as 20 reproducible books for the educational market. In addition, she’s written more than 200 stories, poems, plays, word puzzles, and articles. Like Marie Curie, she enjoyed studying math, physics, and chemistry. Dee’s formula for creating dark fiction is a synthesis of various elements, with dark chocolate as her catalyst.

Mylo Carbia

-What is your installment of the anthology about?

My story THREE RAVENS imagines a fourteen-year-old Marie Curie having a paranormal experience in the woods while visiting her grandparents in the Polish countryside. It comes at a time when she is struggling to decide what she wants to study at university, and ultimately, what she wishes to do with the rest of her life. This paranormal encounter has such a profound impact on her that it sets in motion a series of events which leads to her ultimate destiny.

-Who is Marie Curie to you?

I was fascinated with astrology as a child, particularly how I had the sign of Scorpio in my Sun, Moon and Rising signs. Marie Curie was born on November 7 and epitomized the ultimate Scorpio female in my book. I was so impressed with what she had accomplished given the era she had lived in, and the obstacles she had faced, that it was easy to consider her a role model as young girl.

-What message are you trying to convey to readers about Marie Curie?

Many teenagers today are faced with the academic and societal pressures to decide what they want to do for a living as early as possible so they can choose the right classes, the right extracurricular activities, the right colleges—and it can all be so overwhelming, especially for young people who enjoy many different subjects and can see themselves in a variety of professions. What I wanted to convey about Marie Curie was that as driven and as accomplished as she would eventually become as an adult, she started as a normal girl not knowing where life would take her, just like the rest of us. I want readers to be reminded that it is perfectly fine to not know what you want to be right now, and to enjoy the process of exploring life’s mysteries in order to arrive at where your passions lie and what career is best for you.

Bio: Mylo Carbia is a screenwriter turned bestselling author, widely known for her work in the horror-thriller genre and trademark of surprise twist endings. Born on November 16, 1971 to Native American/Puerto Rican parents in Jackson, New Jersey, Carbia famously spent her childhood years writing to escape the terrors of growing up in a severely haunted house. Her paranormal experiences followed her to college and throughout early adulthood, eventually leading to a career as a professional horror writer. Carbia is listed among “The Greatest Horror Writers of All Time” by, “The Top 10 Horror Writers Alive Today” by Booklaunch, and “The Most Influential Authors” by Today, she lives a peaceful life with her husband and son while continuing to write for the page and screen in Palm Beach, Florida. 

Sarah Beth Durst

-What is your installment of the anthology about?
In my story, “Experiments with Fire,” Marie Curie and the ghost of her sister Zofia confront a dragon. Given what we know of Marie (or Marya, as she was called), I like to think she absolutely would have taken on a dragon and out-scienced him.

-Who is Marie Curie to you?
She’s a hero.  She had a passion and a purpose, and she pursued her dream, not allowing society limit her, not allowing the world stop her from reaching for what she wanted to achieve. I admire her drive, her determination, and her brilliance.

-What message are you trying to convey to readers about Marie Curie?
I wanted to capture the bravery and determination of the kind of girl who would grow up to be the first woman to win a Nobel Price and the first person to win a Nobel Price twice. In other words, I wanted to convey that she was awesome!

Bio: Sarah Beth Durst is the award-winning author of over twenty books for kids, teens, and adults, including Spark, Drink Slay Love, and The Queens of Renthia series. She won an American Library Association Alex Award and a Mythopoeic Fantasy Award and has been a finalist for SFWA’s Andre Norton Nebula Award three times. She is a graduate of Princeton University and lives in Stony Brook, New York, with her husband, her children, and her ill-mannered cat. Visit her at


Norman Gidney

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