Audiobook (Digital)

(Not eligible for purchase using B&N Audiobooks Subscription credits)

Listen on the free Barnes & Noble NOOK app

Related collections and offers


Luckily for humanity, scientist Marie Curie applied her brilliant mind and indomitable spirit to expanding the frontiers of science, but what if she had instead drifted toward the darkness?

At the cusp of between child- and adulthood, at the crossroads between science and superstition, a teen Marie Curie faces the factual and the fantastic in this fabulous collection of stories that inspire, delight, and ask the question: What if she had used her talents for diabolical purposes?

The Hitherto Secret Experiments of Marie Curie includes twenty short stories and poems by award-winning writers including New York Times bestselling authors Seanan McGuire, Scott Sigler, Jane Yolen, Alethea Kontis, Stacia Deutsch, and Jonathan Maberry, among others.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly


Via myriad fantastical situations boasting magic, supernatural creatures, and time travel, 20 chilling short stories and poems by authors including Sarah Beth Durst, Jonathan Maberry, Jo Whittemore, and others center pioneering physicist Marie Curie (1867–1934), born Marya Salomea Skłodowska. The anthology kicks off with background information on Curie’s life and a history of late 19th- and early 20th-century Poland, providing enriching context for the stories that follow. Jane Yolen’s entry, “Dark Lady, Salomea,” imagines the scientist’s thoughts on her innovations’ consequences in concise verse (“Do the lives lost, gained,/ weigh equal in your heart?/ Or do you just polish/ the medals and move on”). In “Mayra’s Monster,” Alethea Kontis sees Curie contending with a monster sent from the enigmatic darkness to frighten her. Some stories delve into Curie’s personal experiences, while others primarily spotlight her scientific endeavors as seen through the lens of sci-fi and fantasy buffs. Despite the volume’s genre-spanning fare, entries can feel somewhat narratively repetitive. Nevertheless, contributors coherently spin tales that ambitiously explore themes of grief, loss, occupation and oppression, and systemic misogyny. Those inspired by Curie’s accomplishments will find much to enjoy in this intriguing work. Ages 12–17. (Apr.)

author of The Postman and The Ancient Ones David Brin

Fun and quirky tales and ruminations about a genius, a hero, and a role model for the ages!”

New York Times bestselling author of The Darwin El Jason M. Hough

A richly imagined collection from a stellar group of writers. Do not miss it!”

School Library Journal


Gr 9 Up—Mixing the fantastical with the historical, Schmidt and Herz have collected 16 short stories surrounding the life and times of Marie Curie, the Nobel Prize—winning scientist. Each writer uses one segment of her life, whether it be her childhood, experiments and discoveries, or her marriage and children, to blend factual and fantastical imaginings of a curious woman living in a man's world of science in 1800s Europe. Readers should not be fooled—this is not historical fiction nor is it a nonfiction collection of her life but a wide-ranging, genre-bending exploration of Curie, using her name but playing loose with most of the facts. This approach makes it hard to categorize and contextualize. Several of the short stories include a "science note" at the end of the story about what was real; more often, the stories are not based in fact and that is distracting, while also appearing disingenuous to her greatness as a scientist, though the editors state that this is not their intent. Their intent is to inspire a new generation of STEM thinkers by blending it with speculative fiction. That value is recognized with the skilled pen of Jane Yolen, who writes four verse pieces interspersed in the collection, which injects a seriousness to the fantastical elements. VERDICT This falls short in totality. Preferred reading goes to nonfiction about Marie Curie rather than this collection loosely inspired by her life.—Alicia Abdul

Kirkus Reviews

A fictional collection of fantastical imaginings of Marie Curie’s teen years.

After an opening grounds readers in the basics of the life of Marya Salomea Skłodowska, better known as Marie Curie, as well as the important people and places of her youth, 16 authors imagine her youth, with mixed-genre twists. The more grounded stories imagine Marya using her scientific know-how to solve mysteries and save lives; these intermingle with tales of her hunting monsters and raising the dead. The result is jarringly different depictions of the same person; readers are best served by treating each tale as its own alternate universe. The most successful manage to straddle the divide by leaning into folklore, such as “The Cold White Ones” by Susanne L. Lambdin, a standout unfortunately marred by the repeated use of a slur for Romani people. The contributions overall tend toward dark themes, dwelling on Marya’s depression after deaths in her family (a formative experience that loses its power through the repeated focus it receives) and the oppression she faced as a woman and from Russia’s occupation of Poland. Occasional free-verse poems from Jane Yolen seem more concerned with Curie’s adult self and need more context than the short stories. Many of the entries are followed by a “Science Note” explaining the science used (frequently chemical reactions) and giving historical and cultural context.

Ambitious and offbeat but suffering from repetitiveness. (further reading, editor bios, author bios) (Historical speculative fiction. 14-18)

Product Details

BN ID: 2940175855334
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Publication date: 04/11/2023
Edition description: Unabridged
From the B&N Reads Blog

Customer Reviews