Stranger Things Happen

This first collection by award-winning author Kelly Link takes fairy tales and cautionary tales, dictators and extraterrestrials, amnesiacs and honeymooners, revenants and readers alike, on a voyage into new, strange, and wonderful territory. The girl detective must go to the underworld to solve the case of the tap-dancing bank robbers. A librarian falls in love with a girl whose father collects artificial noses. A dead man posts letters home to his estranged wife. Two women named Louise begin a series of consecutive love affairs with a string of cellists. A newly married couple become participants in an apocalyptic beauty pageant. Sexy blond aliens invade New York City. A young girl learns how to make herself disappear.

These eleven extraordinary stories are quirky, spooky, and smart. They all have happy endings. Every story contains a secret prize. Each story was written especially for you.

Stories from Stranger Things Happen have won the Nebula, Tiptree, and World Fantasy Award. Stranger Things Happen was a Salon Book of the Year, one of the Village Voice’s 25 Favorite Books of 2001, and was nominated for the Firecracker Alternative Book Award.

“Pity the poor librarians who have to slap a sticker on Kelly Link’s genre-bending, mind-blowing masterpiece of the imagination, Stranger Things Happen.”
—Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia, for NPR’s You Must Read This

“Kelly Link is the exact best and strangest and funniest short story writer on earth that you have never heard of at the exact moment you are reading these words and making them slightly inexact. Now pay for the book.”
—Jonathan Lethem

“My favorite fantasy writer, Miss Kelly Link.”
—Alan Cheuse, NPR, All Things Considered

Cover painting by Shelley Jackson.


Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose
Water Off a Black Dog’s Back
The Specialist’s Hat
Flying Lessons
Travels with the Snow Queen
Vanishing Act
Survivor’s Ball, or, The Donner Party
Shoe and Marriage
Most of My Friends Are Two-Thirds Water
Louise’s Ghost
The Girl Detective

Kelly Link is the author of three collections of short stories, Stranger Things HappenMagic for Beginners, and Pretty Monsters. Her next collection short stories have received the O’Henry, Shirley Jackson, Tiptree, Nebula, Hugo, and World Fantasy awards. She was born in Miami, Florida, and once won a free trip around the world by answering the question “Why do you want to go around the world?” (“Because you can’t go through it.”)

Link and her family live in Massachusetts, where she and her husband, Gavin J. Grant, run Small Beer Press, and play ping-pong. In 1996 they started the occasional zine Lady Churchill’s Rosebud WristletCandlewick Press published their YA anthology Steampunk! An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories

Kelly Link’s debut collection Stranger Things Happen is also available for as a free download in various completely open formats with no Digital Rights Management (DRM) strings attached. It is licensed under a Creative Commons (Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5) license allowing readers to share the stories with friends and generally have at them in any noncommercial manner. Please visit the Small Beer Press Creative Commons pages for more information.


4 Responses to “Stranger Things Happen”

  1. Douglas says:

    Hey guys,
    None of the download links seem to work.

    I’d love to read KL’s first collection. Is it no longer available for free?


  2. Samantha says:

    Just a heads up, the epub version for sale here is missing some text at the beginning of “Vanishing Act”.

    • Gavin says:

      Hi Samantha, thanks for the note. We’ve posted an updated version (which will be in your Library if you are registered on the site). Looks like there were 2 words from the end of the 1st para moved to the start of the paragraph in a number of stories—sorry about that. And again, thanks for this, much appreciated.

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