Bruce Farrington Coville (born May 16, 1950) is an American author of the baby boomer generation known for his Young Adult and Children's Literature. He tends to write in the Speculative Fiction genre, occasionally dipping into horror, although generally of the kid-friendly variety.
His over 100 works include:
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Series by Bruce Coville:
Bruce Coville's Chamber of HorrorsFour standalone horror stories originally published in the teen horror series Dark Forces and Twilight: Where Darkness Begins, they were reprinted in 1996 as a single series.
- Amulet of Doom (1985 in Twilight: Where Darkness Begins series; reprinted 1996)
- Spirits and Spells (1986 in Twilight: Where Darkness Begins series; reprinted 1996)
- Eyes of the Tarot (1983 in Dark Forces series; reprinted 1996)
- Waiting Spirit (1984 in Dark Forces series; reprinted 1996)
- Operation Sherlock (1986, revised 1995)
- The Cutlass Clue (1986; by Jim Lawrence)
- Robot Trouble (1986, revised 1995)
- Forever Begins Tomorrow (1986, revised 1995).
- The Ghost in the Third Row (1987)
- The Ghost Wore Gray (1988)
- The Ghost Let Go (1995, short storynote )
- The Ghost in the Big Brass Bed (1990)
Camp Haunted HillsWhen Stuart Glassman discovers his favorite movie director has opened a summer camp for kids who want to learn how to make movies, he immediately signs up. Little does he expect that by summer's end, he'll have been kidnapped by a sasquatch, chased by a mummy, and menaced by a room full of monsters.
- How I Survived My Summer Vacation (1988)
- Some of My Best Friends Are Monsters (1989)
- The Dinosaur that Followed Me Home (1990)
- The Monster's Ring (1989; revised 2002)
- Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher (1990)
- Jennifer Murdley's Toad (1993)
- Watch Out! (1996, short story)
- The Metamorphosis of Justin Jones (1997; short story)
- The Skull Of Truth (1999)
- Juliet Dove Queen Of Love (2003)
- The Mask of Eamonn Tiyado (2008; short story)
We Need to Get Proof, but halfway through, turns into a series about Humanity on Trial.
- My Teacher Is An Alien (1990)
- My Teacher Fried My Brains (1991)
- My Teacher Glows In The Dark (1991)
- My Teacher Flunked The Planet (1992)
- Space Brat (1992)
- Space Brat 2: Blork's Evil Twin (1993)
- Space Brat 3: The Wrath of Squat (1994)
- Space Brat 4: Planet of the Dips (1995)
- Space Brat 5: The Saber-Toothed Poodnoobie (1997)
Goblins duologyWilliam has lived in Toad-in-a-Cage Castle his entire life. But one night, he discovers the strange secret in the north tower, leading him into a dangerous quest to rescue a friend from the land of the goblins. Book 2 continues the story from the point of view of William's friend Fauna, and reveals both their origins, as well as that of the enormous stone toad that gave the castle its name.note
- Goblins in the Castle (1992)
- Goblins on the Prowl (2015)
Rod Allbright Alien AdventuresRod Allbright believes he's a relatively normal sixth-grader until a tiny spaceship and its occupants crashes through his window and enlist his aid in arresting an intergalactic criminal, who must be stopped before he completes a plan that will lead to the destruction of the entire universe.
- Aliens Ate My Homework (1993)
- I Left My Sneakers in Dimension X (1994)
- The Search for Snout/Aliens Stole My Dad (1995)
- Aliens Stole My Body (1998)
- Into the Land of the Unicorns (1994)
- Song of the Wanderer (1999)
- Dark Whispers (2008)
- The Last Hunt (2010)
Shakespeare retellingsAdaptations of the classic Shakespeare plays, incorporating essential lines from each of them into a prose style.
- The Tempest (1996)
- A Midsummer Night's Dream (1996)
- Macbeth (1997)
- Romeo and Juliet (1999)
- Twelfth Night (2003)
- Hamlet (2004)
- The Winter's Tale (2007)
I Was a Sixth Grade Alien (My Best Friend Is an Alien in some countries)Earth has made contact with another world, and its ambassador insists that his son, Pleskit Meenom, be treated like a normal Earth kid. That means enrolling him in sixth grade, where he and his new best friend Tim Tompkins get into all kinds of wild adventures.
- I Was a Sixth Grade Alien (1999)
- The Attack of the Two-Inch Teacher (1999)
- I Lost My Grandfather's Brain (1999)
- Peanut Butter Lover Boy (2000)
- Zombies of the Science Fair (2000)
- Don't Fry My Veeblax! (2000)
- Too Many Aliens (2000)
- Snatched From Earth (2000)
- There's an Alien in My Backpack (2000)
- The Revolt of the Miniature Mutants (2001)
- There's an Alien in My Underwear (2001)
- Farewell to Earth (2001)
- Disaster on Geembol Seven (1999-2000)note
Moongobble and MeA young boy named Edward finds himself having adventures with the wizard Moongobble.
- The Dragon of Doom (2003)
- The Weeping Werewolf (2004)
- The Evil Elves (2004)
- The Mischief Monster (2007)
- The Naughty Nork (2009)
- Amber Brown is Tickled Pink (2012)
- Amber Brown Is on the Move (2013)
- Amber Brown Horses Around (2014)
The Enchanted FilesA humor/fantasy series where the events of each book are told through diary entries and other documents.
- Diary of a Mad Brownie/Cursed (2015)
- Diary of a Runaway Griffin/Hatched (2016)
- Diary of a Terrible Troll/Trolled (2017)
Standalones by Bruce Coville:
- Space Station Ice-3 (1987 as Murder in Orbit; reissued in 1996)note
- Monster Of The Year (1990)
- The Dragonslayers (1994)note
- Fortune's Journey (1994) - a historical fiction story, set in 1853.
- The World's Worst Fairy Godmother (1996)
- Armageddon Summer (1998) - Collaboration with Jane Yolen.
- The Monsters of Morley Manor (2001)note
- Thor's Wedding Day (2005)
- Always October (2012) - his 100th book published.note
Picture books by Bruce Coville:
- The Foolish Giant (1978) - Coville's very first book to be published. note
- Sarah's Unicorn (1985)
- Sarah and the Dragon (1987) (sequel to Sarah's Unicorn)
- My Grandfather's House (1996)
- The Lapsnatcher (1997)
- The Prince of Butterflies (2002)
- Hans Brinker (2007, retelling)
Anthologies by Bruce Coville:
The Monsters Of Morley Manor, which would be expanded and revised into the book of the same name.
- Bruce Coville's Book of Monsters (1993)
- Bruce Coville's Book of Aliens (1994)
- Bruce Coville's Book of Ghosts (1995)
- Bruce Coville's Book of Nightmares (1995)
- Bruce Coville's Book of Spine Tinglers (1996)
- Bruce Coville's Book of Magic (1996)
- Bruce Coville's Book of Monsters II (1996)
- Bruce Coville's Book of Aliens II (1996)
- Bruce Coville's Book of Ghosts II (1997)
- Bruce Coville's Book of Nightmares II (1997)
- Bruce Coville's Book of Spine Tinglers II (1997)
- Bruce Coville's Book of Magic II (1997)
Bruce Coville's...Themed anthologies. Unlike his previous "Book of " series, these do not usually include any stories by Coville himself, and he does not count them in his formal list of books.
- Bruce Coville's Shapeshifters (1999)Contents
- Bruce Coville's Alien Visitors (1999)Contents
- Bruce Coville's Strange Worlds (2000)Contents
- Bruce Coville's UFOs (2000)Contents
OdditiesAnthology series containing a mix of previously published and brand new stories exclusively by Coville. Each contains nine stories and an essay; the series also collects five of Coville's introductory stories from the Bruce Coville's Book of... series (excluding My Little Brother is a Monster, Wizard's Boy and the five portions of The Monsters of Morley Manor).
- Oddly Enough (1994)Contents
- Odder Than Ever (1999)Contents
- Odds Are Good (2006; omnibus of the first two books)
- Oddest of All (2008)Contents
- The Unicorn Treasury (1988)Contents
- Herds of Thunder, Manes of Gold (1989)Contents
- A Glory of Unicorns (1998)Contents
- Half Human (2001)Contents
- The One Right Thing (2008)note Contents
- Bruce Coville's Book of Fear (2012; e-book only release)Contents
Other books by Bruce Coville:
- Prehistoric People (1990, nonfiction)
- The Dungeon #2: The Dark Abyss (1989) - Coville's contribution to a fantasy series organized by Philip José Farmer and written by multiple authors.
- Planet Builders #1: Mountain of Stolen Dreams (as Robyn Tallis) - part of a ten-book, six-author series.
- Planet Builders #6: Night of Two New Moons (as Robyn Tallis)
- Planet Builders #10: Fire in the Sky (as Robyn Tallis)
Works by Bruce Coville with their own pages include:
- Magic Shop
- Monster Of The Year
- My Teacher Is an Alien
- Nina Tanleven
- Rod Albright Alien Adventures
- Space Brat
- The Monsters Of Morley Manor
- The Unicorn Chronicles
Other works by Bruce Coville contain examples of:
- Creator Thumbprint: Quite a few works involve miniaturized individuals. Aside from the Rod Allbright Alien Adventures series with its two-inch aliens and The Monsters of Morley Manor with its five inch title characters, characters are shrunk to two inches in an installment of the I Was A Sixth Grade Alien series.
- Development Hell: Coville has a number of books he'd LIKE to write, including further installments in The Unicorn Chronicles, the Magic Shop series, the Nina Tanleven series and others. Unfortunately, publishers don't seem interested, leaving these plans unfulfilled for now. The truly curious can find references to many of these works and others in his replies on the guestbook of his official website.
- Not-So-Imaginary Friend: Diary of a Mad Brownie. Alex Carhart's little sister Destiny has an invisible friend, Herbert the Goblin, who later supposedly disappears after her teacher tries to convince her he isn't real (angering Angus, the titular "mad Brownie"). Later on, when the protagonists (including said teacher) travel through the Enchanted Realm, they meet Herbert and learn he's a crewman on a ship there — he met Destiny while he was on shore leave, and left with a promise to keep in touch when his time was up.
- Our Goblins Are Different: The goblins in Goblins in the Castle and the short story "The Stinky Princess", while definitely weird, are mostly snarky and pragmatic, and tend to be a lot more decent than many human characters.
- Sdrawkcab Name: The Goblins series features goblins from the land of Nilbog.
- Solitary Sorceress: The witch Granny Pinchbottom in Goblins in the Castle.
- The 'Verse: The Foolish Giant, The Dragonslayers, the Goblins duology, the Magic Shop series, The Unicorn Chronicles and a handful of short stories all take place in the same multiverse. Specific links include:
- The wizard Bellenmore and his apprentice Aaron link multiple series: they appear in person in Coville's short story Wizard's Boy (from Bruce Coville's Book of Magic), and are mentioned in Goblins on the Prowl, Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher and The Unicorn Chronicles. All three stories talk about how Bellenmore had sent the majority of Earth's dragons away from their birth world for their own safety, and the latter two feature dragons who were directly affected by Bellenmore's actions.
- Goblins on the Prowl describes the events of The Foolish Giant as happening in its past, and references characters from The Dragonslayers.
- The short story The Boy With Silver Eyes features the title character visiting Nilbog (from the Goblins duology) and meeting a Guardian of Memory (from The Unicorn Chronicles).
Camp Haunted Hills
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: At the end of book 3, after his experiences in the alternate timeline where he lived longer and didn't like how he turned out, Robert disappears into the afterlife after saying goodbye to Stuart and telling him to "Be very careful you don't grow up to be a jerk."
- Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Yeti: The focus of Cry of the Sasquatch, the film the characters are making in the first book. And then it turns out they're real, and have been living near the camp for some time.
- The Bully: Lucius Colton in the first two books. Flash Milligan, the camp lighting specialist in all three books, is a grown-up version who's even worse.
- Embarrassing Nickname: In book 3, Winston's is "Winnie the Wimp".
- Friendly Ghost: Robert, most of the time. However, he's also shown a vengeful side against jerks and crooks.
- Intergenerational Friendship: Stuart with the camp's special effects teacher Harry Housen, and Brenda with the camp's makeup specialist Aurora Jackson.
- Invisible to Normals:
- Ghosts, unless they want you to see them.
- Time vortexes, unless you've been pulled through one recently (which doesn't usually work on mortals)... and to top it off, as long as you can see them, you can go through them. Once you stop seeing them, you're no longer affected.
- It Only Works Once: Invoked in Some of My Best Friends Are Monsters. Lucius Colton, who's already transformed once thanks to the Jekyll Juice, is in the room when everyone else unwittingly drinks it en masse, but avoids drinking it himself. He informs Stuart that after everyone turns back, he'll lie and tell them he was immune to the effects because of this trope.
- Mama Bear: Or rather, Mama Bigfoot, who is willing to fight in defense of a perceived young Bigfoot whom she thinks has been kidnapped by humans. She's heartbroken when she discovers it's really Stuart in costume.
- Meaningful Rename: The camp itself, which went from the nonsensical "Camp Haw N'ed Hee Las" to Camp Haunted Hills after former counselor Robert Campbell started hanging around as a ghost.
- Multitasked Conversation: How I Survived My Summer Vacation introduces the rather puckish Robert Campbell, a ghost whom only Stuart (or anyone else Robert chooses) can see; this makes conversation difficult when the two are around anyone else, but Stuart manages to figure out how to pull these off at least some of the time. Robert in turn actually congratulates Stuart on being able to do this the first time he does so.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: The series features famous director Gregory Stevens (who founded the camp in its current form), who is essentially a combination of George Lucas and Stephen Spielberg. His films include the Battle For the Galaxy trilogy (a reference to Star Wars), White Death (referencing Jaws), Temple of the Golden Arches, and Boogeymen (which was said to be making money so fast that the government would have to open a new printing plant to make enough dollars to pay his earnings).
- Noodle Incident: Exactly how Robert died, which Stuart wonders about but Robert refuses to answer the one time he asks. The closest we get to an answer is early in book 2, when Harry states that "A man's got to do what a man's got to do", which Robert says disgustedly "is the kind of thinking that got me turned into a ghost", and a comment late in book 3 when he experiences an alternate timeline in which he's still alive while still remembering being fatally shot in the original timeline.
- Playground Song: 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall is mentioned as being sung during the bus trip in The Dinosaur That Followed Me Home, until one camper overhears a nickname for one of the new kids and switches to a song based on that instead.
- Put on a Bus: Lucius Colton, one of the campers from the first two books, doesn't return for Stuart's second year.
- Saw "Star Wars" 27 Times: In How I Survived My Summer Vacation, Stuart Glassman admits to having seen Battle For the Galaxy fifteen times the first week it was open.
- Shaped Like Itself: Used as an insult in The Dinosaur That Followed Me Home, where Flash Milligan demands to know if Stuart is trying to make a fool out of him. Robert, unheard by Flash, says that "That would be like making a duck out of a duck."
- Slurpasaur: In-universe in the Camp Haunted Hills trilogy, set at a camp where the attendees learn how to make movies. Harry Housen (ironically, named for an effects artist who specialized in averting this trope), who teaches special effects, specializes in holographic projection and is always painting his pet iguana Myron different colors, or pasting wings, fins or other things on the lizard, even figuring out how to make smoke come out of Myron's nostrils at one point, and then uses the altered iguana as a model for said holograms. Fortunately, the lizard is very patient about all this. The resulting holograms are more effective than one would think — they terrify both humans and, in the finale, a family of Bigfoot holding the heroes captive.
- Speaks Fluent Animal: Ghosts, such as Robert - he's shown talking to lizards and dinosaurs.
- Time Skip: Between books 2 and 3. Book 2 ends late in Stuart's first year at Camp Haunted Hills, while book 3 picks up right before he goes back for his second year.
- Unfortunate Names: Brenda's cousin is named Winston de Pew. Stuart's immediate thought is to say "Sorry about your name", but he resists.
I Was A Sixth Grade Alien
- Mars Wants Chocolate: The aliens visiting Earth want to find a reason to establish friendly relations with us, but we don't have anything they actually particularly want. Until, that is, they discover peanut butter. Not because it's so delicious, but because it supercharges their romantic and sexual drives.
- The Prankster: Beebo Frimbat, an imp from another planet who's featured in books 9 and 11.
- Saw "Star Wars" 27 Times: Protagonist Tim Tompkins mentions in the first book that he's been waiting for aliens to contact Earth since the first time he saw Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and that he's seen it 47 times by that point.
- Square-Cube Law: In one book the characters are shrunk to about seven inches and quickly discover that this has not affected their strength or mass; after trying to get off a desk they attempt jumping down onto a open drawer and snap right through it.
- Stay with the Aliens: Linnsy Vanderhof chooses not to return to Earth after undergoing Mental Fusion with an alien symbiont, deciding instead to travel the galaxy.
- Army of the Dead: Brion, the protagonist of With His Head Tucked Underneath His Arm (originally released in A Wizard's Dozen: Stories of the Fantastic and collected in Coville's anthology Oddly Enough), leads one against enemy soldiers who've been sent to raid his kingdom. Unusually, the dead don't attack the living - they just point out what it'll be like to be dead, and the soldiers decide they'd rather go home and live as long as possible.
- Back from the Dead: Brion, the protagonist of With His Head Tucked Underneath His Arm, returns from the grave after being executed and angrily forces the king who ordered his demise to call back the soldiers he controls and withdraw his kingdom from the ongoing multi-sided war altogether. After three years of advising the king, Brion ultimately sees the other armies also decide to stop fighting and, with the threat ended for good, is thus able to return to his grave and rest in peace.
- Draft Dodging: In With His Head Tucked Underneath His Arm, there are people who avoid being drafted because they're physically unfit and others who avoid it because they're too frightened, too smart or simply "too loving"; this last category is the most dangerous, because objecting to the war has been made illegal. The protagonist, Brion, fits the last category and fakes being crippled to avoid serving in a war he doesn't believe in, but ends up revealing his true status and is arrested and executed for it.
- Forever War: In With His Head Tucked Underneath His Arm, there's an endless one going on between the fifteen kingdoms on the continent of Losfar, and it's gone on for so long that when one kingdom pulls out, the others decide after a few years that this kingdom deserves punishment for daring to get prosperous while they're still spending their resources to defend themselves, and thus send armies of their own against it. Fortunately, Brion and his ghostly allies are able to finally bring the war to an end.