Bruce Farrington Coville (born May 16, 1950) is an American author of the baby boomer generation known for his Young Adult, Middle Grade, 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)
- 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)
- 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)
Paula Danziger, co-written by Coville and Elizabeth Levy after Danziger's death.
- 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)note
- Always October (2012) - his 100th book published.note
- The Thief of Worlds (2021)
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:
- The A.I. Gang
- Amber Brown
- Armageddon Summer
- Bruce Coville's Book of...
- Camp Haunted Hills
- The Dragonslayers
- I Was a Sixth Grade Alien
- Magic Shop
- Monster of the Year
- My Teacher Is an Alien
- Nina Tanleven
- Rod Allbright 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.
- Coville's hometown of Syracuse, New York is a recurring setting in his works, including Nina Tanleven, I Was a Sixth Grade Alien and Monster of the Year, and Rod Allbright's hometown is based on it (book 4 mentions that Rod and Coville "live in the same area".
- Humans Through Alien Eyes, with aliens offering their often-critical opinions on modern human society and culture.
- 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.
- FaceHeel Turn: The plot of Sarah's Unicorn is kicked off by one of these. Sarah's aunt Mag had a spell backfire on her that turned her heart to stone and made her mean, treating Sarah cruelly and making her fetch nasty things from the forest. Eventually, the unicorn Oakheart breaks the spell with his healing magic, letting Mag become good again.
- Hollywood Midlife Crisis: In The Enchanted Files, book 1 (Diary of a Mad Brownie, later retitled Cursed), Alex Carhart's father undergoes one when he quits his job to focus on his music. Which is terrible. It turns out to be a side-effect of the curse that Angus Cairns, the titular mad brownie, carries with him — any male of the family he's living with is bound to try to make beautiful poetry, rhymes or lyrics, but which will always come out wretched. Once the curse is broken, the afflicted turn back to their original selves, and Mr. Carhart reclaims his job and gives up trying to write song lyrics.
- No Indoor Voice: Goblins in the Castle has Hulda, the castle maid, who always shouts. Justified because she's mostly deaf and shouting is the only way for her to hear herself talk.
- Not-So-Imaginary Friend: In The Enchanted Files, book 1 (Diary of a Mad Brownie, later retitled Cursed), 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.
- Related in the Adaptation:
- In the short story "My Little Brother Is a Monster", Jason Burger and his mom adopt Dum Pling / Little Dumpling as a part of their family, but do not share blood with him. When it was expanded into the full novel Always October, Jason was replaced with Jacob Doolittle, whose grandfather Arthur was married twice; his first wife, Tia LaMontagne (alias Teelamun) had two children, Meer Askanza (the mother of Little Dumpling) and Mazrak. After she disappeared and Arthur remarried, his second wife bore him a son, Jacob's father. This makes Little Dumpling into Jacob's paternal cousin by blood (and by extension his mother into Jacob's aunt), and Mazrak into both Jacob and Little Dumpling's uncle.
- In the original short story, only one member of the Council of Poets — Keegel Farzym — was related to Dum Pling. In Always October, another of them is his maternal grandmother Teelamun.
- Scrapbook Story: Each of the books in the The Enchanted Files series consists mainly of diary entries from the main non-human character, but also mixes in assorted papers from other characters, including letters, memos and those characters' own diary entries.
- Sdrawkcab Name: The Goblins series features goblins from the land of Nilbog.
- Solitary Sorceress: The witch Granny Pinchbottom in Goblins in the Castle is a sort of boogeyman figure the main character William was taught to fear, but when he encounters her, she turns out to be well-intentioned, though somewhat duplicitous and scary, and gives him a few items he needs.
- 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).
- 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.
- Cavalry 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.
- 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.
- Neutrality Backlash: Attempted in With His Head Tucked Underneath His Arm. When Brion's kingdom pulls out of the Forever War and starts minding their own business, the other fourteen kingdoms send armies to invade. Brion calls up an army of his fellow dead to point out what the continuing war will lead to, leading to the other armies leaving them in peace.