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Literature / Indexing

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Hope they find you before The Story does.

Indexing is both the first in a series of ebook serials by Seanan McGuire, and the name of the series itself. Its books were originally released in parts on Amazon Kindle, now available as a single complete work.

The entries in the series are:

  1. Indexing
  2. Indexing: Reflections

It is about an organization who save ordinary people from being sucked into the narrative of fairy tales. Why is there an organization? Why do ordinary people need saving from fairy tales? Because contrary to what Disney would have us believe fairy tales often have a whole lot of collateral damage, and a fairly high body count. Even the princes and princesses who are theoretically slated for a happily ever after ending often end up dead when the story tries to play out in real life.

How is it there are people who know when a Story is starting and who needs saving? The ATI Management Bureau is made up of people who were touched by The Story and survived.


This series contains examples of:

  • First-Person Perspective: The story starts from Henry's point of view, with passages like:
    There’s no dress code in my office, not even for the field teams, since many of us have reasons to avoid the more common suits and ties. I still liked to keep things formal.
  • Friendless Background: Sloane's "role" of Wicked Stepsister makes it dangerous for her to get too close to anyone, even a "found family" could trigger her homicidal tendencies.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Played with. Henry has the woodland creatures flocking to her, but she's not really excited or pleased about it.
  • Genre Savvy: The tropes of various fairy tales are what help the ATI Management Bureau identify when a Story is starting to take place, and which one specifically, such as the sleeps of Sleeping Beauties and Snow Whites.
  • Jerkass: Sloane is a jerk, but she acts even more obnoxious than she actually is to make sure people don't get too close to her.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Henry has one by choice, but she implies that certain articles of clothing resonate with The Story and so certain people wearing certain things could be harmful.
  • Magitek: Henry's car has bulletproof, charmproof glass in its windows.
  • Older Than They Look: Sloane appears to be in her late teens, but has been working for the Bureau since before Henry was born, and Reflections indicates that she's been working since at least the 1910s, so, she's been alive more than a century.
  • Pretentious Latin Motto: In aeternum felicitas vindactio translates roughly as "defending happily ever after".
  • Reality Warper: Storytellers. They can bend and warp The Narrative and the world around it into pretty much whatever shape they want as long as they don't go too far from the various tropes that make up the various Fairy Tales.
  • Shared Dream: People affected by the same Narrative sometimes report dreaming of a place where they all meet.
  • Transgender: Henry's twin brother was born in a female body. When he started openly living as a man, it kept him from falling into the role of Rose Red, since that story calls for twin sisters.
  • We Help the Helpless: The whole purpose of the ATI organization is to protect people from being swallowed up by fairy tales, and harmed as the narrative seeks to tell the story at any cost.
  • Weirdness Censor: How the Bureau manages to get most of its work done without freaking out the general populace. The general populace rationalizes away whatever weirdness ensues.


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