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In the Mean Time

4.02  ·  Rating Details ·  190 Ratings  ·  45 Reviews
A history teacher begins his unorthodox senior course with clips from an ominous surveillance video, causing a student's home life to deteriorate along with the lessons.

A girl with a second head that changes into different historical and fictional identities tries to find her father while figuring out how to handle Mom and the book club.

A blog documents society's slow, une
Audiobook, Unabridged
Published October 15th 2010 by Iambik audiobooks (first published January 1st 2010)
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Jan 31, 2011 karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
a float for paul tremblay!!!

holy freaking crap!!

i am giving this five stars, even though there were one or two stories there that i didn't think were the best, because the ones that were great were GREAT as in "i want you guys to all read this book-great."

first - a word. barnes and noble has this publisher shelved in sci-fi/fantasy which is so frustrating to me because the world being the way it is, fewer people browse genre-sections than browse general fiction-literature because the assumption
Richard Thomas
Jan 22, 2011 Richard Thomas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Review originally published at The Nervous Breakdown:

When you enter the world of Paul Tremblay most anything can happen, and usually does. His recent collection, In The Mean Time (ChiZine Publications) defies expectations, the cover art a soft purple hue all filled with glittery type. It shows the faces of two sweet girls, which at first glance (pay attention, readers, the show starts here) could be two sisters sitting very close together, twins maybe. But
Nov 18, 2010 Jessica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2010

Paul Tremblay blends fantasy, horror, and realism in his new short story collection In the Mean Time. In 15 stories of personal and social catastrophes, Tremblay confronts the loneliness, fear, paranoia, and endurance of humankind.

The book collects a handful of Temblay’s published stories from the past decade with a few original to the collection. The author plays with elements of different genres, ranging from realism to dark fantasy and science fiction.
Feb 01, 2011 Alan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Alan by: karen
Shelves: short-stories
Nearly 5 stars. Superb stories: strange and weird (a girl with two heads, a man who fills his house with spiders), or post- or pre-apocalyptic (in one the world is overgrown with bamboo like plants, that eventually come up through the floorboards; in another there is a cerebral aneurysm epidemic). OK there are innumerable examples of strange and/or end-of-the-world stories but what sets Tremblay apart is the odd combination of humour and compassion. And the smooth, expert writing. It was possibl ...more
Apr 26, 2012 Mairi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
Almost every time I pick up another Tremblay work, just a few pages in, two things happen: (1) I am reminded of what an incredibly talented author he is. (2) I kick myself for not having read whatever it is sooner. In the Mean Time was no exception.

Reading through: I found myself physically leaning forward as if it will help me unfold the story sooner, but not actually wanting to read any faster. I read to the end of stories and realized I'd been holding my breath or grinding my teeth or both.
Mar 09, 2011 Jasmine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american
I already reviewed this once and goodreads ate it, and I'm sleepy so highlights:

1. I liked paul tremblay when I talked to him about crime novels so I started his book a year ago.

2. I picked it back up and finished it this week.

3. It is very well written, but I don't answer followups about short story plots.

4. I'd like to read a novel by him.
Caleb Ross
Twitter Review: #ITMT In The Mean Time by Paul Tremblay @paulGtremblay

#ITMT story1: The ticking clock is a child’s impending pain. Incredible suspense. I suffered an entire life during this story.

#ITMT story2: Does simple psychosis explain the girl's 2nd head? Her mother's unhealthy support of the condition tears me apart.

#ITMT story3: like a scary retelling of Barthleme's The Balloon through the meta lens of academic legacy.Starts simply clever but ends deep.

May 25, 2011 Simon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It pains me a great deal to admit this, but this book is wonderful. Slightly bent, funny, bizarre, and awesome, often at the same time, Tremblay's series of tales are remarkable, and it's no wonder his star is rising as fast as it is. Scratch that: it's a mystery why it isn't rising faster. Definitely one of my favourite books this year. (And I'm still angry about it.)
Karen Heuler
Feb 06, 2012 Karen Heuler rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

The first story in this book, "The Teacher," is extraordinary. A charismatic teacher shows a very disturbing video, frame by frame, as students and teacher alike are changed by the experience. One of the best stories I've read recently.
Nicholas Kaufmann
Mar 20, 2013 Nicholas Kaufmann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A collection of mini-masterpieces about the end of the world, both actually and personally. I hate Paul Tremblay for being such a talented writer. Or I would if he had a uvula. But he doesn't, so I take pity on him. You should, too.
Wahiaronkwas David
So much to say...but I'm not coherent yet.
Daniel Short
Oct 19, 2010 Daniel Short rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thoughtful stories and a different look from Paul Tremblay. Excellent!
Sep 12, 2012 Jody rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
IN THE MEAN TIME by Paul Tremblay

IN THE MEAN TIME by Paul Tremblay is a collection of weird short fiction that lives up to its title, offering readers fifteen sociopolitical tales that inform us of inner conflict as well as interpersonal conflicts, world-ending plagues, psychological horror, and inconsolable loss as they lead us down dangerous avenues where adaptability and resiliency are the only means of defense and survival. IN THE MEAN TIME unfolds in a merciless world not unlike our own, an
Brandon Tietz
Mar 20, 2011 Brandon Tietz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’ve been reading a lot of collections lately. For the uninitiated, collections compared to novels are more difficult to sell, both to the publishing house and the consumer. Why? Because people prefer that “one big story” instead of “a bunch of little ones.” That, and it’s far easier to market a novel with its one synopsis compared to a collection with its multiple ones. For years, it’s been like that, so when a collection does come out, one would expect it to be exceptional.

So here are some col
Dec 06, 2013 Patrickmalka rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've been reading this book for years now and have to sadly say that I've finally finished it. The slow pace is due to two factors: one, in general, I tend to read many collections and anthologies simultaneously so it can take me a while to finish any one book but when I start finishing them, I finish many at once. Second, and more relevant to this review, Paul Tremblay writes stories that need to be studied and digested properly. It's not necessarily easy reading but if you take a bit of time w ...more
Randolph Carter
I'm a fan of full disclosure. I always struggle with the subjective-objective conundrum when trying to review something. Should I go with the gut or the more analytical approach? You get the idea.

Hence the problem here. I just wasn't much into where Tremblay was going in these stories. The second half of the collection grabbed me more than the first part. There seemed to be more character involved. However, these are really good stories. Really, really good stories that reminded me of Shirley an
May 11, 2016 Alisa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
These stories fell short of my expectations, probably because I already read "A Head Full of Ghosts" and was expecting much of the same: interesting characters and storylines, solid writing, all the good stuff. While the writing was largely good, the stories were lacking. None of them felt complete, and I could not figure out the point of many of them. The first story, "The Teacher," had a powerful, unsettling, uncomfortable mood which pulled me in, but I could not say the same for the others. I ...more
Barbara Gordon
Sep 07, 2012 Barbara Gordon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I re-read this to take away the taste of the John Shirley anthology, and it worked. With Tremblay you don't know what is coming next, but the odds are that it will be strange and cool. Probably best characterised as slipstream, with some being absurdist and others realistic.
The stories are up and down, of course, but most of them strike home. The strongest may be We Will Never Live in the Castle, a post-apoc story of doomed love and revenge in a derelict theme park. Love! Death! Minigolf!
Oct 07, 2010 Cindy marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: anthology, spec-fic
Found via this interview listed at
Sheri White
Dec 14, 2010 Sheri White rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great short story collection. Even the stories that weren't my favorites were very well-written. I would definitely buy more of Paul Tremblay's work.
Jan 03, 2011 Alicia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These stories will alarm you. The people who populate them live where the edges between reality and the frighteningly fantastic is not clear (to us or them) with sometimes catastrophic results.
Richard Larson
Dec 06, 2010 Richard Larson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Review forthcoming!
Paul Eckert
I liked the stories in In the Mean Time, but I didn't love most of them. My reaction is something like a fierce ambivalence, if such a thing could ever make sense.

I was really excited to read this collection. Summaries promised tales of a two-headed girl, post-apocalyptic scenarios, and other oddities. Sounds like my kind of party.

The stories gave me the premises I'd hoped for, but somehow, many of them didn't deliver, or just didn't have the type of lasting impact I look for in a good story. M
William Freedman
Paul Tremblay is singularly talented. Adept at setting a mood, disciplined in stripping away the non-essential, insightful at creating sympathetic characters, he exudes writerly skill.

So why did I give his anthology In the Mean Time only three stars? Because there is one key element that he is uneven at: storytelling.

You can't call this book a collection of short stories. Some of them are stories and some of them are better described as vignettes. I could imagine submitting "The People Who Live
Hal Bodner
There is no question in my mind that Paul Tremblay is one of the best writers working today. His facility with language inspires envy. The man is equally comfortable with both traditional prose pieces and alternative structures. His words flow beautifully and his command of language is truly awe inspiring.

Yet, his collection of short fiction, IN THE MEAN TIME, left me rather cold.

I wanted to like it. I really did. And though, in the end, I did not much care for the collection, I very much enjoy
M Griffin
Apr 03, 2012 M Griffin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first saw Paul Tremblay's name mentioned in the blogs of several other writers I enjoy, so it should be no surprise that I enjoy the fictional worlds he creates. I love the way Tremblay balances strange and playful elements against emotional realism and seriousness. These stories take chances, but never leave the reader behind in pursuit of writerly flourishes or abstractions.

The bulk of the collection is comprised of whimsical yet dark pieces existing in a sort of no-man's-land between genre
May 21, 2014 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Unsettling is the best way to describe this collection of stories or better yet as one Goodreads reviewer described it "stories of personal & social catastrophes."
As with most short story collections some fell a little flat but I'm surprised that I haven't heard more about this writer. Weird, terrifying, and thought-provoking.
Nov 18, 2012 Travis rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not much of a short story reader. They just seem like a random chapter taken out of a book, and usually don't go anywhere. I feel they are best when they have outstanding dialogue or some sort of twist. Of course, there's always a limit to what can be done.
It was okay, but I always felt underwhelmed by the end of each story.
The Teacher (4)
Sometimes the hostile reality of this world can really jade a person over time. Sometimes it's just one semester of school.

The Two Headed Girl (4)
Don't you hate it when your book club thinks your other head is the author of the book you're reading?
H. Nelson
Nov 19, 2014 H. Nelson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This collection is ridiculously good. I read a few stories of his in anthologies and HAD to pick this up based on those stories. I was not disappointed. Looking forward to his new novel!
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Paul Tremblay is the author of DISAPPEARANCE AT DEVIL'S ROCK and the award-winning A HEAD FULL OF GHOSTS. His other novels include THE LITTLE SLEEP (Henry Holt), NO SLEEP TILL WONDERLAND (Henry Holt), SWALLOWING A DONKEY'S EYE (Chizine Publications), and the YA novel FLOATING BOY AND THE GIRL WHO COULDN'T FLY (co-written with Stephen Graham Jones, as P. T. Jones).

He is the author of the short sto
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