And I thought I was up on these things.
Despite the fact I have every book in both the Are You Afraid of the Dark? and Eerie, Indiana tie-in fiction lines, am well familiar with the many varieties (and hundreds of volumes) of Goosebumps books, and have numerous other Middle Grade selections (including some obscure series such as Fiendly Corners and Scream Shop), I somehow was completely unaware of the Strange Matter line until Little Fears fan RandolphC posted about it on the Yahoo!Group.
I am, quite frankly, ashamed of myself. And I should be, because the books sound great.
Published in the mid-to-late-90s, at the height of the “let’s frighten children” era, Strange Matter saw 30 books written alternately by Marty M. Engle and Johnny Ray Barnes, Jr. The line also spun off a four-book series called Strange Forces.
The series takes place in and around the city of Fairfield, and features tween protagonists encountering and battling supernatural threats that range from werewolves to undead athletes to plants masquerading as regular folks. Each book is a new situation, featuring sometimes-new/sometimes-recurring characters.
Kids fighting monsters. Sounds great.
Sadly, the original line is out of print but the authors are looking to bring it back in ebook format in the near future. Three of the four spin-offs are already out for Kindle (see here: 1, 2, 3). I’ll be sitting down with those soon and I look forward to picking up the originals as they’re released. I recommend you do too, as they seem prime inspiration for the game of childhood terror.
You can keep tabs on the series at the authors’ official site, and I’ll be sure to drop notices here as well. My best to the authors in their relaunch. I can’t wait to see what I missed.
(Big thanks to Little Fears Yahoo!Group member RandolphC for the heads up on this intriguing series.)