At the Mouth of the River of Bees

Kij Johnson
science fiction, fantasy, short stories
At the Mouth of the River of Bees - Kij Johnson

Locus Award nominee 2013, World Fantasy Award nominee 2013.

“In her first collection of short fiction, Johnson (The Fox Woman) covers strange, beautiful, and occasionally disturbing territory without ever missing a beat... Johnson’s language is beautiful, her descriptions of setting visceral, and her characters compellingly drawn. These 18 tales, most collected from Johnson’s magazine publications, are sometimes off-putting, sometimes funny, and always thought provoking.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Early Readers Responses

“The variety is tremendous, exhilarating. “26 Monkeys” is as different from “Chenting” as “Names for Water” is from “The Man Who Bridged the Mist,” and each one is differently excellent.” — Ursula K. Le Guin

“This collection is a landmark. I can’t think of any other writer whose stories terrify me the way Johnson’s do. But they’re so intelligent and human and weirdly perfect, I can’t stay away.” — Lev Grossman

“Kij Johnson’s first collection is a marvelous gift to the reader. Her stories are simultaneously playful and melancholic; expansive, but also finely detailed. They take us many places—to the past, to the future, to imaginary and exotic worlds. In each, Johnson shows us things we never dreamed of, but won’t now forget. A writer of range, originality, precision, and power. Enthusiastically recommended.” — Karen Joy Fowler

“Nobody writes like Kij Johnson. Nobody. Nobody finds the interstices of a story the way she does. Nobody dives down into the deep pockets of a story, coming up with the change for the ending. Nobody.” — Jane Yolen

“Not only has Kij Johnson mastered the tools of her craft but she has forged a few that the rest of us haven’t yet got. Read, for instance “Ponies” or “Story Kit” and ask yourself what other writer could have conceived them, much less carried them off.  These wise, sometimes sad, always magical stories linger long after you turn the page. At the Mouth of the River of Bees is very possibly the most important collection of the year and Kij Johnson is a writer you need to know.” — James Patrick Kelly

The wrenching and provocative debut collection from the author of The Fox Woman and Fudoki. Johnson’s stories have won the Sturgeon and World Fantasy awards and, for the last three years running, the Nebula Award.

Johnson’s stories range from historical Japan (Sturgeon award winner “Fox Magic”) to metafictional explorations of story structure (“Story Kit”). Nebula award winners “Spar” and “Ponies” are perhaps most shocking and captivating, but each of the seventeen stories here is a highlight selected from Johnson’s more than two decades of work.

These stories feature cats, bees, wolves, dogs, and even that most capricious of animals, humans, and have been reprinted in The Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror, Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, and The Secret History of Fantasy.

At the Mouth of the River of Bees is one of the most anticipated debut science fiction short story collections in recent years.


  • At the Mouth of the River of Bees
  • 26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss
  • The Horse Raiders
  • Spar
  • Fox Magic
  • Names for Water
  • Schrodinger’s Cathouse
  • My Wife Reincarnated as a Solitaire
  • Chenting, in the Land of the Dead
  • The Bitey Cat
  • Dia Chjerman’s Tale
  • The Empress Jingu Fishes
  • Wolf Trapping
  • The Man Who Bridged the Mist
  • Ponies
  • The Cat Who Walked a Thousand Miles
  • The Evolution of Trickster Stories Among the Dogs of North Park After the Change
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Release date: September 25, 2012
Genres: science fiction, fantasy, short stories
Average rating: 9.00/10
Total ratings: 2
Updated: September 02, 2013