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Reading Groups

Beyond the Tropes: Family Secrets and Burdens in Speculative Fiction with Marc Abbott (Online Only)


3 Monthly Sessions Sundays, 1:00 pm EDT - 2:30 pm EDT October 24 to December 19, 2021

Online via Zoom

The ‘With Books’ option includes all titles required for this group at a 15% discount.

Meeting Dates:
10/24, 11/21, 12/19

Every family has secrets. While many of them serve to protect the family dynamic from harm, the burden they carry can weigh heavy on the one who keeps it, and even heavier on the one that searches to uncover the truth behind those secrets. In speculative fiction, the search can lead to a truly terrifying discovery.

In this session we will read three speculative fiction novels that deal with family secrets. We will dissect the reasons why secrets are kept, the tropes that are used to give weight to the dark forces at play, the burdens protagonists must carry, and the fights family members have to engage in to free or protect their family from the horror of the supernatural.


Led by

  • Photo: John F. Sheehan Photography (

    Marc L. Abbott

    Marc L. Abbott

    Marc L. Abbott is the author of the YA novel The Hooky Party and the children’s book Etienne and the Stardust Express. His short stories “Welcome to Brooklyn, Gabe” and “A Marked Man” are featured in the Bram Stoker-nominated horror anthology New York State of Fright and the Hell’s Heart horror anthology. He is the co-author of Hell at the Way Station, the two-time African American Literary Award-winning horror anthology with award winning author Steven Van Patten. He is also a contributing writer of the book Cocktail Guide to the Galaxy. Abbott is a 2015 Moth Story Slam and Grand Slam Storyteller winner. He is the writer and performer of the storytelling solo shows Love African American Style and Of Cats and Men: A Storytellers Journey. He is the host of the monthly storytelling show Maaan, You’ve Got to Hear This! in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Abbott is one of the hosts for the podcast “Beef, Wine and Shenanigans” and an active member of the HWA New York Chapter and Gamma Xi Phi Fraternity.