Klages, Ellen 1954-

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Klages, Ellen 1954-


Born July 9, 1954, in Columbus, OH. Education: University of Michigan, B.A.


Home—San Francisco, CA. E-mail—[email protected]


Writer. Worked variously as a pinball mechanic, photographer, printer, and proofreader for a hands-on science museum.


Nebula Award for best novelette, 2005, for "Basement Magic"; Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction, 2007, for The Green Glass Sea.



The Green Glass Sea (novel), Viking (New York, NY), 2006.

Portable Childhoods (short stories), Tachyon Publications (San Francisco, CA), 2007.

Contributor of short fiction to publications such as Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Black Gate, and Firebirds Rising, as well as to numerous anthologies.


Harbin Hot Springs: Healing Waters, Sacred Land, Harbin Springs Publishing (Middletown, CA), 1991.

(With others) The Science Explorer: Family Experiments from the World's Favorite Hands-on Science Museum, Henry Holt (New York, NY), 1996.

(With others) Exploratorium: A Year of Discoveries, Chronicle Books (San Francisco, CA), 1997.

(With others) The Science Explorer Out and About: Fantastic Science Experiments Your Family Can Do Anywhere!, Henry Holt (New York, NY), 1997.

(With others) The Brain Explorer (Exploratorium at Home), Owl Books (New York, NY), 1999.


Ellen Klages first ventured into professional writing when, as a proofreader working for a hands-on science museum in San Francisco, California, she began working on a series of nonfiction activity books aimed at getting children excited about science. One member of her writing team was a published science fiction author who encouraged Klages to try her hand at writing fiction. She began submitting short stories to various literary magazines, and by 2007 had more than a dozen stories published, including one ("Basement Magic") that was a 2005 Nebula Award winner. Many of Klages's published stories are in the collection Portable Childhoods, published in 2007. The book's selections were described variously as "haunting," "great frothy fun," "pure joy," and "just plain funny" by Green Man Review contributor Faith J. Cormier.

Klages's first novel, The Green Glass Sea, began as a short story of the same title. It takes place during the 1940s at Los Alamos, New Mexico, birthplace of the atomic bomb. Two preteen girls—one a geeky outsider fascinated by inventions, the other nicknamed the "Truck" by classmates she is desperate to impress—live at the compound with their scientist parents. The girls are drawn together through personal tragedy, as the once-theoretical weapon of mass destruction becomes a reality. Roger Sutton described the novel in a review for Horn Book Magazine as "an intense but accessible page-turner" in which "history and story are drawn together with confidence." School Library Journal reviewer Steven Engelfried wrote: "Clear prose brings readers right into the unusual atmosphere of the secretive scientific community." John Green, a Booklist contributor, maintained that Klages's "characters are exceptionally well drawn, and the compelling, unusual setting makes a great tie-in for history classes." "You'd never know this was a first novel from reading it," commented Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction reviewer Charles De Lint. He added: "Klages writes with a simple assurance, vividly bringing to life the world of the forties."



Booklist, November 15, 2006, John Green, review of The Green Glass Sea, p. 61.

Horn Book Magazine, November-December, 2006, Roger Sutton, review of The Green Glass Sea, p. 716.

Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, January 1, 2007, Charles De Lint, review of The Green Glass Sea, p. 39.

School Library Journal, November, 2006, Steven Engelfried, review of The Green Glass Sea, p. 138.


Ellen Klages Home Page,http://www.ellenklages.com (April 19, 2007).

Green Man Review,http://www.greenmanreview.com/ (April 19, 2007), Faith J. Cormier, review of Portable Childhoods.