Eddie Munson Builds a Home for Freaks in Excerpt From STRANGER THINGS Prequel Book

Are you ready for more Eddie Munson? That’s a trick question; of course you are. But even if Stranger Things doesn’t delight fans by bringing Eddie back to life in Stranger Things 5, more Eddie is happily heading our way. Stranger Things: Flight of Icarus is a Stranger Things prequel novel all about Eddie Munson, and it lets us meet the character two years before Stranger Things 4. Because this prequel book is all Eddie all the time, it leaves space for insights into Eddie Munson’s backstory and formative experiences that we couldn’t get during the show. The novel explores Eddie’s complicated familial ties, especially his relationship with his dad, Al Munson, his complex feelings about himself and his legacy, and his struggle to survive in a town that loathes him. But crucially, this Stranger Things prequel book also spotlights the immense bravery and goodness that are the true hallmarks of Eddie Munson.

Eddie Munson prequel book Stranger Things Flight of Icarus cover, in this excerpt from the novel we learn more about Eddie's backstory and his dad.
Random House Worlds

In the below excerpt from Stranger Things: Flight of Icarus, we see Eddie imparting some crucial wisdom onto future Corroded Coffin member and current freshman Gareth. Gareth is still trying to find his place in Hellfire Club, but knows implicitly that as a “Freak,” it’s the only place he can go. As Eddie helps him build his new Dungeons & Dragons character, he really guides him toward the idea of being himself, gently pushing him to figure out who Gareth is and what he wants to be. “You don’t have to be anything.” Eddie says, “Don’t let yourself get boxed in… it’s never worth it.” And isn’t that the Eddie Munson thesis statement?

Of course, while shepherding his flock gives Eddie true joy, it’s never that simple for our favorite metalhead. Al Munson has just come back into town, and it’s clear the return of his dad spells trouble for Eddie, emotionally and otherwise. This excerpt from the Eddie Munson prequel book is just a taste of what’s to come for readers and for Eddie, and you can enjoy it in full below in both text and audio forms.

Exclusive Excerpt From Stranger Things: Flight of Icarus

Jump to: Audiobook Excerpt from Eddie Prequel Book

“The question is pretty simple, at the end of the day. Who do you wanna be?”

Gareth frowns at me across the expanse of the lab table. I’m starting to think that’s just his default expression, and I can’t really fault him for that. If I was stuck with that adorable halo of fluffy brown curls and a mouthful of chrome, I’d probably frown a lot too. “I want to be Illian.”

“Illian is fish food. Work with me here.”

“I don’t know,” Gareth snaps, stabbing his pencil into his pad of graph paper like it slapped his mother.

He’s been in a pissy mood since he walked in the door twenty minutes ago, and he hasn’t exactly sweetened since. We’re squatting in the chemistry lab with the lights off be-cause I didn’t have time to sweet- talk Mr. Vick into letting us do this on the books. It’s easy enough to jimmy the locks on these old doors, but I always hate doing it. For one thing, the odds of some nosy teacher walking by and spotting me are better than good. For another—

I need another set of hands.

For another, I’m not sure I like knowing how to do it in the first place.

I’d left Dad snoring loud enough to bring the house down, sprawled out on the sofa. He didn’t even twitch when I opened the front door, and I’d taken a moment to watch him in the early morning light, swallowing back the complicated feelings rising in my chest.

Al Munson has come crashing back into my life in more flavors than I can count. Sometimes he’s just gotten out of prison and needs a place to lie low. Sometimes he needs to borrow money from Wayne. Sometimes he’s got an honest- to- God job (“For keeps, this time.”) Those are always the shortest stays.

But he’s never come back for me. And even if it’s not like he’s trying to pay off a quality- time deficit, he came back because he wants me to work with him. He could have gone to any of his buddies, and he came to me.

I shouldn’t be happy about that, right? I definitely shouldn’t. But—

“What do you mean, you don’t know?” I ask Gareth. “You knew when you made Illian.”

Gareth is perched on one of the science department’s death- trap stools, and he keeps rocking back onto two of the legs. He’s also favoring his left arm. I haven’t called him out on either of these things yet, because I don’t want Gareth to start using me as a sparring dummy instead of his graph paper.

“Jeff made Illian,” he says. “He said, you can’t walk into Hellfire without a character, and he didn’t want to wait a billion years for me to figure out how to fill out a character sheet, so he gave me one.”

“Well, that’s . . . unhelpful.”

“Whatever.” The floating legs of Gareth’s stool slam back onto the linoleum, and he shoves to his feet. “We don’t have to—”

“Okay, first things first, freshman.” I risk life and limb and smack my hand down on his graph paper so he can’t pack it away. “I’m the DM, right?”

Gareth’s eyes are wary. “. . . Right.”

“So I’m the one running our sessions. I say when they’re over. Understand?” Gareth nods. “Good. Now sit your butt back down and let’s work this out.”

He sits his butt back down. “Thank you,” I say. “Now we’re gonna start with the basics. Dwarf, Elf, Human, Gnome— what’s calling to you?”

“Illian was a half- elf—”

“I didn’t ask what Illian was, I know what Illian was. Illian was Jeff’s. I asked what’s calling to you.”

“I . . . like dwarves,” Gareth says.

“Dwarf. Awesome. May I?” I pull the pad of paper toward me and gingerly, like disarming a gunman, pluck the pencil from Gareth’s hand. “Dwarf,” I write, and underline it twice. “The next question is what’s gonna inform your class, okay?”

“Okay,” he says, easier now.

“Alignment. What are you feeling?” He stares blankly at me, and I move yell at Jeff a few notches up my mental to-do list. “This is, like. Who you are, at the core of you. Lawful, chaotic. Good, evil. So, for example, if you’re playing a dwarf, then the rule book says you’d probably be more on the lawful end of the spectrum, though the good- versus- evil conundrum is some-thing you’d make a call on for yourself. And once you figure out what combo you prefer—l awful good, lawful evil, even lawful neutral, you’ll figure out the sort of . . . I don’t know. Moral code? You’ll be making decisions with during the game.”

There’s a line between Gareth’s brows as he takes this in. “So if I’m a dwarf, I have to be lawful—”

“You don’t have to be anything,” I say. “That’s just what’s suggested. What most people think a dwarf is. Lawful good.” Gareth’s nose wrinkles, and I laugh. “I know. Buzzkill. Now, me? I like to mix things up. Chaotic evil dwarf? Hell yeah. Don’t let yourself get boxed in by what the book says you should be, it’s never worth it. Do what you think is gonna be the most fun.”

“Chaotic,” Gareth says the second I shut my mouth, jumping in so fast that the word clips the end of my last sentence. His eyes are glowing. The kid’s got the spirit. “I wanna be chaotic. Chaotic . . . good.”

“Classic choice, dude,” I say, nodding approvingly. “Now let’s talk classes. Have you thought about playing a thief?”

Over the next hour, Hodash the Breaker is born. I can’t hold on to last night’s dark cloud as I watch Gareth roll his way through his stats and scribble down ideas for backstory. His enthusiasm is infectious, and it’s obvious to me now that Illian was never his to begin with— Gareth’s never been so invested in a Hellfire session as he is right now, bent over his graph paper and breathing life into his chaotic little dwarf rogue.

“Question, freshman,” I say, once the foundations for Ho-dash have been established and we’re shoving papers and books back into our bags, getting ready to leave.

Gareth peers at me, wary, over the top of his humongous backpack. “Yeah?”

“It’s not a pop quiz, calm down.” I sling my jacket over my shoulders, shoving my arms through the sleeves. “I’m just curious. If you never played D and D before you got to high school— never filled out a character sheet or anything— why join Hellfire?”

Gareth shifts from foot to foot. “Where else was I supposed to go?”

Reprinted from Stranger Things: Flight of Icarus by Caitlin Schneiderhan. Copyright © 2023 by Stranger Things™ / Netflix. Published by Random House Worlds, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.

Audiobook Version of This Stranger Things: Flight of Icarus Excerpt

If audiobooks are more for you, you can also enjoy our exclusive excerpt directly from Stranger Things: Flight of Icarus‘ official audiobook. Lee Osorio does a great job of taking the mantle from Joseph Quinn and bringing Eddie, Gareth, and the rest to life.

Audio excerpted courtesy Penguin Random House Audio from Stranger Things: Flight of Icarus by Caitlin Schneiderhan; Read by Lee Osorio © 2023, Caitlin Schneiderhan, ℗ Penguin Random House, LLC.

More About the Eddie Munson Stranger Things Prequel Book

Eddie Munson smiling

Stranger Things: Flight of Icarus is written by Caitlin Schneiderhan, a TV writer and novelist who has worked on Netflix’s Stranger Things series. The 272-page novel’s summary notes, “Two years before the events of Stranger Things: Season 4, Eddie Munson—Hellfire Club leader, metalhead, and Hawkins outcast—has one shot to make it big.” This Eddie Munson book’s glorious cover art is by Tracie Ching.

Stranger Things: Flight of Icarus will release on October 31. It’s fitting this book will offer us more of Eddie Munson’s backstory on Halloween. You can pre-order this Stranger Things tale in book, e-book, and audiobook forms today.

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