Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

Month: September 2023


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Blue Book: The story of a famous alien abduction

Blue Book (Volume One) by James Tynion IV (script), Michael Avon Oeming (art), Aditya Bidikar (letters)

Blue Book is the true-life story of Betty and Barney Hill, a couple who claimed to have had an UFO encounter in the summer of 1961. While driving late at night, the young couple encounters a space ship, and then aliens abduct them, do experiments, and return them to their car within about two hours. All of this is narrated by Tynion in his script and shown through excellent black, white, and blue art by Oeming.


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MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios: Even-handed, highly readable, always interesting, sometimes fascinating

MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios by Joanna Robinson, Dave Gonzales, Gavin Edwards

MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios, by Joanna Robinson, Dave Gonzales, Gavin Edwards is an even-handed, highly readable, always interesting, sometimes fascinating history of Marvel movie-making, starting from their early days of licensing characters to formation of their own studio, to reclaiming some of their most popular characters, to merging their TV and films under one roof to their purchase by Disney up to their most recently released films and TV shows in 2022.


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WWWednesday: September 27, 2023

For no reason at all I got curious about Soay sheep, a small breed the originated in the British Isles (Scotland?). This is a commercial site that sells them, but it still has nice information about these tiny, “thrifty” grazers.

Continuing the sheep theme, here is an article about the Welsh shearing cake, and a recipe.

WorldCon 2024 is accepting registrations.

Tor.com shares five SF stories that work “better” as audio books. Kat, take note!

Mabon or the autumnal equinox happened on September 23,


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I Am Your Brother: Half frustrating, half dazzling

I Am Your Brother by G.S. Marlowe

In the 1971 British horror film The Beast in the Cellar, two aged sisters, well played by Beryl Reid and Flora Robson, hide their homicidal maniac brother in the basement of their Lancashire home, and eventually give way to panic when said brother escapes from his confinement and goes on a murderous rampage. But, it would seem, this was not the first time that an English sibling had suffered a rough time with a monstrous brother kept hidden under domestic wraps. Thus,


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Normal Rules Don’t Apply: Stories about alternate possibilities

Normal Rules Don’t Apply by Kate Atkinson

In a number of her novels, Kate Atkinson explores the idea of alternate possibilities, playing with “what if” scenarios for various characters. Showing she doesn’t need a full novel to explore the heady concept, Atkinson returns to that theme in Normal Rules Don’t Apply, a collection of eleven loosely linked short stories.

The first, “The Void”, is a masterclass in chilling mundanity as out in the countryside an old man and his equally old dog find their daily walk shockingly interrupted by a horrific sight.


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An Inheritance of Magic: A fun opening to a new series

An Inheritance of Magic by Benedict Jacka

An Inheritance of Magic is a solid fantasy with an entirely engaging Everyman of a character who comes with an equally engaging cat. I could have done with a bit more clarity on the world the story is set in, and at times things seemed to come a little easily to the main character, but this was a generally enjoyable and interesting story, enough so that I’ll pick up the necessary sequel.

Stephen Oakwood is twenty years old and adrift in the world of London.


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Light Chaser: Can two humans put the universe right?

Light Chaser by Peter F. Hamilton & Gareth L. Powell

2021’s Light Chaser novella is a collaboration between Gareth Powell and Peter F. Hamilton. This fast-paced story actually spans centuries, featuring a functionally-immortal woman, Amahle. The sole occupant of her AI controlled lightship, Amahle, the titular Light Chaser, is one of many of her kind, who travel a “circuit” of human-occupied planets, collecting the memory collars selected families wear for generations. In return, Amahle provides carefully chosen wealth and trinkets, careful never to provide something that might allow the stable (or stagnant) societies on these worlds to make any kind of leap forward in technology or political thinking.


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WWWednesday: September 20, 2023

We all agree that the single biggest threat facing our beautiful planet is that of space aliens. Ever alert to security risks, our government has responded with a “UFO Czar,” (which is weird because I thought we were retiring the UFO acronym).

The life in our biosphere alone is constantly amazing! This beetle evolved a “fake termite” appendage which keeps it safe from termites and may even encourage them to feed it!

The British Fantasy Award winners were announced last Saturday.

Bill Willingham, creator of Fables, has now put the entire franchise into the public domain.


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He Arrived at Dusk: Roman holiday

He Arrived at Dusk by R.C. Ashby

Not for the first time, a novel resurrected by the fine folks at Valancourt Books has turned out to be one of my favorite reads of the year. Back in 2020, J. B. Priestley’s Benighted (1927), reissued by Valancourt in 2013, was one of my favorites, and just last month, Ernest G. Henham’s Tenebrae (1898), brought back to life by Valancourt in 2012, became one of my top picks for 2023.


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Uncommon Charm: Magic hijinks in 1920s Britain

Uncommon Charm by Emily Bergslien & Kat Weaver

Neon Hemlock has carved out a niche for itself in the novella/novelette market, and continues to deliver quirky, engaging stories across the subgenres. This magical, alternate history romp, Uncommon Charm (2022), is one more example.

Julia Selwyn-Stirling is the daughter of Lady Aloysia, the premiere magician in 1925 Britain. Depending on who you talk to, Lady Aloysia, who Julia calls “Muv,” is either the powerful secret weapon of the British government, or the blackmailer of that same government.


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Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

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