Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

Month: September 2023


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Grass: Powerful true story of Korean “comfort women” during WWII

Grass by Keum Suk Gendry-Kim (writer and artist) and Janet Hong (translator)

Trigger Warning: This review discusses harsh content, including descriptions of murder, rape, and suicidal thoughts, that are a part of Okseon Lee’s true biography.

Grass, by Keum Suk Gendry-Kim and translated by Janet Hong, is a powerful story about World War Two, and the Korean women who were taken from their homes, often as little girls, and sold into sexual slavery for Japanese soldiers. This biographical work is about Okseon Lee, who was interviewed extensively as an older woman by the author.


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WWWednesday: September 13, 2023

The official WorldCon Hugo packet left out Best Fanzine and Best Fan Author, so fans (of course) took up the cause, and have provided that information informally.

The idea of envy, of creative people and between creative people, had quite a lively discussion on Bluesky, and I think this article may have been one of the citations.

Google will require that pollical ads on their platforms must disclose the use of AI. (That’s a nice start… what about deceitful editing and photoshopping, though?)

Atlas Obscura wants to share the tradition of Costa Rican oxcarts.


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The Secrets of Insects: A retrospective of Kadrey short fiction

The Secrets of Insects by Richard Kadrey

Before he published the SANDMAN SLIM series, Richard Kadrey published short fiction in various markets. Several of those stories have been collected in his latest book, 2023’s The Secret of Insects. The earliest story in here, “Horse Latitudes,” appeared in Omni in 1992. The most recent story, “Candy Among the Jades,” is original to this collection. The Secrets of Insects is a retrospective of Kadrey’s short fiction.

I’ll provide the Table of Contents,


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The City Inside: An exquisite, complicated puzzle

The City Inside by Samit Basu

For the first 22 pages of Samit Basu’s The City Inside (2022), I didn’t have a freakin’ clue what was going on. I followed Joey (Bijoyini) Roy around her parents’ house, as she interacted with her intrusive “wellness system”—think very needy FitBit on steroids—as she talked to her parents about the Years that Can’t Be Discussed, as she dodged her performative adolescent brother, who was constantly auditioning for a place in the Flow. I understood vaguely that social media was a big thing,


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Tenebrae: “It’s so nice and glooooomy”

Tenebrae by Ernest G. Henham

A number of literary works from some of my favorite authors are celebrating their quasquicentennial, or 125th anniversary, this year. Released in 1898 were H. G. WellsThe War of the Worlds, Henry James’ novella “The Turn of the Screw,” Jules Verne’s The Mighty Orinoco, and H. Rider Haggard’s Doctor Therne. Those first two titles,


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Where Peace is Lost: Enjoyable, with missed opportunities

Where Peace is Lost by Valerie Valdes

Where Peace is Lost by Valerie Valdes moves along smoothly and quickly, is peopled by engaging characters, and nods toward some serious themes of ethics, violence, and colonialism. I mostly enjoyed this fast read, though found myself wishing its themes were delved into more deeply.

The novel is set in a universe where the Pale Empire has been conquering/colonizing other planets or planetary systems/alliances. Some years back, one of their stiffest foes, whose military and altruistic institutions were known as “Orders”,


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Thoughtful Thursday: What’s the best book you read last month?

It’s the first Thursday of the month. Time to report!

What’s the best book you read in August 2023 and why did you love it? 

It doesn’t have to be a newly published book, or even SFF, or even fiction. We just want to share some great reading material.

Feel free to post a full review of the book here, or a link to the review on your blog, or just write a few sentences about why you thought it was awesome.

And don’t forget that we always have plenty more reading recommendations on our 5-Star SFF page.


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WWWednesday: September 6, 2023

This week in 1947, a children’s book called Goodnight, Moon was published. You may have heard of it.

100% of the profits from To Ukraine, With Love will be donated to Ukrainian charities to help people recovering from the Russian invasion. Thanks to File770 for this link.

This newly discovered comet may become visible to the unaided human eye in mid-September.

Nerds of a Feather reviews the fourth of the TALES FROM THE RIVERLANDS novellas by Nghi Vo, Mammoths at the Gates.


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The Library of Broken Worlds: My first Hugo nomination of the year

The Library of Broken Worlds by Alaya Dawn Johnson

With Alaya Dawn Johnson’s The Library of Broken Worlds, I found my first Hugo nomination for next year. Mind you, this is a year where I’ve read many good-to-great books. The Library of Broken Worlds is not only a brilliant story beautifully written, it is truly original in its conception and execution, by a writer who is a master of words.

Set a few hundred years in the future, the story is told by our narrator and main character,


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Circumference of the World: I like it

Circumference of the World by Lavie Tidhar

Once upon a time in the ancient era when childhood was about to bleed into pre-adolescence, we used to question if someone “liked” another person or “liked liked” them, our eyes wide in anticipation of the stressed or unstressed response. For the past half-dozen or so novels I’ve read by Lavie Tidhar, the reply each time was a no-brainer: a breathy, intense, “I like like.” With his newest, Circumference of the World,


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Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

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    Maybe in the next couple months I'll get the DVDs of the two "Dune" SyFy productions from 2000 and 2003.…

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