Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

Month: October 2023


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A Haunting on the Hill: Do not read it after dark!

A Haunting on the Hill by Elizabeth Hand

First, a warning: If you are alone while you are reading this book, do not read it after it gets dark. I don’t care how good your motion-sensor lights, your security system and your Ring doorbell are; just don’t do it to yourself. Trust me.

2023’s A Haunting on the Hill, by master writer Elizabeth Hand, is an indirect sequel to another master writer’s classic work, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House.


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Five Horrors From The Big ‘70s

For many horror fans, the finest decade for that particular cinematic genre was the 1970s, the years when the giallo film was in its heyday, when filmmakers started to really push the limits in terms of what they could get away with, when gore and grue rose to the crimson fore, and when the horror conventions of the past seemed to give way in all directions. Writing in their essential guide Horror! 333 Films to Scare You to Death, authors James Marriott and Kim Newman write of that decade “In terms of output,


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The Renegat: Exciting but too long

The Renegat by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

The Renegat (2019) is a long, slow-moving, complicated novel in Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s DIVING series. As usual, the story jumps around in time, following multiple plots and perspectives. The characters are new to us, so readers who are unfamiliar with the DIVING universe could start here if they want to, though it’d probably be best to read the series in either publication order, or the order we’ve presented on our author page.


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Some Unusual “Frankenstein” Fare

I suppose that there is a certain aptness in the fact that I happen to be writing this little mini-introduction on August 30th. This, of course, was the date in 1797 when Mary Shelley, author of the novel Frankenstein: Or, The Modern Prometheus, was born, all of 226 years ago. Since that time, her famous novel has never been out of print, and it has spawned any number of cinematic entertainments, hardly any of them scrupulously faithful to her original vision. Ohio-born actor Charles Ogle was the first to portray the Frankenstein Monster in the initial screen adaptation in 1910,


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WWWednesday: October 11, 2023

File 770 regularly prints a column by Melanie Stormm, about a writer who is the victim of misdirected email by a wannabe writer. I haven’t been following these, but this week’s installment had me at the patent-pending “Conflict Drops,” guaranteed to add conflict to any work you’re writing.

Also from File 770, an update on Wanda Maximoff, also called the Scarlet Witch.

Over at Nerds of a Feather, the gloves are off! Joe and Adri are reading the Hugo Best Novel candidates,


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Six Schlocky Horror Excursions

Webster’s Dictionary defines the word “schlock” as something “of low quality or value,” so perhaps that is not quite the correct word to use in the title of today’s Shocktober column (or perhaps, for this day only, we should call it the “Schlocktober” column?). For while it is true that all six of the films discussed below are assuredly of low quality, that hardly means that they are of little value. Indeed, for all those cinema buffs out there who have learned to cherish and esteem the films that are “so bad, they’re good,” the half dozen items spotlighted below just might prove of inestimable value,


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Holly: King’s scariest villains

Holly by Stephen King

If you participate in Bluesky or X (formerly Twitter), you may follow the account called The Midnight Society. If you’ve run across their delightful posts, which imagine conversations among various horror writers throughout history, you might have seen a recent one which featured imaginary J.K. Rowling and Stephen King trading barbs over relative book-length. It had resonance for me because I’d just finished 2023’s Holly, and I have to admit, I was relieved when I bought it and found out it was less than 500 pages in length.


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A Larry Cohen Double Feature: Q and The Stuff

Born in July 1936 in good ol’ NYC, Larry Cohen would eventually become a triple threat as a screenwriter, producer and director for both television and film. During the 1960s, he worked as a screenwriter on any number of TV shows, even creating some of the most popular programs of that era, such as Branded and The Invaders. But it was during the early ‘70s that Cohen’s career really began to take off, with his writing, producing and directing of three blaxploitation pictures: Bone (1972), Black Caesar (1973) and Hell Up In Harlem (also from 1973).


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A Quartet Of Grisly Gialli

Jump-started by Mario Bava’s 1962 film The Evil Eye, also known as The Girl Who Knew Too Much, the cinematic genre known as the giallo would slowly gather steam as the ‘60s progressed. And by the time the early ‘70s rolled around, it had already evolved into a well-defined art form. Typified by gruesome and shocking murders usually perpetrated by a masked and/or gloved killer, catchy scores, scenic locales and, more often than not, impossibly complex story lines, the genre proved so very popular that over 150 such films were produced in that decade alone,


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Hysteria: An American amnesiac In London

Hysteria directed by Freddie Francis

As I believe I have mentioned here before, during the 1960s, Hammer Film Productions in England did not only excel at the horror, science fiction and period action movies for which it is best remembered today, but at the psychological thriller, as well. Previously, this viewer had watched and hugely enjoyed such Hammer thrillers as The Snorkel (1958), Maniac (1962) and Nightmare (1964), and so it was with great anticipation that I sat down the other day,


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Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

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