Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

Month: November 2023


WWWednesday: November 29, 2023

Another single topic column. This one Marion’s Own Idiosyncratic, Book-themed Gift Guide for the 2023 year-end holidays. These aren’t new releases or 2023 books—these contain some new books, some old favorites, and a few in between.

For the historian, feminist reader on your gift list:

Library of America: The Joanna Russ Compilation. This collection of three of Russ’s novels, including her best known, The Female Man, as well as the Alyx stories and three other award-winning and finalist stories, restores this intellectual, feminist writer to her place in history,

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The Truth Against the World: Dystopian, intriguing and deeply moving

The Truth Against the World by David Corbett

If you like Irish folklore and enjoyed Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, and/or The Road by Cormac McCarthy, then you owe it to yourself to read David Corbett’s 2023 novel The Truth Against the World.

Corbett comes out of the crime novel tradition, and The Truth Against the World brings elements of that, and, as always, an interesting pairing of protagonists. In this case,

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WWWednesday: November 22, 2023

This week’s column will be single-topic, and I’m including a giveaway. One commenter will get a hardcover edition of Richard Kadrey’s The Pale House Devil.

In October, 2023, the Library of America released a compilation of the works of Joanna Russ. Russ, a contemporary of Ursula LeGuin, Suzy McKee Charnas, Samuel Delaney, Marta Randall, Kate Wilhelm, Damon Knight and other New Wave writers, was a vocal feminist who brought literary values to her work—even her sword and sorcery stories (a genre she loved).

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Fenris and Mott: A middle-grade book about Ragnarok and keeping your word

Fenris and Mott by Greg Van Eekhout

Fenris and Mott is Greg Van Eekhout’s charming middle grade fantasy-adventure, published in 2022. Mott—short for Martha—is a Pennsylvanian recently uprooted and transplanted to southern California, and Fenris is… well, Fenris is the wolf from Norse mythology, destined to eat the moon and usher in endless winter, endless darkness, and the age of the sword.

Mott is no stranger to broken promises, and when the book opens, she has come off a long string of them. Her absentee father is famous for making promises he doesn’t keep.

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Mind MGMT: A work of genius, a masterpiece

Mind MGMT Omnibus Editions Parts 1-3 by Matt Kindt (story and art)

Mind MGMT by Matt Kindt is simply one of the best comic book series ever created in my opinion. It takes some commitment to read since it is thirty-six issues long, collected in three omnibus editions with twelve issues making up each part. However, the time spent is worth it. Originally published monthly from 2012 to 2015, Mind MGMT is in the crime fiction genre, specifically the spy subgenre,

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The Hand of Kornelius Voyt: Unclassifiable but most impressive

The Hand of Kornelius Voyt by Oliver Onions

It was English author Mike Ashley, writing in Newman & Jones’ excellent overview volume Horror: 100 Best Books, who first introduced me to the remarkable collection Widdershins, from 1911. While enthusing about the eight splendidly spooky stories therein, and in particular “The Beckoning Fair One,” one of the greatest ghost stories in the English language, Ashley told his audience that in them “we find a portrayal of madness that leaves the reader uncomfortably unsure about the state of reality and sanity.” Indeed,

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WWWednesday: November 16, 2023

Moms for Liberty did not prevail in most of their plans to take over school boards. Most of their 130 candidates across the nation were soundly rejected by local voters, but 50 did win. The group, founded originally to protest Covid-19 responses in schools, has now broadened their platform to an anti-history and pro-discrimination stance.

A pod of orcas sank a yacht in the Strait of Gibraltar earlier this week. (I didn’t know that over the last three years they have sunk two others, making this their third. I’m also not sure if this is one pod or several.)

I try to cover awards here,

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The Pale House Devil: A must for Kadrey completists

The Pale House Devil by Richard Kadrey

The demon who inhabits Pale House in Richard Kadrey’s 2023 novella The Pale House Devil is the star of the show for me. Part of this short, fairly fast-paced story is centered in its point of view, and it is one fascinating, confounding creature. It also has a habit of eating people, so… that’s bad.

In this short outing, Kadrey introduces us to Ford and Neuland, paranormal mercenaries. Ford seems to be a more or less regular human with skills in magic,

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Heaven’s River: An entertaining Bobiverse story

Heaven’s River by Dennis E. Taylor

Heaven’s River (2021) is the fourth book in Dennis E. Taylor’s amusing and intelligent BOBIVERSE series. You’ll first want to read the previous three books, We Are Legion (We Are Bob), For We Are Many, and All These Worlds, or you’ll be lost. This review will contain mild spoilers for the previous books.

By this point in the Bobiverse timeline,

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Widdershins: An outstanding collection of spooky stories

Widdershins by Oliver Onions

I originally picked up this hard-to-find book after reading of it in Newman & Jones’ excellent overview volume, Horror: The 100 Best Books. Widdershins is a collection of Oliver Onions‘ short stories, and was first published in 1911. Onions was supposedly a meticulous writer, writing and rewriting and rerewriting, changing words repeatedly until he felt that things were just right. And his attention to detail does indeed show. All the stories in this volume are impeccably written,

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Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

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November 2023