Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

Month: December 2023


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Bezill: “Let’s Talk About Sex…”

Bezill by John Symonds

And so, I have just come to the end of a lot of nine novels from the remarkable publisher known as Valancourt Books. And what an ennead they were! In chronological order: Ernest G. Henham’s Tenebrae (1898), a tale of fratricide, guilt, madness … and giant spiders; R.C. Ashby’s He Arrived at Dusk (1933), which tells of the ghost of a Roman centurion haunting modern-day Northumberland; G.S. Marlowe’s I Am Your Brother (1935),


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A Marvelous Light: An Edwardian fantasy mystery with a Dorothy Sayers vibe

A Marvelous Light by Freya Marske

What struck me first about A Marvelous Light, (2022), Book One of Freya Marske’s THE LAST BINDING trilogy, was the style and narrative tone. Set in an alternate world in the last decade of the 19th century, A Marvelous Light could have featured Dorothy Sayers’s aristocratic detective Lord Peter Wimsey, if Wimsey were a magician and had sex with men. The descriptions and the dialogue sparkle, and the book seems inhabited with real (if, in many cases,


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The Master of the Macabre: A generously stuffed cornucopia of a book

The Master of the Macabre by Russell Thorndike

Ever since I was a wee lad, I’ve been a fan of the type of motion picture known as the “anthology-horror film.”  It was 1965’s Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors that first pulled me in back then, a product of the British studio Amicus, which would go on to deliver six more similar films over the next nine years. Oh … for those of you wondering what I mean by an “anthology-horror film,” simply stated, it is a type of picture with one overarching story line and numerous stand-alone side stories included.


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Memory Reborn: We weren’t expecting a love story

Memory Reborn by David Walton

2023’s Memory Reborn is the third book in David Walton’s LIVING MEMORY series, which started with Living Memory and introduced us to individuals from an advanced society living during the Cretaceous Period, and who happened to be dinosaurs (maniraptors to be precise). Reading Memory Reborn, we were both eager to see how Walton resolved the many, increasingly complex problems the modern-day characters, both human and dinosaur, faced. Neither of us expected the love story to be the plot line that grabbed us the hardest.


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Spark of Destiny: It’s a treat to read some old-fashioned steampunk

Spark of Destiny by Gail Z. Martin & Larry N. Martin

Steampunk as a fiction genre has nearly disappeared. It’s become much more of a fashion or costume statement; or subsumed completely into alternate history. I understand the reasons; and expect the various sub-genres to ebb and flow like everything else. It was still a nice treat to read 2023’s Spark of Destiny by Gail Z. Martin and Larry N. Martin, a genuine steampunk adventure.

Here’s an incomplete list of what I expect in steampunk:

  • alternate European or North American history (or other locations—this is just what I mostly see);

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WWWednesday: December 20, 2023

File 770 reports that Galaxy Magazine will be relaunched by Starship Sloane Publishing.

The year has flown and we are already to the “Best of…” season. Here’s the Guardian’s take on the best fiction in the speculative genres for 2023. (Sorry about the pledge break in the middle—I don’t think it’s a paywall.)

Investing Magazine… (Yes, I do know how weird that is!)… has an article about famous, and expensive, movie cars. A couple of these go for under $100,000! A virtual steal!


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We Are the Crisis: Impressive but not immersive

We Are the Crisis by Cadwell Turnbull

As I was thinking how to start this review of Cadwell Turnbull’s We Are the Crisis, planning on noting how it slots into the category of “one of those books I admired but didn’t fully fall into,” I thought I’d refresh my memory of my thoughts on its predecessor, No Gods, No Monsters. And darn if I didn’t open that review with “the book had me admiring it more than enjoying it.” So I guess we’re both pretty consistent,


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Where the Body Was: A re-readable murder mystery about the passing of time

Where the Body Was by Ed Brubaker (writer), Sean Phillips (artist), and Jacob Phillips (colorist)

Ed Brubaker’s new graphic novel Where the Body Was with Sean Phillips is another excellent work of crime fiction. These two creators, with Jacob Phillips on colors, turn out the most amazing stories, and this one is no exception. Where the Body Was is a little different from some of the more noir books that they have put out over the years. This graphic novel is ostensibly about a body that is found by a young girl as she skates around the neighborhood.


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Bookshops & Bonedust: A fun, engaging prequel

Bookshops & Bonedust by Travis Baldree

2023’s Bookshops & Bonedust, by Travis Baldree, is not a sequel to last year’s Legends & Lattes, but a prequel, introducing us to a much younger version of the orc mercenary Viv. Pursing the necromancer Varine the Pale with her band of hired soldiers, Viv is seriously wounded. The gang leaves her to recuperate in the tiny coastal town of Murk. They promise to pick her up on their return home, but Viv chafes at the thought of them fighting without her.


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Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

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