Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

Month: January 2024


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UnDivided: A thrilling finale

UnDivided by Neal Shusterman

With UnDivided (2014), Neal Shusterman rewards fans of his UNWIND DYSTOLOGY with a thrilling and satisfying finale. Readers will need to read the first three novels, (Unwind, UnWholly, and UnSouled) first.

The story picks up where UnSouled left off. Our heroes, Connor, Risa, Lev, Grace, and Cam are desperately trying to fight a batch of newly proposed legislation which gives the government even more power to unwind troublesome teens,


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Labyrinth’s Heart: Can Ren and Grey save a city and find a home?

Labyrinth’s Heart by M.A. Carrick

2023’s Labyrinth’s Heart is the third and final book in the ROOK AND ROSE TRILOGY by M.A. Carrick. It addresses the mysteries unfolded in the previous two books, and ushers in dramatic changes to the lives of our protagonists and the delta city of Nadežra.

This review contains spoilers for this book, The Mask of Mirrors and The Liar’s Knot.

As Book Three opens,


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Robots and the People Who Love Them: An informative and worthy read

Robots and the People Who Love Them by Eve Herold

Robots and the People Who Love Them, by Eve Herold, is a solid look at the potential impact of social robots on our lives, though more timely research and a more focused structure would have improved the book.

Herold’s focus here is not on “robots”, but on social robots, those that we will interact with regularly and often closely. Think robots in the fields of elder care, education, child care, and companion robots (both the platonic sort and the sexbot sort).


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Outside the Universe: Take that, Star Wars!

Outside the Universe by Edmond Hamilton

In my recent review of the 1965 collection Crashing Suns, I mentioned that this Ace paperback gathered together five of the tales from Edmond Hamilton’s INTERSTELLAR PATROL series – a series comprised of seven short stories and one full-length novel – and later expressed a desire to read those three other installments one day. Well, I am here to tell you now MISSION ACCOMPLISHED – at least as far as the novel is concerned.


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WWWednesday: January 24, 2024

The Japanese lunar lander made the most precise lunar landing in history. The craft was experiencing a problem with its solar panels, but the earth crew may be able to correct that.

We seemed so far out of the blast radius of any 2023 Hugo fallout (did I just mix metaphors there?) that I was shocked when the latest one(s) blew up. It might be two scandals, it might be more, it might be none. It’s hard to tell. When the 2023 Hugo nominating data was released last weekend, hours before the mandated deadline, people discovered that the nominating patterns in several categories were,


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Crucible of Chaos: With apologies, as always, to the author

Crucible of Chaos by Sebastien de Castell

Estevar hauled up on his mule as Castle Aramor came into view through the dampening fog. The mule turned back with a baleful look.

“I know, I know. Do you think I’m enjoying this foul weather any more than you are?”

The mule dipped its head and turned it slightly aslant, looking upward at Estevar, as if to note that while they both shared the same weather, only one of them had the other’s weight as additional burden. A substantial weight at that Estevar had to acknowledge.


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Lute: A wonderfully written take on folk horror

Lute by Jennifer Thorne

There are many words I could use to describe Lute by Jennifer Thorne. I could say words like “atmospheric” or “haunting.” I could also say “beautiful” or “terrifying.” Lute is a book that evokes many descriptors, but none really captures the story in its totality. The blurb from Tor Nightfire says “Wickerman meets Final Destination.” That description is about as accurate as it gets. 

Lute is an island off the coast of Scotland,


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Near Death (Volume One): A reformed assassin wrestles with his ethics

Near Death (Volume One) by Jay Faerber (writing), Simon Guglielmini (art), Ron Riley (colors), and Charles Pritchett (letters)

Near Death (Volume One) is a brilliant crime fiction story about an assassin named Markham who decides he must reform. At the beginning of the story, Markham, shot and dying, drives to his only friend’s place of work (which is also where she lives) late at night. Sutton, a veterinarian, seems to be used to sewing up Markham, but this time, she has got to save his life, because he briefly dies on her operating table.


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WWWednesday: January 17, 2024

Effective January 23, Tor.com the website will become Reactor. After Tor.com announced this, there was confusion (even confusion about whether it was tor.com or Tordotcom Publishing. I don’t see how that could have happened, she said sarcastically). Future Reactor addressed those questions.

StokerCon has added Justine Ireland and Nisi Shawl to the Guest of Honor slate in 2024. Thanks to File770.

Atlas Obscura follows the history of forgotten women astronomers at University of Chicago’s Lake Geneva- based observatory.


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UnSouled: Shusterman is a good storyteller

UnSouled by Neal Shusterman

The third book in Neal Shusterman’s YA UNWIND DYSTOLOGY is UnSouled (2013). It follows Unwind and UnWholly, and you’ll need to read those first. I almost gave up on this series because I found the premise to be so unlikely but, while Shusterman has not convinced me that many Americans would choose to have their children “unwound” (scrapped for parts, basically), he’s managed, over three books, to build an alternate history that at least has made me seriously consider the possibility and has challenged me to consider the consequences.


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Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

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