Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

Month: February 2024


The Warm Hands of Ghosts: A captivating story

The Warm Hands of Ghosts by Katherine Arden

I was a big fan of Katherine Arden’s WINTERNIGHT TRILOGY and ended my review of that series by saying I was greatly looking forward to seeing what she did next. Well, what’s next is The Warm Hands of Ghosts (2024), a standalone historical novel set in the horrors of WWI that happily mostly maintains the high bar of quality Arden set with that earlier trilogy, though I had a few issues with some elements.

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WWWednesday: February 28, 2024

I picked this site because they included Comeuppance Served Cold on one of their “favorite” lists, but the whole place looks pretty fun.

Uncanny Magazine, Issue 57, is available on March 5.

The Crime Writers Association announces its 2024 winners.

Victoria Strauss discusses productive ways to change your mindset when thinking about agent/writing scams. (Thanks to File 770.)

The U.K. Guardian has an obituary for Canadian actor Kenneth Mitchell,

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The Butcher of the Forest: Unsettling, bittersweet, and worthy

The Butcher of the Forest by Premee Mohamed

The Butcher of the Forest (2024) is a dark fantastical novella by Premee Mohamed that hearkens back to the original old folktales by refusing to sand off the edges of the genre to make it safe or cozy. More faerie than fairy, as much horror as fantasy, it is as unsettling and bittersweet a read as it is a worthy one.

The tale is set in an empire ruled by The Tyrant, “the man with a thousand names and a thousand cities under his bootheel … bringer of death,

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The Tainted Cup: Two wonderful new detectives take the stage

The Tainted Cup by Robert Jackson Bennett

With 2024’s The Tainted Cup, Robert Jackson Bennett introduces us to another beautiful, strange world, gives us a murder mystery, and brings on stage an engaging duo of detectives, against a backdrop of gargantuan creatures and weird botanical science. The first book of THE SHADOW OF THE LEVIATHAN is a satisfying mystery that leaves plenty of bigger questions unanswered, and I want the next book. Now.

Dinios Kol is a member of the Iudex,

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Sentinels From Space: 1953… The Year Of The Mutant

Sentinels From Space by Eric Frank Russell

In the science fiction novel of 1953, mutants and their various abilities – especially telepathic – were apparently all the rage. Alfred Bester’s The Demolished Man, the first novel to win the Hugo Award, showed us how difficult a proposition murder could be in a society of mind readers. In Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore’s Mutant, the “Baldies” referred to in the title had to learn how to live among a society that feared and despised them.

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WWWednesday: February 21, 2024

The saga of the Hugos continues, and now there is documentation of obvious manipulation by the committee. Chris M. Barkley and Jason Sanford published this article which details most of the problems with the ballot process. They lay most of the blame on Dave McCarty, who has said publicly that he believes he did the right thing. Diane Lacey published a statement of apology when the article came out. Kat Jones released this statement. Glasgow WorldCon  has released Kat Jones from all her assignments.

NBC interviewed Paul Weimer about the fracas.

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Utterly Dark and the Face of the Deep: A great start to a brand-new trilogy

Utterly Dark and the Face of the Deep by Philip Reeve

Philip Reeve has been one of my favourite authors for a while now, even though most of his stories are slightly outside my preferred genres. I loved Railhead, which was science-fiction, and Mortal Engines, which was dystopian – so imagine the weird squeaky noise of excitement I made on discovering that his latest book was not only in my genre wheelhouse (fantasy, of course) but which bore the captivating title of Utterly Dark and the Face of the Deep (2021).

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Starter Villain: You’ll want to get your cat a keyboard

Starter Villain by John Scalzi

“It’s easier to be a villain than a pub owner, I’ll tell you that much.”

I think most people know the plot of John Scalzi’s 2023 novel, Starter Villain. Our protagonist, Charlie, is divorced. He’s been downsized out of his job as a business journalist, and is eking out a living as a substitute math teacher. When the story opens, his best or only friend is his cat Hera. Then Charlie learns that his enigmatic Uncle Jake,

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Convergence Problems: A strong collection

Convergence Problems by Wole Talabi

Convergence Problems by Wole Talabi is a collection of sixteen science fiction stories by the author of Shigidi and the Brass Head of Obalufon (one of my most pleasurable reads lately). As with any story collection, Convergence Problems varies in impact of each individual piece, but if I wasn’t blown away by any of the tales save one, the collection as a whole is nicely consistent along the 3-4 scale,

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In Utero: Exploring in an abandoned mall

In Utero by Chris Gooch (writer and artist)

Top Shelf recently published Australian Chris Gooch’s In Utero, a surprising coming-of-age graphic novel. The book starts with a preliminary event, twelve years before the main story begins: A mysterious explosion, right in the middle of the city, devastates a large section of the downtown area. In the twelve years that have passed, though the hole in the earth remains visible, roads have been built over it. Some businesses surrounding it, however, seem to be left in disrepair. The rest of the city’s population continues on as if nothing has happened.

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Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

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February 2024