Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

Month: April 2024


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The Book That Broke the World: Enjoyable throughout its entire length

The Book That Broke the World by Mark Lawrence

It’s funny that as I was reading Mark Lawrence’s The Book That Broke the World (2024), I kept thinking how it was much more action/plot oriented than its predecessor, The Book That Wouldn’t Burn, which in my head I recalled as far more character and theme-driven. Then, in preparation for writing this review, I went back and read my review of book one and saw that I’d noted how the action “quickens at a relentlessly breathless rate.” So maybe it’s a balance thing?


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Giants In The Dust: Oliver shines in his final sci-fi novel

Giants In The Dust by Chad Oliver

At this late date, the authors who have penned works in the fields of science fiction and fantasy must number well into the multiple thousands, but the ones with an actual background in science, who have used their education and scientific training to both inform and add veracity to their stories … ah, they are indeed amongst a much more limited crew. Let’s see … Isaac Asimov was, of course, an associate professor of biochemistry. Hal Clement had degrees in both chemistry and astronomy,


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Witch Hat Atelier: Volumes 1-3 (An Oxford College Student Review!)

In this column, I feature comic book reviews written by my students at Oxford College of Emory University. Oxford College is a small liberal arts school just outside of Atlanta, Georgia. I challenge students to read and interpret comics because I believe sequential art and visual literacy are essential parts of education at any level (see my Manifesto!). I post the best of my students’ reviews in this column. Today, I am proud to present a review by Mandy Sun.

Mandy Sun is a first-year student at Emory Oxford University and is considering majoring in Computer Science.


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Utterly Dark and the Heart of the Wild: A fantastic middle book in a captivating trilogy

Utterly Dark and the Heart of the Wild by Philip Reeve

In his review for Skye McKenna’s Hedgewitch, Reeve said: “there are only two sorts of fantasy story: the ones that feel fake and the ones that feel real. It’s hard to explain the difference but you know the real ones when you read them.”

I know exactly what he’s talking about, because he writes the real ones too. His depiction of Faerie – that ancient place where all the fairy tales come from – captures its mystery and danger and uncanny beauty as it also exists in books like Neil Gaiman’s Stardust and Lord Dunsany’s The King of Elfland’s Daughter and Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell,


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Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries: A roller-coaster of a romantic romp

Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett

The first book in the EMILY WILDE series is a lively, lovely romp through an alternate Europe, with faeries, magic, lost kingdoms, irascible scholars and their irritating colleagues. Though completely different in tone and subject matter, Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries (2023), by Heather Fawcett, reminded me a bit of Marie Brennan’s LADY TRENT series. Both series feature a woman scientist and a story transmitted via reports or journal entries. There the similarities end,


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WWWednesday: April 24, 2024

Primary endosymbiosis is rare, but it’s happening right now with an algae and a cyanobacterium, which are merging to form an organelle that can fix nitrogen directly from the air.

Among other events, BaltiCon will feature an SFF-themed short film festival. (Thanks to File 770.)

Fallout has been renewed for another season on Amazon.

Nerds of a Feather interview Cheryl Ntumy about Mothersound, a science-fantasy anthology based on African folklore, and the Sauutiverse collective.

Reactor offers an excerpt of James Logan’s new epic fantasy novel The Silverblood Promise.


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Someone You Can Build a Nest In: Can a monster and a monster hunter find love?

Someone You Can Build a Nest In by John Wiswell

Relationships are hard. They may be even harder when one person’s definition of love is implanting their eggs in the beloved, so that the hatchlings eat their way out of their parent. For Shesheshen, the protagonist of John Wiswell’s Someone You Can Build a Nest In (2024), this is how her species defines it. Now that she’s fallen in love with Homily, a human woman, the egg-implantation issue isn’t the only obstacle on their road to happiness.

Shesheshen is a protoplasmic creature,


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The Flying Eyes: Congeal, heal and repeal

The Flying Eyes by J. Hunter Holly

It sports one of the most famous covers in sci-fi paperback history; a piece of art so iconic that I have seen it reproduced in the form of refrigerator magnets! I am referring here to the first edition of J. Hunter Holly’s The Flying Eyes, the cover of which depicts a man and a woman fleeing in abject terror from the onslaught of several dozen – you guessed it – self-propelled, levitating eyeballs!


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WWWednesday: April 17, 2024

The Tolkien Awards were announced on Saturday, April 13.

The Writers Guild announced their awards as well, and there are some genre-related winners here.

Here’s a fun article on an amateur, non-profit Doctor Who film being filmed in Wales (because where else?) (Thanks to File770.)

Molly Templeton asks the question; “Can a Book Really Be for Everyone?” and proceeds to answer it. I’m not sure I completely agree, but it’s a great essay.

I’m not disappointed in this article,


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City of Bones: A revised edition of Wells’s first novel

City of Bones by Martha Wells

Tordotcom Books has reissued Martha Wells’s 1995 fantasy novel City of Bones, updated and expanded. In an interview, Wells explained that she took a few opportunities to make the writing better but didn’t change the book substantially for this edition.

I knew who Martha Wells was, but until the MURDERBOT series I hadn’t read anything by her. This is the second fantasy novel of hers I have read. City of Bones is a pleasing read,


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Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

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