Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

Month: May 2024


Alien Earths: The New Science of Planet Hunting in the Cosmos

Alien Earths: The New Science of Planet Hunting in the Cosmos by Lisa Kaltenegger

Alien Earths: The New Science of Planet Hunting in the Cosmos, by Lisa Kaltenegger is at times a fascinating book, is at times an inspiring book, is often an informative book, but also, unfortunately, is often a frustrating book. Or at least it was for me. It’s a worthy read, but one that feels like it could have been much more.

Kaltenegger is director of the Carl Sagan Institute to Search for Life in the Cosmos at Cornell University and as such is one of the best candidates for writing a book on exoplanets (those planets outside our own solar system),

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I’m Afraid You’ve Got Dragons: Quintessential Beagle

I’m Afraid You’ve Got Dragons by Peter S. Beagle

2023 was a good year for Peter Beagle fans (and who isn’t a Beagle fan?), with the publication of two retrospective short story collections — The Essential Peter S. Beagle Volumes I and II — and another book (The Way Home) combining two novellas, one a reprint and the other brand new. And now, just as the afterglow of all that may be starting to fade, 2024 says “hold my mead,” offering up a new novel,

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WWWednesday: Lost Season Two, by the Book

In Season 2 of Lost, the showrunners  hit both the zenith and nadir of characterization, with Ben Linus (Michael Emerson) and Ana Lucia Cortez (Michelle Rodriguez.) They succumbed to the Epic Fail technique of “fridging.” Pop-star character Charlie wrestled with addiction, as Locke did with faith. And as in Season One, lots of people run through the jungle. With Season 2, the show added the dramatic innovation, “running and falling down in the jungle.”

Starting in September, 2005, Season 2 led us through 24 episodes. Storylines include:

the Hatch

the Tail Section Survivors

Walt’s abduction

The Others

Courtesy of Lostpedia,

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A House Like an Accordion: Not recommended

A House Like an Accordion by Audrey Burges 

A House Like an Accordion (2024) by Audrey Burges has an absolutely fantastic opening line: “I was brushing my teeth when my hand disappeared.” Talk about a hook. What is going on here? The author had me at the start. Unfortunately, the promise of that opening line was never realized and thanks to a number of issues, the novel ended up being one I had to push myself to finish and thus can’t recommend.

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Lone Women: The past is complicated

Lone Women by Victor LaValle

Victor LaValle’s Lone Women (2023) is brilliant. It’s about connections, family, secrets, guilt and love. Yes, there is a monster in it. Yes, it is suspenseful, and yes, it is gory, and those are both horror trademarks, but Lone Women is filled with hidden history and restored triumphs. Is it horror? That depends on your definition of “monster.”

In 1915, Adelaide Henry flees her family farm in Lucerne Valley, California. She leaves behind a burning farmhouse and her two dead parents;

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Berserk (Volume 1) by Kentaro Miura (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 Adra Curington.

Adra Curington is a first-year student at Emory Oxford College majoring in philosophy.

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Bird Box: Whatever you do, don’t look

Bird Box by Josh Malerman 

Bird Box, published in 2014, was Josh Malerman’s first novel. Malerman came out of the music scene, breaking into fiction with this moody story of psychological horror. A woman and two four-year-olds take a journey down river, blindfolded, in a world where what you see can literally kill you.

In the opening sentences, Malorie decides that today’s the day. The big house is dark, every window and door covered. Even a trip out to the well,

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WWWednesday: May 22, 2024

If you’re a WorldCon member, you know the Hugo Voting Packets are available.

Fiction magazine Small Wonders has initiated a Kickstarter to fund its second year.

ReactorMag reports that Sandman has now cast the rest of the Endless (the siblings of Dream) including Destruction.

They also review the latest Doctor Who episode.

Here’s a fun article about Season 2 of House of the Dragon.

Atlas Obscura shares an interesting article about the Maya and their use of mirrors.

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Wicked Problems: Save the world, or fix the world?

Reposting to include Bill’s new review.

Wicked Problems by Max Gladstone

Save the world, or fix the world? Can we do either? These questions underlie the second book in Max Gladstone’s CRAFT WARS series, Wicked Problems. Other things are happening in this 2024 installment, too, and the ending, while anticipated, is a gamechanger for everyone involved.

In Book One, Dead Country, Craftswoman Tara Abernathy took on a student, the orphaned and traumatized Dawn.

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Other Worlds of Clifford Simak: From zebra charms to walking vines

Other Worlds of Clifford Simak by Clifford D. Simak

Other Worlds of Clifford Simak is the companion volume to the 1961 Avon paperback The Worlds of Clifford Simak, a collection that had recently impressed me very favorably. As I mentioned in my review of that earlier volume, The Worlds of Clifford Simak was originally released as a Simon & Schuster hardcover in 1960; a rather generous-sized, 378-page affair containing a dozen of the future Grand Master’s stories.

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Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

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May 2024