Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

Author: Alix E. Harrow


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Memory: Why Bujold is secretly revolutionary

Memory by Lois McMaster Bujold

My copy of Memory looks like it was reread several dozen times and then shoved in the bottom of a backpack and schlepped a few hundred thousand miles (it was). It’s my favorite book in Lois McMaster Bujold’s VORKOSIGAN SAGA, which is a series made up of some of my favorite books. But it isn’t high literature or uber-intellectual science fiction or the kind of book that people call “genre bending.” The plot is pure, fast-paced, crime-solving fun, like the rest of the series.


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Dreamer’s Pool: The perilous business of being female in fantasy

Dreamer’s Pool by Juliet Marillier

Those who have read Juliet Marillier before know the drill: She produces exceptionally readable and endearing fantasy set in the medieval and ancient British Isles, revolving around women, myths, and magic. I adored Daughter of the Forest for its loving recreation of my absolute favorite fairy tale as a kid (the Six Swans).[1] The other SEVENWATERS books went by in a blur of kings and curses because I was on vacation and had to get through the entire series before my Mom left with her duffle bag of paperbacks.


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Steles of the Sky: As it was in the Beginning

Steles of the Sky by Elizabeth Bear

First, a confession: I’ve mostly given up on epic fantasy as a genre. I keep circling back to it because I remember the sense of soaring escape it gave me in eighth grade, but the story about intrepid heroes banding together to save the world from evil has long since lost its shine for me. The series I’ve slogged through recently — including the Hugo-nominated one, which rhymes with Peel of Lime — would only be useful to me if I needed to prop open a door on a breezy day,


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Shattered Pillars: Still fantastic

Shattered Pillars by Elizabeth Bear

Elizabeth Bear’s entire ETERNAL SKY trilogy is now sitting in a neat row on my bookshelf. I adored the first book and consumed the second one so quickly it went by in a blur of semi-divine horses and cool but unpronounceable names. Before I read Steles of the Sky (released on April 10th), it’s worth pausing to reconsider the middle book in what might be one of my favorite fantasy series in recent years.

In Shattered Pillars,


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GIVEAWAY! The Eternal Sky trilogy by Elizabeth Bear

Thanks to our friends at Tor, we’ve got a great giveaway offer today: All three novels in Elizabeth Bear‘s ETERNAL SKY trilogy!

After reading the first book, Range of Ghosts, our friend Stefan saidRange of Ghosts by Elizabeth Bear is the best fantasy novel I’ve read all year, and you should read it too.”

I read it a few months ago and remarked that “Range of Ghosts is what I always want high fantasy to be,


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WWWednesday: April 2, 2014

Lists and Awards

I’ve only got one award on this week’s menu: the Hans Christian Andersen award for children’s fiction, which Wiki tells me is the “Nobel prize” of kid’s books. Thanks, crowdsourced reference work.

To make up for the lack of awards, I can provide a veritable cornucopia of reading lists. First, here’s Buzzfeed’s recommendations for new books based on the series you loved as a kid. This is a fantastic idea, except that I loved Harry Potter but found Lev Grossman’s The Magicians to be about as self-consciously clever and narcissistic as a teenager’s diary entry (although I’m in the minority).


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WWWednesday: March 26, 2014

Lists and Awards

I’m list-lite this week, so here are Buzzfeed’s reasons that 2014 may be the best year for fantasy books in a long time. These aren’t necessarily my reasons that 2014 will be good for fantasy, because men-posing-with-medieval-weapons just isn’t my genre, but hey.

Articles and Such

And now for all the miscellany I could find! First, from Ryan, here’s a good Atlantic article asking why every YA action heroine has to be so tiny and fragile. Speaking as a girl who spent her middle school years hulking through the halls and reading YA fantasy about bird-boned girls who have mighty adventures—DUDE,


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WWWednesday: March 19, 2014

Lists and Awards

Drumroll: The Clarke Award shortlist has been announced! And it includes my BFF in book form, Ancillary Justiceas well as Kameron Hurley’s The God’s War.

And now most of the SFF award world is standing around waiting with baited breath for the Hugos and Nebulas, but you can read some thoughts on the “retro-Hugos” here if you like. I didn’t know they were a thing, and now I’m not sure I understand why they’re a thing.


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WWWednesday: February 12, 2014

Lists and Awards

First, the Lambda Award nominees are up—this is a literary prize for LGBT fiction, which has had a historically friendly relationship with SFF. This year, I see that Nicola Griffith’s Hild has been nominated. Chant with me: HILD, HILD, HILD.

Next we have the Spectrum Fantastic Art Award finalists. I know almost nothing about speculative art, but I know Tor.com has a very pretty blog post of some of the finalists’ work. On the subject of art,


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Thoughtful Thursday: Fancasting for Gods

If you haven’t already heard, let me announce with great pleasure: Neil Gaiman’s American Gods and Anansi Boys are both officially being adapted as television series. Unless you’re one of the dedicated adaptation-haters—the ones that mutter angrily that Harry’s eyes are green, for the love of god, and announce to everyone that there were no elves at the Battle of Helm’s Deep—this is good news. Both these books are the kinds of action-and-witty-dialogue-filled pieces that work well on screen. Plus, Gaimain has previously refused to sell the rights to Anansi Boys because certain nameless producers wanted to whitewash his characters.


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Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

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