Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

Author: Alix E. Harrow


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Silently and Very Fast: Fairy tales for your sentient robot

Silently and Very Fast by Catherynne Valente

I read the first few chapters of this novella as an act of faith, because Valente has earned my trust as a reader, and because Silently and Very Fast has an award and nomination list longer than most people’s entire short stories (it won the Locus Award for Best Novella, and was nominated for the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy awards). So I waded through dense cyber-fairytale imagery on the assumption that it would resolve itself into a story. It did.


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Moth and Spark: Cotton candy for the fantasy soul

Moth and Spark by Anne Leonard

Moth and Spark, Anne Leonard’s debut novel, is a member of a very specific and well-populated fantasy subgenre: a classic tale of high romance, sword fighting, dragon-riding, and faux-medieval politicking. It’s more or less the Anne McCaffrey and Patricia Briggs reading of my middle school years, read and re-read with all the critical discernment of a kid shoving cotton candy down her throat at the fair. Moth and Spark was cotton candy of the most typical sort — nothing but air and spun sugar,


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WWWednesday: February 12, 2014

Lists and articles

We are experiencing a list and award drought. Book buying sales might suffer, and the quality of the Websday post might decline, but we persevere! First, here’s a single, lonely list to tide you over: The zaniest alternate histories ever published, compiled by iO9. They’ll always make a list in our hour of need.

We’re also a little lite on articles, but here’s a really juicy one from SF Signal asking the provocative question: What’s wrong with epic fantasy?


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WWWednesday: February 5th, 2014

Lists and awards

An award for every man, woman, and child! First up, the British Science Fiction Association has announced their shortlist, which includes such near-to-my-heart things as Vandermeer’s Wonderbook, Leckie’s Ancillary Justice, and Sofia Samatar’s “Selkie Stories are for Losers.” Then there’s the Quantum Shorts flash fiction competition, which has released their shortlisted stories. Locus Magazine also has their reader’s survey and poll open for voting. And Strange Horizons has the results of their poll of reader’s favorites up on their site.


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WWWednesday: January 29, 2013

Lists and awards

And to think I used to live my life blissfully unaware that bloggers and awards committees were out there busily compiling lists of excellent books.

First, the awards news: Sofia Samatar has won the Crawford Award for an outstanding first fantasy novel, A Stranger in OlondriaThe Bram Stoker Award has also publicized their preliminary ballot, which is great for non-me people who read and love horror (I don’t do horror; I watched The Sixth Sense in 5th grade and it literally haunts me to this day and yes I am aware that most people don’t even consider it a horror movie). 


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The Bread We Eat in Dreams: A mythological menagerie

The Bread We Eat in Dreams by Catherynne Valente

The Bread We Eat in Dreams contains thirty-five of Catherynne Valente’s short stories and novellas, caught out in the wild and arranged neatly for the paying public. Ranging from delicate, herbivorous poems to novella-sized megafauna, these creatures display the ecological diversity of the Phylum of the Fantastic and the continued resonance of the Kingdom of Myth. For gentlemen-scientists and enthusiastic students of all things speculative, Valente’s story-menagerie is worth the visit.

Thirty-five stories cannot be summarized in any meaningful sense,


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WWWednesday: January 22, 2014

Lists and awards

Realization: There will never be a time when I do not have lists of books that all of us want and only some of us can afford and none of us have time to read. Here’s Wilder’s Book Review’s 10 books to look forward to in 2014. Am now interested in The Incorruptibles based purely on the woodblock sexiness of the cover.

Jonathan Strahan has also recently released the table of contents for Volume 8 of The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year,


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Maze: Scary, surreal, and scattered

Maze by J.M. McDermott

J.M. McDermott’s Maze is about a maze. Or possibly the maze: An unending series of stone halls and corridors which lurks in our primordial past, populated by monstrous creatures, loops and fragments of non-linear time, and a ragged band of humans who somehow got stranded there. The maze is never revealed to have any moral or mechanical logic; it just is, and the people who live there just do. Maze operates as a disjointed series of narratives about the people who have fallen into the maze.


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WWWednesday: January 15, 2014

Lists and awards

For some reason I keep thinking lists are over, but they’re obviously still going strong and who am I to complain. Amazon’s Omnivoracious has a list of SFF books coming up in 2014, compiled by Robin A. Rothman. iO9 also has their 2014 list up, and it’s long, annotated, and arranged by month. I might just cut and paste the whole thing into my calendar. Oh, and Strange Horizons had their reviewers pick their favorite books of 2013 last Monday and I somehow missed it.


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Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

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