Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

Author: Jana Nyman


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Twelve Kings in Sharakhai: A promising beginning

Twelve Kings in Sharakhai by Bradley P. Beaulieu

Twelve Kings in Sharakhai is the first book in a new series by Bradley P. Beaulieu set in the great desert city of Sharakhai, ruled for centuries by the same dozen Kings who long ago made a pact with the gods to fend off the desert tribes and establish their power. As a novel that comes to its own semi-resolution, it’s nicely rewarding in its own self-contained way (if not without some issues), but Twelve Kings in Sharakhai,


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SHORTS: Yap, Howey, Livingston, Sullivan, Smith, Tarr

There is so much free or inexpensive short fiction available on the internet these days. Here are a few stories we read this week that we wanted you to know about. We’ll put our favorites at the top.

The Oiran’s Song” by Isabel Yap (2015, free at Uncanny Magazine)

“The Oiran’s Song” is the tale of a young man who is sold into service with a traveling group of Japanese soldiers; this is a better fate than what befell his younger brother. It’s also the tale of a young woman who entertains soldiers through various methods,


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State of Grace: Drugs, sex, and sunshine — what could go wrong?

State of Grace by Hilary Badger

State of Grace is Hilary Badger’s first Young Adult novel, and it is a doozy. If you put the Biblical concept of the Garden of Eden, Lord of the Flies, and 1984 in a blender, added teenagers with really heavy emotional baggage and a liberal sprinkling of futuristic pharmaceuticals, and turned it on, the result would be a fascinating examination of personal choice and free will (and a terrible smoothie).


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The Creeping: A YA horror novel

The Creeping by Alexandra Sirowy

What’s more frightening: a monster lurking in the shadows, kidnapping children for its dark and nefarious purposes — or a human being who does the same, terrible thing? Are there really supernatural creatures lurking at the edge of human existence, or do we just tell ourselves stories to gloss over how awful our species can be? Even worse, what if both scenarios are true? Alexandra Sirowy explores these questions in her Young Adult debut novel, The Creeping, and I would guess that what readers think about her answers will tell you a lot about themselves and the things they fear.


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Falling in Love with Hominids: A mixed bag by a gifted, playful writer

Falling in Love with Hominids by Nalo Hopkinson

Falling in Love with Hominids takes its name from a Cordwainer Smith passage. In her introduction, Nalo Hopkinson cites him as a refuge and a comfort during difficult times in her life. The anthology contains 17 stories. Several are short and probably qualify as flash fiction. Generally, Hopkinson writes the kinds of stories I like, and Falling in Love with Hominids includes fantasy, dark fantasy and outright horror, often incorporating folklore and a style of writing that evokes Jamaican oral story-telling language.


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The Mist in the Mirror: This ghost story didn’t quite live up to the hype

The Mist in the Mirror: A Ghost Story by Susan Hill

The beginning of The Mist in the Mirror is lovely, evocative of turn-of-the century London and the surrounding English countryside. I felt like Susan Hill had been there and merely transcribed her experiences:

It was early afternoon but already the light was fading and darkness drawing in. A chill wind sneaked down alleyways and passages off the river. The houses were grimy, shiny and black-roofed with rain, mean and poor and ugly, and regularly interspersed with more,


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Jana Chats with Melissa de la Cruz

Today, Melissa de la Cruz stops by Fantasy Literature to celebrate the paperback release of Vampires of Manhattan, the first book in her newest series, THE NEW BLUE BLOODS COVEN. She talks about John Milton, vampires and angels, and a martini recipe which sounds divine. And we’re giving away a copy of Vampires in Manhattan to one U.S.-based commenter!

Jana Nyman: In both your BLUE BLOODS and THE NEW BLUE BLOODS COVEN series, there are no vampires as they’re recognized throughout history — they’re actually fallen angels who spread a “Conspiracy” of misinformation to keep humans ignorant of the centuries-old war being fought right under their noses.


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The Good, the Bad, and the Smug: Daring to disturb the universe

The Good, the Bad, and the Smug by Tom Holt

The Good, the Bad, and the Smug is the fourth novel in Tom Holt’s YOUSPACE series, following in the footsteps of Doughnut, When It’s a Jar, and The Outsourcerer’s Apprentice. Like those previous books, this one can be read as a stand-alone; there were recurring characters and running jokes which were enjoyable to this first-time reader,


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The Unnoticeables: Inventive, disturbing, funny and a little sparse

The Unnoticeables by Robert Brockway

There was a lot I liked in Robert Brockway’s urban fantasy novel The Unnoticeables. Starting with the most superficial elements first, I loved this cover. Tor went ironic, giving The Unnoticeables a highly noticeable cover. It’s venom green, a mashup of gearwheel-eyed killer clowns, fractals, figure-ground images and spiky-Mohawked punks. It’s disturbing and kind of funny, thus the perfect cover for Brockways’s novel. The Unnoticeables is the first in a series.

The core idea of The Unnoticeables is inventive and scary.


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Jana Chats with Scott Hawkins

Today Scott Hawkins stops by Fantasy Literature to talk shop. We discuss writing, language, literary influences, and summer cocktails. One lucky U.S.-based commenter will win a copy of Hawkins’ debut novel, The Library at Mount Char, which I absolutely loved.

Jana Nyman: What drew you from computer sciences to writing fiction?

Scott Hawkins: It was the other way around. I more or less always wanted to be a writer, at least from the time I was twelve or so,


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Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

We have reviewed 8326 fantasy, science fiction, and horror books, audiobooks, magazines, comics, and films.

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