Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

Author: Jesse Hudson


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The Master and Margarita: An absolute feast of a book

The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

[In our Edge of the Universe column, we review books that may not be classified SFF but that incorporate elements of speculative fiction. However you want to label them, we hope you’ll enjoy discussing these books with us.]

While mid-20th century Russian propaganda wizards were twisting words to hide the truth, Mikhail Bulgakov wrote a response that proved fantasy could be used to reveal wisdom rather than confuse it.

An absolute feast of a book, The Master and Margarita serves up a delicious variety of characters and scenarios — naked witches,


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The Doors of His Face, the Lamps of His Mouth: Of interest for Zelazny fans

The Doors of His Face, the Lamps of His Mouth: And Other Stories  by Roger Zelazny

My experience with Roger Zelazny has been hit or miss, and while I consider The Doors of His Face, The Lamps of His Moutha miss, it’s not terrible. The main fault of these fifteen stories is that characterization remains uniform throughout. The same cigarette-smoking, coffee-drinking, detective noir Joe Cool hero populates the main character role of seemingly every story. Though the type is likeable, this lack of variety gets monotonous.


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Dark Moon: Pure genre fantasy

Dark Moon

In writing reviews of fantasy, everybody makes mention of those derivative books of sword and sorcery which lack imagination and either borrow exclusively from previous works (think Terry Goodkind) or possess so many archetypes that the whole book becomes cliché (think the DRAGONLANCE series). Everybody knows these cardboard Conans and Gandalfs wielding battleaxes, wands, and uttering the worst one-liners published today. But these comments about garbage fantasy are always directed to the “others” — someone else — never the work under review. Nobody wants to step on any toes.


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Lord of Light: The peak of imaginative literature

Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny

The scholar Brian Attebery in his book Strategies of Fantasy writes that works of science fantasy can be divided into two categories: the beautiful and the damned. No middle ground to be had, technology and the supernatural remain relative to the era, and combining them is disastrous to the point of comedy or successful to the point of being a mind-opening experience. Falling into the latter category, Lord of Light, unlike many of Zelazny’s other works of science fantasy,


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Glasshouse: SF to the extreme but with a social agenda

Glasshouse by Charles Stross

So chock full of the social consequences of nano-science and memory editing is Charles Stross’s Glasshouse, I’m still trying to pick myself up from the floor. In a whirl, I can’t decide whether the ideas were expressed in cohesive enough fashion to produce a book I can praise or if I’ve simply been blinded by an imaginative eruption that is worthy enough in itself of admiration. Beyond a dumb-faced sense of wonder, I’m also wondering if anyone else could have a more defined view after riding Stross’s tilt-a-whirl of futuristic possibilities…

Set at an unknown time in the far future,


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Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

We have reviewed 8298 fantasy, science fiction, and horror books, audiobooks, magazines, comics, and films.

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