Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

Author: João Eira


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The Just City: Plato’s Republic in Atlantis, with Greek gods and robots

The Just City by Jo Walton

When you’re Apollo, son of Zeus, and a nymph prefers to turn herself into a tree rather than have sex with you, you know it’s time to think seriously about the life you’re leading.

After asking his sister Athena why the nymph Daphne didn’t want to have sex with him, a notion that perplexes him initially (for, as a god, Apollo isn’t used to people not wanting to have sex with him) he decides to reincarnate in the body of a newborn child to become a part of Athena’s latest experiment: An actualized version of Plato’s Republic run by people from all human eras who have dreamed of living in Plato’s creation,


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Defenders: It will make you think long after you’ve read it

Defenders by Will McIntosh

How do you fight an enemy that can read your every thought, and another that has been designed and bred for war? In 2029, according to Will McIntosh’s novel Defenders, that’s the most impending question humanity needs to answer if it wants to survive.

Having achieved critical acclaim in 2013 with Love Minus Eighty, McIntosh’s newest novel is a fast-paced and visceral exploration of morality and war. Earth has been invaded by the Luyten,


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Ender’s Game Alive: A new way to experience Ender’s Game

Ender’s Game Alive by Orson Scott Card

This review assumes you have read Ender’s Game, or are familiar with it, so it may contain some spoilers for Ender’s Game.

Before becoming one of the of most accomplished science fiction authors of his generation, Orson Scott Card worked as a writer of full-length plays for BYU, where he studied. He also wrote audioplays on LDS Church history. It follows from his experience then, that when Orson Scott Card set his sights on adapting his hit novel Ender’s Game into Ender’s Game Alive,


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The Three-Body Problem: Imaginative SF with a mind melting problem

The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu

When Cixin Liu opens his novel The Three-Body Problem during the abject years of China’s Cultural Revolution, you realize just how much of Chinese history and myth is already deep into speculative territory for most of us.

The teaching of quantum mechanics is forbidden, the Copenhagen interpretation that posits that external observation leads to the collapse of the quantum wave function is considered “the most brazen expression [of reactionary idealism].” When physicist Ye Zhetai continues to espouse such reactionary ideas,


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Academic Exercises: A collection of stories from an original voice

Academic Exercises by K.J. Parker

K.J. Parker is a relatively recent discovery of mine, and she (?) is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. Known for her dry cynicism, understated humor, and intriguing explorations of morality, her stories are set in a historically informed world fleshed out with Parker’s rich historical knowledge.

Collected here in her first anthology, Academic Exercises, her short fiction has so far won two World Fantasy Awards for her novellas “A Small Price to Pay for Birdsong” and “Let Maps to Others.” Included in this anthology are also three non-fiction essays on historical subjects such as siege warfare,


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Yesterday’s Kin: Tries to do more than it actually does

Yesterday’s Kin by Nancy Kress

Yesterday’s Kin, by Hugo and Nebula award winning author Nancy Kress, is a first-contact story set in a not so distant dystopian future. We follow Marianne Jenner, a geneticist who is celebrating a recent career breakthrough — the discovery that all human beings are descended from a common female ancestor — when she is unexpectedly called to a meeting set up by the secretive aliens that have landed recently in New York Harbor. Not understanding why, of all people, the aliens have asked her to be part of the first visiting committee to speak with the aliens,


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The Godless: Starts a promising new fantasy epic

The Godless by Ben Peek

The Godless is not Ben Peek’s first published work but, as his fantasy debut, it is a new step in the Australian author’s career. The Godless is set in a fantasy world where a calamitous war between the gods has left them for dead, or dying. In the aftermath of that world-changing event, the gods’ bodies have begun leaking remnants of their powers into the world, creating new Immortals — humans with powers, feared by many.

It is on the literal back of one of these gods that the city of Mireaa,


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The Road: Haunting, impactful

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

[In our Edge of the Universe column, we review mainstream authors that incorporate elements of speculative fiction into their “literary” work. However you want to label them, we hope you’ll enjoy discussing these books with us.]

Slake-moth, Uruk-hai, or vampire, the mark of great SFF authors is often their ability to describe monsters and horrors. They say that children are desensitized to violence, but I submit that many SFF readers have become desensitized to monsters. I have read about many SFF monsters before bed,


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Night of Knives: Strong characters

Night of Knives by Ian Cameron Esslemont

Any die-hard fan of the Malazan novels by Steven Erikson should know of Ian Cameron Esslemont. For the uninitiated, Mr. Esslemont and Steven Erikson are the co-creators of the Malazan world, which was originally conceived as a role-playing game.

I am a big fan of the Malazan novels. It was in 2004 that I first heard about the series thanks to the Science Fiction Book Club, which was featuring Gardens of the Moon when it was making its U.S.


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Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

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