Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

Author: Kate Lechler


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WWWednesday: June 18, 2014

On this day in 1178, five monks in Canterbury were observing the moon and saw “the upper horn split in two.” As they describe it, “A flaming torch sprang up . . . the body of the Moon which was below writhed . . . throbbed like a wounded snake . . . after these transformations, the Moon from horn to horn, that is along its whole length, took on a blackish appearance.”

Only in 1976 did geologist Jack B. Hartung suggest that this phenomena was the creation of the moon’s Giordano Bruno crater, and that the monks witnessed it as it happened.


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The Gates of Sleep: Lush and engaging, but it loses steam

The Gates of Sleep by Mercedes Lackey 

The Gates of Sleep by Mercedes Lackey, part of her ELEMENTAL MASTERS series, is a fun, harmless read based loosely on the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale.

Growing up, I had always been drawn to Mercedes Lackey books, mostly because of the lush cover art, usually drawn by Jody Lee. But then, unfailingly, I’d read the blurb and decide not to read it; they usually sounded too involved, too conspicuously “high fantasy,” or otherwise cheesy and formulaic.


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The Quick: Not (just) another vampire novel

The Quick by Lauren Owen

The blurb of Lauren Owen’s debut novel The Quick piqued my interest, with its talk of an unlikely romance, Victorian London’s secret underworld, and a mysterious members-only institution, The Aegolius Club. And its cover, an understated black-and-white photo of a young man reading in a library, spoke to the part of me that loves elegant, emotionally-withdrawn period dramas. Had I known it was another vampire novel, I might have been less excited about picking it up. And that would have been a real shame.


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WWWednesday: June 11, 2014

On this day in 2003, the Spirit Rover was launched, beginning the Mars Exploration Rover Mission. You can learn more about Spirit Rover here: it will leave you feeling a little teary-eyed and inexplicably proud of a machine, just like when you saw Wall-E.

Writing, Editing, and Publishing:

It’s award season! As I announce these awards, you should just imagine me hopping for 3 ½ minutes like Hugh Jackman did at the Tonys. Because that’s totally what I’m doing. Right now.

The Campbell and Sturgeon awards were announced today.


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The Word Exchange: Literary thriller with a side of doomsaying

The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon

[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.]

When I started listening to Alena Graedon’s The Word Exchange on audiobook (read by Tavia Gilbert and Paul Michael Garcia), I was bowled over. The sheer beauty of Graedon’s language, the book’s inventive dictionary structure, its references to Alice in Wonderland,


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WWWednesday: June 4, 2014

Welcome to WWWednesday! On this day in 1783, the Montgolfier brothers demonstrated their new invention — the montgolfiere, or, as we know it, the hot air balloon. 

Writing, editing, publishing:

It just came out this week that George R.R. Martin may be considering stretching the “Song of Ice and Fire” series to eight books instead of the planned seven. I’m with blogger Netw3rk . . . it may be time to start skipping the detailed clothing-and-horse descriptions. 

However, if Martin’s work isn’t long enough for you and you frequently find yourself in bookstores screaming “MOAR EPIC FANTASY,


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The Long Earth: An ambitious let-down

The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter 

The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter is a really interesting book without being a particularly good one.

The concept for The Long Earth itself arises from a short story Pratchett wrote before he became Pratchett with a capital P. Essentially, there are other versions of Earth strung out like a strand of pearls in parallel universes — and the ability to travel to these Earths has begun to spread through the human race with the advent of new technology called the “stepper.”


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Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

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