Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

Author: Sandy Ferber


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Other Worlds of Clifford Simak: From zebra charms to walking vines

Other Worlds of Clifford Simak by Clifford D. Simak

Other Worlds of Clifford Simak is the companion volume to the 1961 Avon paperback The Worlds of Clifford Simak, a collection that had recently impressed me very favorably. As I mentioned in my review of that earlier volume, The Worlds of Clifford Simak was originally released as a Simon & Schuster hardcover in 1960; a rather generous-sized, 378-page affair containing a dozen of the future Grand Master’s stories.


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The Worlds of Clifford Simak: Finely wrought tales from a future grand master

The Worlds of Clifford Simak by Clifford D. Simak

A recent perusal of Clifford D. Simak’s wonderful collection All the Traps of Earth (from 1962) served to remind this reader of how very excellent the beloved Wisconsin-born novelist could be with the shorter form, and I resolved to read more of his stories in the near future. Thus, when I spotted a rather beat-up copy of his collection The Worlds of Clifford Simak (no middle initial here,


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Giants In The Dust: Oliver shines in his final sci-fi novel

Giants In The Dust by Chad Oliver

At this late date, the authors who have penned works in the fields of science fiction and fantasy must number well into the multiple thousands, but the ones with an actual background in science, who have used their education and scientific training to both inform and add veracity to their stories … ah, they are indeed amongst a much more limited crew. Let’s see … Isaac Asimov was, of course, an associate professor of biochemistry. Hal Clement had degrees in both chemistry and astronomy,


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The Flying Eyes: Congeal, heal and repeal

The Flying Eyes by J. Hunter Holly

It sports one of the most famous covers in sci-fi paperback history; a piece of art so iconic that I have seen it reproduced in the form of refrigerator magnets! I am referring here to the first edition of J. Hunter Holly’s The Flying Eyes, the cover of which depicts a man and a woman fleeing in abject terror from the onslaught of several dozen – you guessed it – self-propelled, levitating eyeballs!


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The Haunted Stars: Fairlie awesome

The Haunted Stars by Edmond Hamilton

At the tail end of my review of Edmond Hamilton’s The Star of Life (1947), I mentioned that this was the finest novel that I’d read by the Ohio-born author so far, and added that I now looked forward to reading Hamilton’s The Haunted Stars, which seems to enjoy an even greater reputation. Take, for example, these two sources that I have always trusted: The Science Fiction Encyclopedia,


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The Star of Life: Flash-frozen for extra freshness

The Star of Life by Edmond Hamilton

Anyone who has delved into the writings of Radium Age/Golden Age sci-fi author Edmond Hamilton will be able to tell you that there is a huge difference in both tone and quality between his earliest work and his efforts of some 20 years later. Those early stories and novels were, generally speaking, crudely written fare that yet won the reader over by dint of their great sweep, gusto, imagination, color, and epic scale. But a funny thing happened to the quality of Hamilton’s writing starting in the mid-1940s,


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The Cosmic Puppets: There goes the neighborhood!

The Cosmic Puppets by Philip K. Dick

By the time 1956 rolled around, future cult author Philip K. Dick had already seen 80 of his short stories published, as well as his first novel, 1955’s Solar Lottery. But 1956 would turn out to be an important year for the seemingly indefatigable writer. His second and third novels, The World Jones Made and The Man Who Japed,


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Sentinels From Space: 1953… The Year Of The Mutant

Sentinels From Space by Eric Frank Russell

In the science fiction novel of 1953, mutants and their various abilities – especially telepathic – were apparently all the rage. Alfred Bester’s The Demolished Man, the first novel to win the Hugo Award, showed us how difficult a proposition murder could be in a society of mind readers. In Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore’s Mutant, the “Baldies” referred to in the title had to learn how to live among a society that feared and despised them.


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The Reign of Wizardry: Cagey cretans

The Reign of Wizardry by Jack Williamson

Perhaps because Jack Williamson was named the second science fiction Grand Master, in 1976, and managed to cop both the coveted Hugo and Nebula Awards, it is easy to forget that the Arizona Territory-born author did write in other fields than just sci-fi. For example, I have already written here of his marvelously scary novella “Wolves of Darkness” (1932), as well as his now-classic lycanthropy novel Darker Than You Think (1948) … two works that doubtless helped him win the Bram Stoker Award for Lifetime Achievement,


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Outside the Universe: Take that, Star Wars!

Outside the Universe by Edmond Hamilton

In my recent review of the 1965 collection Crashing Suns, I mentioned that this Ace paperback gathered together five of the tales from Edmond Hamilton’s INTERSTELLAR PATROL series – a series comprised of seven short stories and one full-length novel – and later expressed a desire to read those three other installments one day. Well, I am here to tell you now MISSION ACCOMPLISHED – at least as far as the novel is concerned.


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Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

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