Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

Author: Skye Walker


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Mooncakes: A magical YA love story

Reposting to include Brad’s new review.

Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker (writer), Wendy Xu (illustrator), & Joamette Gil (letterer)

Mooncakes (2019) is the story of Nova and Tam, two young people who are exploring their connections to magic. They are both, in their own way, deeply connected to the magical world and must decide what that means to them. Their relationships — with the people around them and each other — fuel the emotional core of this whimsical, down-to-earth, LGBTQ+ narrative.

I was delighted by Mooncakes.


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Yellow Jessamine: A dark, disturbing treat

Yellow Jessamine by Caitlin Starling

Having thoroughly enjoyed Caitlin Starling’s 2019 novel The Luminous Dead, I was very happy to learn that I wouldn’t have to wait long to read more of her work.

Yellow Jessamine (2020), Starling’s new novella, is completely different from The Luminous Dead but similarly features creepy atmosphere, a background of family trauma, and relationships filled with dysfunctional tension and longing.

Evelyn Perdanu is a wealthy woman in the city of Delphinium,


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Fugitive Telemetry: Pitch-perfect narrative voice

Fugitive Telemetry by Martha Wells

Martha Wells continues her popular and highly-acclaimed MURDERBOT DIARIES series with another novella, Fugitive Telemetry (2021), which actually takes place before the only novel in the series so far, Network Effect. (So you could read this one before that novel, but you do need to read books 1-4 first.) At this point in time Murderbot, the introverted and snarky cyborg who is the narrator and the heart of this series, is a fairly new resident on Preservation,


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Some Faraway Place: Not a success

Some Faraway Place by Lauren Shippen

Rose is a normal girl, and that’s a problem because everyone else in her family – her parents, her brother – are atypical.

I had some hope that returning to the approximate 2016 timeframe and another late-teen protagonist who isn’t an outright villain would be a boon for the BRIGHT SESSIONS series. Unfortunately, I had more issues with Some Faraway Place (2021) than either of its predecessors, The Infinite Noise and A Neon Darkness.


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A Neon Darkness: Lackluster

A Neon Darkness by Lauren Shippen

A Neon Darkness (2020), the second book in Lauren Shippen‘s THE BRIGHT SESSIONS trilogy, is only very tangentially related to the first book, The Infinite Noise. It centers on a group of atypicals (the in-world word for people with powers) a full decade before the first book occurs.

Robert Gorham is 18-going-on-19 when he arrives in L.A. for reasons unclear to the reader until much later. His power makes him able to effortlessly manipulate people into doing what he wants,


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The Infinite Noise: A delightfully cute teen drama

The Infinite Noise by Lauren Shippen

THE BRIGHT SESSIONS is a trilogy of spinoff novels set in the world of the podcast of the same name, both media written by Lauren Shippen. I am generally a fiction podcast fan, so when the third book in the trilogy – Some Faraway Place – hit my radar, something about it sounded familiar. Turns out, on a long road trip a few years ago, I had listened to several episodes of the podcast. I remembered liking it so I wanted to give the books a try.


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Deathless Divide: Just as tense and engaging as its predecessor

Deathless Divide by Justina Ireland

Deathless Divide (2020) is the sequel to Justina Ireland’s 2018 novel Dread Nation, the fresh take on zombies I reviewed previously. Much like its predecessor, Deathless Divide maintains a break-neck pace and an engaging cast of characters from beginning to end.

I enjoyed Deathless Divide just as much as I did Dread Nation.


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The People’s Republic of Everything: An experimental collection

The People’s Republic of Everything by Nick Mamatas

I don’t know if I simply wasn’t in the right mood for Nick Mamatas’ short-story collection The People’s Republic of Everything (2018), or if I’m not the right audience for his preferred themes and overall style, but this book and I just could not mesh.

There was one story, “Tom Silex, Spirit-Smasher,” which gripped my attention and had everything I look for in short fiction. The story focuses on Rosa Martinez, whose elderly grandmother might — through quirks of legality regarding her first marriage and the question of ownership of her first husband’s pulp publications — own the rights to a series of stories revolving around psychopomp Tom Silex.


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How to Fracture a Fairy Tale: Grim undertones to Grimm

How to Fracture a Fairy Tale by Jane Yolen

One year after Tachyon Publications published The Emerald Circus, a collection of Jane Yolen‘s fantastical short stories based on various fairy tales and legendary people (both fictional and real), it has followed up with a similar collection, How to Fracture a Fairy Tale (2018). Like The Emerald Circus, this is a compilation of Yolen’s older, previously published stories, spiffed up with new author’s notes in which Yolen briefly discuss each story and how she “fractured” it with significant departures from its original source material.


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SHORTS: Brown, McGuire, Muir, Headley, Bryski, Goss

SHORTS is our column exploring free and inexpensive short fiction available on the internet. Here are a few stories we’ve recently read that we wanted you to know about.

While Dragons Claim the Sky by Jen Brown (2019, originally published in FIYAH Magazine Issue #10: Hair, available online for $3.99; free audio recording on PodCastle (Part 1 and Part 2), read by C. L. Clark)

While Dragons Claim the Sky tells the story of a skilled young mage as she takes a chance on discovering more of the world and her place in it.


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Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

We have reviewed 8302 fantasy, science fiction, and horror books, audiobooks, magazines, comics, and films.

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