Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

Order [book in series=yearoffirstbook.book# (eg 2014.01), stand-alone or one-author collection=3333.pubyear, multi-author anthology=5555.pubyear, SFM/MM=5000, interview=1111]: 1895


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The King in Yellow: Weird stories that inspired H.P. Lovecraft

The King in Yellow by Robert W. Chambers

… It is well known how the book spread like an infectious disease, from city to city, from continent to continent, barred out here, confiscated there, denounced by Press and pulpit, censured by even the most advanced of literary anarchists… It could not be judged by any known standard, yet, although it was acknowledged that the supreme note of art had been struck in The King in Yellow, all felt that human nature could not bear the strain, nor thrive on the words in which the essence of purest poison lurked.


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Joan Haste: One of H. Rider Haggard’s greatest romances

Joan Haste by H. Rider Haggard

Anyone who reads H. Rider Haggard‘s 19th novel, Joan Haste, will likely be struck with one overwhelming thought: Times sure have changed for women over the last 100 years or so. Today, nothing much is thought of a woman who bears a child out of wedlock, and that illegitimate child will likely bear no stigma on his or her name in adulthood. But back in 1894, when Haggard sat down to write (or, to be strictly accurate,


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The Time Machine: Absolutely gorgeous and groundbreaking

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

One thing I’ve always wanted to do since the first time I read an anthology edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling was to read all the books they recommend in the excellent essays they almost always include on the topic of the volume. I finally decided to do it, using the essay in After as my reading list. The book they listed as having started modern dystopian fiction is The Time Machine by H.G.


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The Second Jungle Book: Did you know there’s a sequel?

The Second Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

Now This Is the Law of the Jungle, As Old and As True As the Sky…

Most people are unaware that Rudyard Kipling wrote a sequel to his first highly successful anthology of stories, probably because most editions combine the two into one volume (much like the merging of Louisa Alcott’s Little Women and Good Wives). But for what it’s worth, the sequel (or second half) of The Jungle Book is better than its predecessor.


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The Pursuit of the Houseboat: Captain Kidd vs. The Ladies of Hades

The Pursuit of the Houseboat by John Kendrick Bangs

At the end of John Kendrick Bangs’ A House-boat on the Styx, the men went ashore to watch Goliath fight Samson, leaving the houseboat untended. So the ladies, headed by Cleopatra and Queen Elizabeth, took the opportunity to trespass. While they were playing pool below decks, the pirate Captain Kidd and his crew, unaware that the ladies were aboard, hijacked the boat and set out for Europe so they could do some looting.

As The Pursuit of the Houseboat opens,


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A House-Boat on the Styx: Bangsian fantasy

A House Boat on the Styx by John Kendrick Bangs

John Kendrick Bangs (1862-1922) was an American humorist who edited some popular American magazines such as Harper’s Weekly and Puck. His satirical novella A House-Boat on the Styx (1895) is responsible for the term Bangsian Fantasy, which refers to stories about famous people in the afterlife (e.g., Philip Jose Farmer’s Riverworld series).

In A House-Boat on the Styx, Charon the ferryman is dismayed to discover that he’s got some competition in the transportation business — a posh new riverboat has appeared on the Styx and there’s no way his craft can compete.


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Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

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