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]: 1983.01


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Alanna: The First Adventure: Swords, sorcery, and fun

Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce

Alanna: The First Adventure is, indeed, the first volume of well-known fantasy author Tamora Pierce’s four-book series THE SONG OF THE LIONESS. First published back in the 1980s, the quartet was remarkable in many ways, tackling issues like gender roles, cultural tensions, self-determination, and inherited versus achieved power. Written at a time when “young adult” didn’t exist as a genre and feisty teenage girls couldn’t find much positive representation in mainstream fantasy, the series laid out many of the familiar paths and tropes of what has become modern YA fantasy.


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The Anubis Gates: A very generous book

The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers

Tim Powers’ fourth novel, 1983’s The Anubis Gates, is a book that I had been meaning to read for years. Chosen for inclusion in both David Pringle’s Modern Fantasy: The Hundred Best Novels and Jones & Newman’s Horror: 100 Best Books, as well as the recipient of the Philip K. Dick Memorial Award in 1984, the book came with plenty of good word of mouth, to say the least.


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Tea With the Black Dragon: Refreshing romance + 1980s computer nostalgia

Tea With the Black Dragon by R.A. MacAvoy

Martha Macnamara is a free spirit. Although she’s 50 years old and has accumulated much wisdom over the years, she can also be innocent and even childlike. She’s a musician with much talent, but no fame, and she usually spends her time travelling around and staying with friends. When we meet her, she has flown to California at her grown daughter’s request. Elizabeth, who’s just as independent as her mother but is career-driven and successful, has paid for Martha to stay in an elegant hotel in San Francisco.


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Harpy’s Flight: Robin Hobb’s first novel

Harpy’s Flight by Megan Lindholm

Harpy’s Flight (1983) is Megan Lindholm’s first novel and the first of a series of four starring the characters Ki and Vandien. I understand that at one time, Lindholm had plans to write more but that never happened. Given the success of Lindholm’s writing under the pen name Robin Hobb, I very much doubt it ever will. Lindholm’s novels are very different in style and tone from Hobb’s novels. I love both the epic fantasy of Hobb and the more diverse output of Lindholm,


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The Book of Lost Tales 1: Recommended for hardcore Tolkien fans

The Book of Lost Tales 1 by J.R.R. Tolkien

My first attempt to read The Book of Lost Tales 1 was made way too early in my life and made certain that my response was to put it on the shelf and decide that all of this background stuff, especially taken from this early phase in Tolkien’s life as a writer, was way too different from the Middle-Earth stories that I loved for me to waste any time on it.

Looking at where the bookmark from my first attempt still sat when I picked it up again,


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Earthseed: Flat

Earthseed by Pamela Sargent

Earthseed, by Pamela Sargent, is the first in a science fiction YA trilogy that follows the inhabitants of a seed ship from Earth sent out long ago to colonize other planets. We pick up the story as Ship (the AI mind which is the vessel personified) is nearing its destination and thus as its young inhabitants must begin their preparations for life outside of Ship’s watchful, protective eyes.

Up to this point, Ship has been the kids’ parent and teacher, birthing them from artificial wombs and then raising them — there are no adults aboard.


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Jhereg: Appealing and now on audio

Jhereg by Steven Brust

Audio readers, rejoice! Finally, Steven Brust’s VLAD TALTOS novels have been produced in audio by Audible Frontiers. For years I’ve been planning to read this long series and have only been waiting for this moment.

The VLAD TALTOS novels follow Vlad Taltos, a well-known and highly successful human assassin living on the planet Dragaera. The native species, the Dragaerans, are a tall long-lived race created by sorcerers who cross-bred humans and certain animals. The characteristics of the animals give each clan, or “House,” its name,


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The Color of Magic: Non-stop quirky adventure

The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett

The Color of Magic, published in 1983, is the first book in Sir Terry Pratchett’s enormously popular DISCWORLD series. The Disworld is a flat world which rides on the back of four elephants which ride on the back of a giant turtle named Great A’Tuin. The DISCWORLD novels are humorous, satirical and spoofy, often making fun of their own genre and various real-world cultural and political issues and institutions. Before HARRY POTTER,


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Ariel: A real prize back in print… with a sequel

Ariel by Steven R. Boyett

It’s unusual for obscure mass market paperback originals from a quarter century ago to get a second life. But when the books in question are lost little gems that richly deserve such a life, it’s most welcome. And it ought to serve as a wake-up call to all of you: just how many hidden gems are on the racks right now that you haven’t noticed? More than you might think. Look deeper.

Ariel was first released in 1983, when mass market originals were a much more common format for first-time publication than they are today.


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Ratha’s Creature: Romeo and Juliet with cats

Ratha’s Creature by Clare Bell

Anyone who has a cat can tell you that they are amazingly intelligent. Imagine if they could talk. Talking cats are the central conceit of Ratha’s Creature, the tale of the female cat Ratha and her fight for respect in the clan of cats that make up her family. Ratha is a challenge to the leadership of her clan, especially the misogynistic Meoran. But when she learns to tame fire, she is a threat that can no longer be tolerated.

I’ve heard books called workmanlike,


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Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

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