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]: 1985


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The Hounds of the Morrigan: A lesser known children’s classic

We’d like to introduce new reviewer Taya Okerlund. Welcome, Taya!

The Hounds of the Morrigan by Pat O’Shea

The Hounds of the Morrigan (1985) is an overlooked classic in children’s fantasy. A gem of a book published before the children’s fantasy readership exploded. (The classics are sometimes underappreciated by a readership who discovered children’s fantasy with Harry Potter.)

Consider Pidge, the sober-minded boy who unwittingly frees the evil Olc-Glas serpent from his prison within the pages of an old manuscript.


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Eye: For dedicated Herbert fans only

Eye by Frank Herbert

Eye is a short story collection by Frank Herbert and is one of his last works. Published in 1985, the same year his sixth Dune novel Chapterhouse: Dune was published, Eye covers most of his career. I guess you could consider this a “best of” volume. Herbert was not a prolific short fiction writer, especially in his later years, but quite a few stories are still missing from this collection. Like many SF authors he began his career publishing in the genre’s big magazines,


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Haunted Castles: The Complete Gothic Stories: Exquisite, gruesome

Haunted Castles by Ray Russell

Thanks to the ongoing Penguin Classics series, this reader was finally able to purchase and enjoy Chicago-born author Ray Russell’s classic novel of modern-day exorcism, The Case Against Satan (1962), which the publisher rereleased in late 2015. Now, Penguin Classics has followed up by giving the world a beautiful new edition of the 1985 Russell anthology entitled Haunted Castles: The Complete Gothic Stories, which consists of three novellas and four shorter pieces …


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The Memory of Whiteness: Science, music, philosophy

The Memory of Whiteness by Kim Stanley Robinson

The Memory of Whiteness is Kim Stanley Robinson’s third novel, after The Wild Shore and Icehenge. It’s a very unusual book, standing out in Robinson’s oeuvre. Much of his work deals with science and many of his characters are scientists. In this novel science plays a large role as well, but this time it is not so much the process and the ways it can change the world but rather the world view that is influenced by a scientific theory.


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Blood Music: One of the first novels about nanotechnology

Blood Music by Greg Bear

Blood Music (1985) by Greg Bear is a novel that, in its day, was well lauded, but has since had its profile reduced by books which have taken its central premise further. One of, if not the first, major novel to utilize the idea of nanotechnology, the wave of related sci-fi digging deeper into the potential for nanotech that has followed has perhaps drowned out the book, leaving it to be found by those looking back into the history of the genre.


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Science Fiction: The 100 Best Novels, 1949-1984: An amazing guide to lesser-known SF gems

Science Fiction: The 100 Best Novels, 1949-1984 by David Pringle

Note: You may also be interested in Stuart’s reviews of:
Modern Fantasy: The 100 Best Novels, 1946-1987.
Science Fiction: The 101 Best Novels, 1985-2010.

This book was such a great guide for me while growing up in Hawaii. Without any real sci-fi fan community, conventions, or the Internet, there really weren’t many places to get good SF reading tips. Of course I knew every bookstore in town,


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Blood Meridian: Luminous, blood-drenched, profound, and confounding

Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy

Blood Meridian is a book that almost everyone has heard of, read, or intends to read at some point. It’s been called one of the Great American Novels (and Cormac McCarthy one the Great American Writers), and the greatest Western or most ruthless debunking of the Western myth of Manifest Destiny ever written. Many who have read it are probably at a loss to say whether it is a work of genius or depravity, and it is mind-numbingly violent, lyrical, and profound at the same time.


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Radio Free Albemuth: Divine messages via a pink laser from space

Radio Free Albemuth by Philip K Dick

Radio Free Albemuth was written in 1976 but only published posthumously in 1985. Even for Philip K Dick, this is a bizarre and partly deranged book. It’s a deeply personal autobiographical attempt for him to make sense of a series of bizarre religious experiences he collectively referred to as “2-3-74”. So if you are only a casual fan of PKD’s books or movies, this is probably not for you. However, if you love his novels and know something of his troubled life,


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The Damnation Game: Beats with an eloquently bloody heart

The Damnation Game by Clive Barker

Clive Barkers first full-length novel is magnificent. It’s dark, intense and mostly unrelenting in its steady construction of supernatural horror. While full of gut wrenching visuals – resulting in several nights of me restlessly attempting to fall asleep — under a skin of pure horror, this novel beats with an eloquently bloody heart.

Barker’s skills shone through early in his career as The Damnation Game was a Bram Stoker Award Nominee for Best First Novel (1987),


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Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind, translated into English by John E. Woods

If you are anything like me, then Perfume: The Story of a Murderer will prove a most tantalising title. And, if you are anything like me, you will not be disappointed upon delving inside. This is a story of human nature at its most despicable and scent at its most sublime, a heady combination of depravity and olfactory beauty.

Published in 1985, Perfume fast became a best-seller in Patrick Suskind’s native German.


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Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

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