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]: 1990.01


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Phule’s Company: A short, entertaining, and heart-warming SF tale

Phule’s Company by Robert Asprin

Until I picked up Phule’s Company, I hadn’t read anything by prolific author Robert Asprin. I hadn’t planned to, either, but Tantor Audio is producing his PHULE’S COMPANY series in audio format, so I figured I’d give the first book a try. I liked it well enough to ask them to send me the second book, Phule’s Paradise. There are six PHULE’S COMPANY books, published from 1990 to 2006.


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The Eye of the World: An entertaining, if daunting, start

The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan

Years ago I read the Wheel of Time series up through book 10. Now it’s late 2008, Robert Jordan has passed on, and we’re expecting the last Wheel of Time book, A Memory of Light in about one year. Brandon Sanderson will be writing it with the help of notes and taped messages left by Jordan, and in consultation with Harriet, Jordan’s widow and confidante.

When I read it the first time,


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Dragon Wing: Not very good

Dragon Wing by Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman

The Margaret Weis/Tracy Hickman novels make up one of those corners of the Fantasy genre that you either enjoyed in your teens (and remember fondly)… or you didn’t. I have to admit that I’m of the latter camp, and while I strongly suspect that there was a time when I could have greatly enjoyed Dragon Wing, that time has passed me by. These days, I’m a little too jaded and I’ve read a few too many works in a very similar vein.


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The Gap Into Conflict: The Real Story: Unique in many ways

The Gap Into Conflict: The Real Story by Stephen Donaldson

Though better known for his ongoing epic fantasy series, THE CHRONICLES OF THOMAS COVENANT, THE UNBELIEVER, Stephen Donaldson has also taken a foray into science fiction. The Gap Into Conflict: The Real Story is the first in THE GAP CYCLE and a very difficult read if it is not understood that the book is mere stage setting for the four books which follow. Essentially the exploits of a sadistic psychopath and his victim,


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Homeland: Fun For Your Inner Fourteen-Year-Old

Homeland by R.A. Salvatore

R.A. Salvatore’s brooding, noble hero Drizzt Do’Urden is almost inarguably the most popular character in the FORGOTTEN REALMS universe (which is to say, the Dungeons & Dragons tie-in novels). It has become a general joke through the years that half the new D&D players of the world incorporate something of the dark elf warrior into their first characters, and — tellingly — when Suvudu did their initial fantasy character popularity contest some years ago, Drizzt beat out such classic characters as Aragorn,


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Lens of the World: A beautifully told coming-of-age story

Lens of the World by R.A. MacAvoy

Nazhuret was an ugly half-breed orphan when he started life at an exclusive military school, but now he’s someone important. So important, in fact, that the king has asked him to write his autobiography. Who is this man who has fascinated a king, what is he now, and how did he come so far in the world?

Lens of the World, published in 1990, is the first book in R.A. MacAvoy’s LENS OF THE WORLD trilogy.


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Black Trillium: Substandard

Black Trillium by Marion Zimmer Bradley, Julian May, Andre Norton

At first glance, Black Trillium looks like an interesting project: three leading female authors of speculative fiction — Marion Zimmer Bradley, Julian May and Andre Norton — writing a book together. After having read it, I don’t think the result is a resounding success. It still spawned a total of four sequels written by each of the authors individually. I understand there are some continuity issues between those books,


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The Vampire Chronicles: Vampires and gumshoes

THE VAMPIRE CHRONICLES Vol 1: BloodList, LifeBlood, BloodCircle by P.N. Elrod

The Vampire Chronicles compiles the first three books in P.N. Elrod’s series featuring Jack Fleming who, in case you haven’t deduced by the title, is a vampire.

What makes this series different from most other recent vampire novels is that Elrod combines an old familiar trope with something familiar but not usually associated with vampires: noir detectives. Her characters are believably of the gumshoe type and include those hopeful yet gray sensibilities that were products of that era.


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The Steps up the Chimney: A mixed bag of magic and flatness

The Steps up the Chimney by William Corlett

The Steps up the Chimney is the first in four books that accumulate into The Magician’s House Quartet, revolving around three children who come to stay at their uncle’s strange house, and Stephen Tyler, a time-traveling wizard who befriends the children on their stay at Golden Valley.

In The Steps Up The Chimney, the children arrive at the house after already experiencing some strange events — Will has meet a stranger at Druce Coven station who mysteriously disappeared and a fox seems to popping up everywhere they look.


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The Witching Hour: Imaginary genealogies are more fun than they sound

The Witching Hour by Anne Rice

Although Anne Rice‘s The Vampire Chronicles are undoubtedly her most famous and best-selling novels, there is much to be said for her witch trilogy: The Lives of the Mayfair Witches. Although none of the characters who populate The Witching Hour are quite as memorable as her vampires, the plot and pacing of her witch-stories appeal to me more than anything else she has written to date. Her skills as a novelist are on fine display here and her storytelling techniques are utterly unique,


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Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

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