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


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Good Omens: The harbinger of the apocalypse is an eleven-year-old boy

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman

The bad news for the world is this: the apocalypse is nigh and all of humanity will soon face their final judgement. The good news? A Bentley-driving demon and an angel who is ‘gayer than a tree full of monkeys on nitrous oxide’ have decided that they rather like humanity and are going to try and save it.

Good Omens is the result of a collaboration between Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman,


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How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy: A manual by Orson Scott Card

How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy by Orson Scott Card

Orson Scott Card is an award-winning author of dozens of science fiction and fantasy books, including the Hugo and Nebula award winning Ender’s Game. So who else would you turn to for instruction on how to write a science fiction and fantasy novel? I’m working on a novel — isn’t everyone these days? — and picked up How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy for some instruction. I’m used to writing for an academic audience,


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The Hemingway Hoax: Award-winning novella

The Hemingway Hoax by Joe Haldeman

While on vacation in Key West, John Baird, a Hemingway scholar, meets a conman named Castle in a bar. After telling Castle about Hemingway’s missing manuscript, Castle suggests that they forge it and make a lot of money. Baird refuses, of course, but Castle enlists Baird’s wife Lena and the two of them talk John into creating a forgery. Under pressure from his wife and his rapidly dwindling finances, John goes along with the plan but, unbeknownst to his co-conspirators, he makes a backup plan to protect himself in case of detection.


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The Madness Season: Showcases Friedman’s admirable skills

The Madness Season by C.S. Friedman

I am quickly becoming a fan of C.S. Friedman. Audible Frontiers has recently produced all her novels in audio format, so I snatched them up and I’m happy I did. Her science fiction is original, imaginative, and super smart.

In The Madness Season, a man named Daetrin is old enough to have fought in the last battle when the Earth was conquered by the aliens of Tyr. That was three hundred years ago and the Tyrians want to know how Daetrin is still alive.


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Jurassic Park: Crichton has improved his formula

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

In our Edge of the Universe column we review mainstream authors that incorporate elements of speculative fiction into their “literary” work. However you want to label them, we hope you’ll enjoy discussing these books with us.

It’s difficult to talk about Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park, though not because the novel’s plot and characters are especially complex. They aren’t.

Alan Grant is a paleontologist who is asked to vet a new theme park that has brought dinosaurs back to life.


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Horses of Heaven: Historical fantasy with an unusual setting

Horses of Heaven by Gillian Bradshaw

Gillian Bradshaw’s Horses of Heaven is a historical fantasy set in a place and time far from fantasy’s beaten path: central Asia in 140 B.C. It takes place in the kingdom of Ferghana, which was once on the eastern fringe of Alexander’s empire. Now, Alexander is long dead and Ferghana is an uneasy mix of Greeks and native Sakas. The widowed King Mauakes makes a political marriage with a Greco-Bactrian princess, Heliokleia, but he is abusive toward her and their marriage is a disaster from the start.


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Possession: A Romance

Possession: A Romance by A.S. Byatt

[In our Edge of the Universe column, we review mainstream authors that incorporate elements of speculative fiction into their “literary” work. However you want to label them, we hope you’ll enjoy discussing these books with us.]

An historical mystery, a bittersweet love story, an exploration of myths and fairytales, a tribute to the power of books, and a beautiful, delicate style of prose all makes A.S. Byatt’s Possession: A Romance an intriguing,


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The Difference Engine: Thickly veiled and imperceptible

The Difference Engine by William Gibson & Bruce Sterling

William Gibson and Bruce Sterling, two major SciFi powerhouses, joined forces to produce The Difference Engine, a classic steampunk novel which was nominated for the 1990 British Science Fiction Award, the 1991 Nebula Award for Best Novel, and the 1992 John W. Campbell Memorial Award and Prix Aurora Award. I listened to Brilliance Audio’s version which was produced in 2010 and read by the always-wonderful Simon Vance.

The Difference Engine takes place in a nearly unrecognizable Victorian England.


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The Silver Kiss: The thinking girl’s Twilight

The Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis Klause

The Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis Klause entwines the two stories of Zoe and Simon, chapter by chapter. We start with Zoe, a lonely girl who is struggling with the steady decline of her mother to cancer and the loss of her best friend who is moving to a new city. She feels lost and unloved, and as though no one can understand her grief and pain. Enter Simon, one of the undead. A vampire who has flitted from city to city in pursuit of his monstrous brother,


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Jack of Kinrowan: Draws you in

Jack of Kinrowan by Charles de Lint

Jack of Kinrowan is actually two books — Jack the Giant Killer and Drink Down the Moon — in an omnibus edition.

Jack the Giant Killer served as de Lint’s volume in the excellent Datlow and Windling edited series of modern retellings of classic fairy tales, as it retells the story of Jack and the Beanstalk, this time with Jack being a Jacky.


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Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

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