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]: 1992.02


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Stay Out of the Basement: Creepy but annoying

Stay Out of the Basement by R.L. Stine

One of my kids loves Halloween – she starts celebrating in September – and, since she wanted to read some horror for children during October, we listened to a few of R.L. Stine’s GOOSEBUMPS books together. Each is a standalone short novel with a pretty hefty scare factor.

Stay Out of the Basement (1992) is the second novel in the series (which contains dozens of stories) and there’s no reason to read the first one first.


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A Deepness in the Sky: Might have been interesting at half the length

A Deepness in the Sky by Vernor Vinge

A Fire Upon the Deep was a big success for Vernor Vinge, winning the 1993 Hugo Award. Seven years later, he followed up with A Deepness in the Sky, set 20,000 years earlier in the same universe, and this captured the 2000 Hugo Award and John W. Campbell Award. I came to both books with high expectations and was eager for a big-canvas space opera filled with mind-boggling technologies,


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Green Mars: Revenge of the lab rats

Green Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson

It took me about 200 pages to get into Kim Stanley Robinson’s Green Mars (1994), the first sequel to Red Mars, and even after I connected with it I found myself working through slow patches. Although the inside cover of the edition I read describes KSR’s novels as “thrilling,” I would describe this novel as dense, philosophical, purposeful, detailed… Well, a lot of words come to mind before I’d mention a fast pace.


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Sin City (Vol. 2): A Dame To Kill For by Frank Miller

Sin City (Vol. 2): A Dame To Kill For by Frank Miller

Frank Miller’s SIN CITY series is famous for its hard-boiled crime noir stories, characters and black-and-white artwork. In the second volume, A Dame To Kill For, Miller gleefully tackles that most classic of noir tropes, the seductive and deadly femme fatale. Ava is her name, and when she beckons, men cannot resist. Our lead this time is Dwight McCarthy, a photographer who is trying to live a clean,


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A Different Kingdom: Rich with details and surprising maturity

A Different Kingdom by Paul Kearney

A Different Kingdom is a reprint of one of Paul Kearney’s first novels, first published in 1993. The good news is that this doesn’t read like an early novel in an illustrious career: it actually reads like something a well-practiced author would produce after a lot of hard work.

A Different Kingdom is set in the picturesque countryside of Ireland and the farm where Michael lives. Alongside this, perhaps on top of it or layered throughout it,


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Reflex: Exciting sequel to Jumper

Reflex by Steven Gould

Reflex is the second book in Steven Gould’s JUMPER series. Ten years have passed since we left Davy and Millie. Now they’re married and Davy works occasionally for the National Security Agency. On one of his trips to Washington D.C. to meet with his contact there, he gets drugged and kidnapped by a group of people who want to use his powers for their own evil purposes. As they work to get Davy under their control, Millie uses her skills as a psychologist to search for him.


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The Singing Sword: Storytelling is about the details

The Singing Sword by Jack Whyte

In some ways, The Singing Sword, second in Jack Whyte’s A Dream of Eagles (Camulod Chronicles in America) series, is just like The Skystone. The Roman Empire is in retreat and soldier/ blacksmith Publius Varrus chronicles the early days of Caius Britannicus’ Roman villa. Arthur is still nowhere in sight.

Whyte has a great talent for outlining battles and duels, but his passion is for world building through dialogue,


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The Captive: Characters to care about

The Captive by L.J. Smith

The Captive is the second book in the Secret Circle trilogy by L.J. Smith. In this book Faye tightens her hold around Cassie, blackmailing her over her love for Adam and forcing her to betray Diana. At the same time the Circle learns that a dark power is on the loose and killing, and Cassie begins to suspect that the crystal skull recovered from Black John’s articles is behind the deaths.

L.J. Smith has written a number of trilogies in the YA paranormal arena, and excels at the format.


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Wolf Speaker: A great adventure

Wolf Speaker by Tamora Pierce

Wolf Speaker is the second of Tamora Pierce’s “Immortals Quartet” concerning fourteen-year-old Daine, a young woman who possesses “Wild Magic,” giving her the ability to communicate with animals, heal any animal wound, and in this book, to gradually change her form into any animal she wishes. Pierce jumps straight into the story without hardly any background information, so if you are unfamiliar with the fantasy realm of Tortall, I very highly recommend that you don’t begin your journey with this book: start with Wild Magic,


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Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

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