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]: 1998.01


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Dark Lord of Derkholm: A delightfully satirical fantasy

Dark Lord of Derkholm by Diana Wynne Jones

Dark Lord of Derkholm (1998) is a delightful young adult story for those who like a heavy dose of satire in their fantasy. Similar to Diana Wynne JonesThe Tough Guide to Fantasyland, it pokes fun of the genre we love by exposing and exploiting some of its most common clichés.

The story takes place in a world parallel to ours to which people can travel and pay to have an adventure.


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Summon the Keeper: Entertaining urban fantasy

Summon the Keeper by Tanya Huff

Tanya Huff’s KEEPER’S CHRONICLES is about a family of Keepers, descendants of Lilith who have the power to close up holes in the fabric of the universe that appear when evil things happen. Keepers get supernaturally summoned toward these holes, so they’re often on the go, traveling from place to place as they feel the pull of their summons.

Claire, a Canadian Keeper in her late 20s who travels with Austin, an elderly talking cat,


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The Vintner’s Luck: Magic realism in a nineteenth century vineyard

The Vintner’s Luck by Elizabeth Knox

In many ways this is a strange book in both content and format, but once you read the first few chapters and get used to the way in which the story is told, The Vintner’s Luck (1998) is a compelling, page-turning read from an author whose style reminds me of a slightly more refined Joanne Harris.

Sobran Jodeau is a young vintner in early nineteenth century Burgundy; lovelorn and a little drunk when he wanders into his vineyards one summer night.


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THE CHRONICLES OF SIRKARA: Underappreciated epic fantasy

THE CHRONICLES OF SIRKARA by Laura Resnick

This series is also called THE SILERIAN TRILOGY and IN FIRE FORGED.

I enjoy running across books that haven’t received much attention. I also enjoy running across books that I enjoy a lot more than I expected to. When you smash both of those things together, you come up with THE CHRONICLES OF SIRKARA, a trilogy by Laura Resnick, which I read in about three days flat. Yep, that’s about a book a day. I should also note,


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I Am Mordred: A short sad novel

I Am Mordred by Nancy Springer

Almost all the modern stories derived from Arthurian legends focus on King Arthur, Queen Guinevere, Sir Lancelot, Sir Gawain, and Merlin. Why does Mordred, the man who eventually brings down the whole shebang, get such short shrift? There’s plenty of source material, most notably Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia Regum Britanniae and Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur. Maybe it’s that Mordred isn’t very romantic. Or maybe we just don’t like reading about people who are hard to root for.


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The Silver Wolf: A dark supernatural fantasy set in Ancient Rome

The Silver Wolf by Alice Borchardt

It actually wasn’t until I finished The Silver Wolf that I learnt that author Alice Borchardt was the sister of vampire novelist Anne Rice (that explains why her endorsement is on the title page) but I doubt that this knowledge would have affected my reading experience. In hindsight, Borchardt follows in her sister’s footsteps by writing about a supernatural creature in an historical context, but that’s where the similarities end.

Set in the Roman Empire during its waning years,


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Sailing to Sarantium: Historical fantasy

Sailing to Sarantium by Guy Gavriel Kay

The new emperor in Sarantium has a lot to atone for, so he’s building a grand chapel to his god and calling the most famous artisans in the surrounding regions to come work for him. Crispin, a mosaicist from a neighboring country, is one of these. Unhappy since his wife and children died, Crispin doesn’t think he has much to live for anymore, and he doesn’t want to go to Sarantium. But when his young queen, who sits her throne precariously, asks Crispin to carry a secret proposal to the already-married emperor of Sarantium,


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Planetary: All Over the World and Other Stories, Volume 1

Planetary: All Over the World and Other Stories, Volume 1 by Warren Ellis & John Cassaday

Planetary: All Over the World and Other Stories, Volume 1 by Warren Ellis and John Cassaday is for the reader who has a nostalgia for the space explorer- and Doc Savage-style pulp fiction along with a love of futuristic and science fiction settings. Three main characters make up the mysterious group called Planetary. Elijah Snow is about 100 years old, looks like a fit 40-50 year-old, can lower the temperature of a room by walking into it (hence his name),


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The Arm of the Stone: Mixed opinions

The Arm of the Stone by Victoria Strauss

The world has been torn asunder. Originally held together by disciplines of mind and hand, devotees of the powers of the mind have been pushed aside by the technological innovations of the devotees of hand power. As belief in the power of magic fades, the last enclaves of magic users simply disappear. But they are not actually gone. They have formed a second world, accessible only by a few Gates that bind the two worlds together. This new world is held together by the power of the Stone,


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Green Rider: A popcorn action fantasy

Green Rider by Kristen Britain

The trouble with Green Rider (or, well, the major trouble with Green Rider) is that it all just feels a bit silly. This may be a bit of a chuckle for some of you as, let’s face it, our entire genre could be and is regarded as rather silly what with the Halflings and dragons and so on, but the trick we demand of fantasy authors most of the time is that they either embrace that silliness in a sort of ironic,


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Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

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