Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

Order [book in (eg 2014.01), stand-alone or one-author collection=3333.pubyear, multi-author anthology=5555.pubyear, SFM/MM=5000, interview=1111]: 2000


Spindle’s End: A light, sweet, unhurried fantasy

Reposting to include Tadiana’s review.

Spindle’s End by Robin McKinley

Spindle’s End (2000) is Robin McKinley’s delightful and very loose retelling of the Sleeping Beauty (Little Briar Rose) fairy tale.

On the princess’s naming day, a bad fairy declares a curse, stating that, on her 21st birthday, the princess will prick her finger on a spindle and die. In an attempt to thwart the curse, a good fairy named Katriona takes the princess to live with her aunt in a swampy region called Foggy Bottom.

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American Gods: Mixed opinions

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

This is a bad land for Gods… The old gods are ignored. The new gods are as quickly taken up as they are abandoned, cast aside for the next big thing. Either you’ve been forgotten, or you’re scared you’re going to be rendered obsolete, or maybe you’re just getting tired of existing on the whims of people.

Shadow, just out of prison and with nothing to go home to, is hired to be Mr. Wednesday’s bodyguard as he travels around America to warn all the other incarnations of gods,

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The Perseids and Other Stories: Strange nights in Toronto

The Perseids and Other Stories by Robert Charles Wilson

I’m mostly a sceptic of both short stories and short story collections. When reading short science fiction, I can’t help thinking that if the premise were truly worthwhile, the author would have developed it into a novel — or at least a novella. I’m perhaps revealing my own limitations rather than my preferences. Still, I’ve found that the most common descriptions of short story collections are “mixed bag” or “some are duds.” And because every word counts so much more in shorts,

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Batman: Dark Victory by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale

Batman: Dark Victory by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale

Batman: Dark Victory (2000) takes place immediately after Batman: The Long Halloween (1997). In the aftermath of the Holiday Killer, Gotham’s Falcone and Maroni crime families are in chaos. Dark Victory is steeped in the same dark crime noir atmosphere as Long Halloween, so if you liked the first title you will like this one too. It’s all about mysterious killings, Mafia wars, the rise of the arch-villians,

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The Blind Assassin: Stories within stories within stories

The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

A provincial Canadian town in the 1920s doesn’t automatically scream sci-fi to most readers. But that is the beauty of Margaret Atwood’s tenth novel, The Blind Assassin (2000). She weaves a sprawling, post-war tale with pulp science-fiction stories that have readers leaping between Port Ticonderoga and Planet Zycron. It doesn’t sound like it should work, but the story is only made richer by these contrasting worlds.

The novel opens with Iris Chase recalling that her sister drove a car off a bridge.

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Galveston: May be Sean Stewart’s best novel

Galveston by Sean Stewart

This may be Sean Stewart’s best novel, though it is not my favourite. Here we see Stewart displaying full mastery of his prose, his characterization, and his depiction of a fully realized magical world. Be warned though, neither the characters, nor the world presented, are always pleasant to behold.

We follow the story of Josh Cane, a young man with a chip on his shoulder due to the constrained circumstances of his life that are the result of his father’s loss of a pivotal game of poker.

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Sherwood: An attractive and interesting collection

Sherwood by Jane Yolen

Sherwood is a collection of eight short stories all based around the legends of Robin Hood. Edited by long-time Hood aficionado Jane Yolen, most of the stories centre on original or minor characters that are in some way related to Robin and his Merry Men. Judging by the “About the Authors” segment at the back of the book, all the contributors have had previous writing experience in both the fantasy and the medievalist period, with works such as Nancy Springer’s I Am Mordred,

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Navohar: Too many first-timer’s typical poor choices

Navohar by Hilari Bell

You might have a hard time swallowing much of Navohar, the debut of Denver author Hilari Bell. But Bell produces easygoing, accessible writing that gives her book a degree of light-reading appeal. If only the whole affair weren’t so pat and predictable.

Navohar is set towards the end of this century, after the people of Earth have thwarted an invasion by ruthless slave-trading aliens by knocking them out H.G. Wells-style with a horrid genetically-engineered virus.

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The Snow Queen: Enchanting short YA

The Snow Queen by Eileen Kernaghan

The Snow Queen arrived on my doorstep on an unseasonably cold March day. I grabbed a blanket, curled up in my favorite chair, and read the book in a matter of a few hours. The Snow Queen is a short novel, a single-sitting book if you’re a fast reader like me, yet more enchanting than many longer works. Nothing is superfluous here; Eileen Kernaghan tells the story she has come to tell — a mythic reworking of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale of the same name — and that’s it.

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White as Snow: A dark, richly archetypal novel

White as Snow by Tanith Lee

A maiden is kidnapped. Her mother searches for her, disguised as an old beggar woman. A deadly fruit is eaten. The maiden dies, but not necessarily for good…

Depending on how you flesh out the rest of the tale, this could either be the Greek myth of Demeter and Persephone, or the fairy tale “Snow White.” Tanith Lee weaves the two together in White as Snow until it’s hard to tell where one begins and the other ends.

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Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

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