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]: 2003.02


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The Confusion: Best novel in THE BAROQUE CYCLE

The Confusion by Neal Stephenson

If Quicksilver, the first book in Neal Stephenson’s BAROQUE CYCLE, focused on events in England and continental Europe during the 17th century, The Confusion is Stephenson taking the time to provide a more global context. Or half of it is. The Confusion combines two novels from the cycle, The Juncto and Bonanza. The Juncto follows Eliza’s exploits in Europe,


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The Weeping Werewolf: The perfect way to spend an hour with a child

The Weeping Werewolf by Bruce Coville

Moongobble has been assigned his second task to prove he should be a magician: he must get a bottle of tears from the dreaded Weeping Werewolf who lives alone in the forest. Fortunately, Edward, Urk the toad, the Rusty Knight, and Fireball the Dragon are willing to help. When they find the Weeping Werewolf, everyone is in for a big surprise!

This charming little series of short children’s novels, beautifully narrated and enhanced with cute sound effects by Full Cast Audio is the perfect way to spend an hour with a child on a Sunday afternoon.


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Year of the Flood: On the Edge

The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood

[In our “The Edge of the Universe” column we review 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 is well documented that SFF readers love trilogies, prequel trilogies, tetralogies, and “cycles.” Some authors describe settings, but SFF authors “build” worlds and universes. For many SFF readers, the standard of a well-built world is whether or not it warrants a series.


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Hercules: The best of McCaughrean’s retellings

Hercules by Geraldine McCaughrean

Geraldine McCaughrean has written four retellings of Greek myths, fleshing out the personalities of various heroes and the circumstances that made them legendary. In her beautiful, fluid prose, McCaughrean hits the perfect balance in presenting the darker aspects of the myths without being either too gratuitous or too prissy. In this case, McCaughrean takes the figure of Hercules (who in a Greek setting, should technically be called “Heracles”). In his youth Hercules meets the personifications of Virtue and Vice, who offer him the choice of his destiny.


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Spook Country: Weakest in Gibson’s Bigend trilogy

Spook Country by William Gibson

William Gibson’s Spook Country is set in the same universe as Pattern Recognition, but Hubertus Bigend aside, there is little here that recalls its predecessor. Spook Country is perhaps the weakest entry in Gibson’s Bigend trilogy.

Where Pattern Recognition was told from Cayce Pollard’s point of view, Spook Country is divided between three plotlines that only barely touch each other.


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The Golem’s Eye: Good sequel, lacks a bit of the spark

The Golem’s Eye by Jonathan Stroud

The Golem’s Eye is a solidly enjoyable if slightly disappointing follow-up to The Amulet of Samarkand, which admittedly set itself a very high standard. The book returns to the same setting and characters first introduced in Samarkand, while expanding upon the first novel with a few new characters, one new setting (Prague) and a somewhat more complicated plot.

As in the first book, the major story involves a plot against the government which Nathaniel the young ambitious wizard must confront with his much more wise and experienced (and acidic) djinn,


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Agents of Light and Darkness: Better than Nightside #1

Agents of Light and Darkness by Simon R. Green

Agents of Light and Darkness, the second book in Simon R. Green‘s Nightside, once again follows the almost always abstruse John Taylor, the private detective who is really good at finding things. In Something From the Nightside we learned that John is a former Nightside badass who developed a conscious during his time away from the Nightside and returned to help someone in need. Agents of Light and Darkness follows a similar premise,


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The Dragon’s Son: Doesn’t accomplish much

The Dragon’s Son by Margaret Weis

This typical middle novel concerns the twin sons born to Melisande: Marcus, the son of the King of Idlyswylde, and Ven (short for Vengeance), the son of the dragon who (in the body of the human Grald) raped her.

Most of the book focuses on the development of both boys from age 6 to 16. Neither of them know about the other. Ven is half dragon (his legs are dragon’s legs) and is being raised by Bellona (Melisande died at the end of Mistress of Dragons).


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Goddess of Spring: Light romantic fun

Goddess of Spring by P.C. Cast

I hesitated to read Goddess of Spring. I never did really get into P.C. Cast‘s first novel, Goddess by Mistake, and I love the Persephone myth and didn’t want to be disappointed. But finally I decided to read Goddess of Spring — and liked it!

Lina, a baker from Tulsa, needs a miracle to save her bakery. She finds it in the form of a mysterious, mystical cookbook,


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The House of Storms: Not as strong as first book

The House of Storms by Ian R. MacLeod

The House of Storms takes place roughly a century or so and in the same world as MacLeod’s The Light Ages. Though it could therefore be called a sequel, one needn’t have read The Light Ages to jump into The House of Storms, as the characters and the culture aren’t quite the same. The House of Storms is not as strong as the first book,


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Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

We have reviewed 8298 fantasy, science fiction, and horror books, audiobooks, magazines, comics, and films.

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