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]: 2008


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The Winds of Marble Arch: Hugo award winning novella on audio

The Winds of Marble Arch by Connie Willis

Tom and his wife are visiting London so Tom can attend an academic conference while his wife goes shopping with a friend. When Tom takes the Tube to the conference, he feels a strange wind in the Underground. It’s more than just the normal drafts created by trains coming and going; this wind smells ancient and deadly and makes him feel afraid. Skipping the conference, and forgetting to buy theater tickets, Tom spends the next couple of days riding the Tube all over (under,


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The Secrets of the Cave: Beautiful moments, but not satisfying

The Secrets of the Cave by Phillipa Bowers

The loveliest image in Phillipa Bowers’s The Secrets of the Cave is the form of a woman, carved into the rock of the cave by the flow of the spring waters. At her feet, the pure water gathers in a pool lined with pink and red crystals. The water looks blood-red because of those crystals. The Lady in the cave is never described but frequently evoked in this book, which follows a young woman in England from 1930 until the end of World War II.


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The Glister: A literary horror novel

The Glister by John Burnside

Reading The Glister by John Burnside was like opening a perfectly crafted wooden box and finding inside a set of components, nested into cognac-colored velvet. Some components were made of finely worked gold and brass; some were polished wood; some were ethereal blown glass; some were made of jewels and bone. Usually, components like these fit together to form a whole: a telescope, a kaleidoscope or a theodolite. Try as I would, though, I could not get the components of The Glister to merge into one coherent whole.


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Anathem: Don’t skip the Note

Anathem by Neal Stephenson

In his “Note to the Reader” at the start of Anathem, Neal Stephenson writes “if you are accustomed to reading works of speculative fiction and enjoy puzzling things out on your own, skip this Note.” My advice is this: Don’t skip the Note. In spite of years of speculative fiction reading, I found myself constantly referring to the novel’s chronology and glossary, not to mention online summaries and Stephenson’s acknowledgements page.

Here’s why. Our narrator, Fraa Erasmus,


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The Sacred Book of the Werewolf: Sweet, profound, bitter and funny

The Sacred Book of the Werewolf  by Victor Pelevin

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.

I think I can safely say that I have never read a book quite like The Sacred Book of the Werewolf before. I found the book in the fantasy section, but it had literary novel packaging with a slightly risqué cover (the back and buttocks of a naked woman sporting a plumy fox’s tail).


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Blackness Tower: Slow starting gothic romance

Blackness Tower by Lillian Stewart Carl

For years, Lauren Reay had been haunted by a dream about a castle. Then, when her grandfather was on his deathbed, he received a calendar that included a photograph of the castle and a note about its location, causing Lauren to realize with a shock that her dream castle actually existed and was connected to her family. Now, her grandfather having passed away, Lauren travels to the remote north of Scotland to see the castle, Blackness Tower, and to dig into the tragic family history that led her ancestor to leave the area long ago.


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Mr. Gaunt and Other Uneasy Encounters: An elegant horror collection

Mr. Gaunt by John Langan

We are living in a Golden Age of the short story of the fantastic, as is ably demonstrated by John Langan in his first collection of short stories, Mr. Gaunt and Other Uneasy Encounters. Langan writes the sort of psychological horror that reminds one of both Henry James and M.R. James, as Elizabeth Hand points out in her introduction to this collection. Each story is elegantly written, with craft evident in every sentence.


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Cyberabad Days: Science fiction at its very best

Cyberabad Days by Ian McDonald

Cyberabad Days is a fully realized vision of a near-future India — indeed, of a near-future world in which India is a major player, even more so than today. Ian McDonald’s prose sparkles, the plots of the stories are uniformly tight, but it is the imagination, the picture of the future, that really works here. If you want that “sense of wonder” that science fiction is most famous for, this is the place to find it.

Cyberabad Days is set in the same universe as McDonald’s River of Gods,


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War of the Witches: Poorly served by bad translation

War of the Witches by Maite Carranza

Maite Carranza is a Spanish writer, author of the War of the Witches trilogy, a YA contemporary fantasy. The first book, called Clan of the She-Wolf in Europe, was published in America as War of the Witches in 2005. I’ve checked Amazon and Amazon UK and I cannot find either of the other books, Desert of Ice or Curse of the Odi,


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The House of the Stag: Kage Baker was such a brilliant writer

The House of the Stag by Kage Baker

Kage Baker’s The House of the Stag is a stand-alone novel set in the same world as The Anvil of the World and The Bird of the River. In this story, the pacifist Yendri tribe has been enslaved by cruel invaders, and the half-demon foundling named Gard is the only one who will fight back. When he’s exiled from the tribe, Gard is captured by mages who live underground and set to work with their bound demon slaves.


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Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

We have reviewed 8284 fantasy, science fiction, and horror books, audiobooks, magazines, comics, and films.

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