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]: 2014


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Mistress of Terror and Other Stories: Alabama getaway

Mistress of Terror and Other Stories by Wyatt Blassingame

By the time a reader gets to the fourth and final volume in Ramble House’s series of books dedicated to Wyatt Blassingame, he/she will almost inevitably have come to the realization that the Alabama-born author surely was a master of that peculiar horror subgenre known as “weird-menace” fiction. And indeed, those first three volumes – The Tongueless Horror and Other Stories: The Weird Tales of Wyatt Blassingame, Volume One,


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Food for the Fungus Lady and Other Stories: Ten Exemplars of the Weird-Menace Genre

Food for the Fungus Lady and Other Stories by Ralston Shields

Gathering together 10 remarkably grisly tales from the pages of three of the most lurid of the pulp magazines, Food for the Fungus Lady and Other Stories is the first collection of Ralston Shields’ work ever assembled. Released in 2014 by the Dancing Tuatara Press imprint of Ramble House, the book shines a long-overdue spotlight on an author whom John Pelan, in his introduction, calls the greatest writer of “weird-menace” fiction on a story-by-story basis.


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Sleep Donation: A strange and thought-provoking tale

Reposting to include Marion’s new review.

Sleep Donation by Karen Russell

In the near future, an insomnia epidemic has struck the United States. It’s caused by a dysfunction in orexin and those who acquire it can’t sleep. Eventually, they die. But there is a therapy that can help prolong life and, in some cases, even cure people. Donors can contribute sleep to those afflicted with the disorder. Babies make the best donors because their sleep isn’t contaminated by nightmares.

Trish is the top recruiter for a charity organization that finds sleep donors.


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Watermark: Mythic fiction with lush prose

Watermark by E. Catherine Tobler

Watermark (2014), by E. Catherine Tobler, is the story of Pip, a kelpie who is cast out of the Otherworld of the fae and into the human realm. Before that, she was being held in a tower in iron chains. She remembers very little before that; she doesn’t know what she was being punished for, or why she now finds herself in the town of Peak, Colorado, or why there was a dead girl lying next to her when she got there.


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The Girls at the Kingfisher Club: Twelve dancing princesses meet the Roaring Twenties

The Girls at the Kingfisher Club by Genevieve Valentine

As far as fairy tale retellings go, mingling the tale of The Twelve Dancing Princesses with the 1920’s New York speakeasies makes a lovely kind of sense. The prohibition, the dance halls, the high society – it all fits perfectly with the story of twelve princesses who sneak out of their rooms every night, much to the bewilderment of their father when he sees their worn-out shoes every morning.

Genevieve Valentine transports the familiar beats of the story to a Fifth Avenue townhouse in the Roaring Twenties,


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The Woods (Volumes 1-9): A wonderfully bizarre tale

The Woods (Volumes 1-9) by James Tynion IV is a science fiction coming-of-age story that tells a wonderfully bizarre tale across thirty-six issues (four issues per volume). A school in our world gets transported to another planet or dimension, we’re not sure which. We also do not know who is behind this event or what their reasons are. This comic book series is as much an adventure story as it is coming-of-age, and even though adults — teachers and administration — get transported along with the kids, it is a group of high school students who take the lead,


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Marcher: Possesses bite and purpose

Marcher by Chris Beckett

In 2008, Chris Beckett published the novel Marcher to little acclaim. A later release, Dark Eden (2012) met a much better response (it was nominated for the BSFA and won the Arthur C. Clarke Award), and Beckett decided to thoroughly revise his earlier novel and re-release it. Using his five additional years of experience, he honed in on the story he had wanted to tell and republished Marcher in 2014. With the original version checking in at roughly 300 pages and the revised version 200 pages,


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Revival: King channels Lovecraft

Revival by Stephen King

Revival is a very modern Stephen King novel that channels H.P. Lovecraft at his cyclopean best. His key characters are bold, if not as colorful as some of his best work, and his themes are of familiar and well-trodden King territory. Often hammered by critics (professional and amateur alike) for his weak endings, King builds up to a conclusion that is strong and memorable. It’s monstrous, dark and creepy as hell. It’s pure Lovecraft and beautiful in its austerity.


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The Crystal Heart: An interesting retelling of a familiar tale

The Crystal Heart by Sophie Masson

I’ve always enjoyed Sophie Masson‘s books, and it would seem she’s written something of an unofficial trilogy based on the stories of Rapunzel (The Crystal Heart), Cinderella (Moonlight & Ashes) and Beauty and the Beast (Scarlet in the Snow). All of them are based on old familiar fairy tales, but take the opportunity to flesh out the characters and expand the tales into fully-fledged adventures,


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Servants of the Storm: Hurricanes and demons in Savannah

Servants of the Storm by Delilah S. Dawson

I spent a few months on the Mississippi Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina. The disaster I saw was staggering, and the soul of the area was absolutely clear. There were a lot of frayed and frazzled, dark emotions, but there was also a lot of hope.

Because of that experience, Servants of the Storm (2014) has been on my radar for a while. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was interested in seeing how a talented author could take a natural disaster and turn it into a young adult novel.


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Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

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