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]: 2015.01


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Edge of Dark: Humanity vs. the natural and the unnatural

Edge of Dark by Brenda Cooper

In Edge of Dark, Brenda Cooper comes back to the world she created in her RUBY’S SONG duology. In it, humanity has driven AI robots to the edge of the galaxy — to the titular “Edge of Dark” — and maintained their own perimeter of ships and space stations, called The Glittering, around habitable planets, keeping warmth and life to themselves. However, the robots (called, ominously, The Next) have come back, invading a lone scientific space station,


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Dove Arising: Did Not Finish

Dove Arising by Karen Bao

Dove Arising is a new YA science fiction novel from Karen Bao, and one which I persevered through despite a host of issues, until I reached the last fifth or so when things really began to go off the rails. I pushed on, admittedly skimming a bit, thinking “I’m this far in, I can finish,” but the cumulative effect was just too much and I ended up giving up about forty pages from the end.

The setting is one of a series of bases on the moon,


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Deadeye: Entertaining, but not too innovative

Deadeye by William C. Dietz

Deadeye is a new novel, the first in THE MUTANT FILES series by William C. Dietz. After reading some of Dietz’s LEGION OF THE DAMNED books I was more than curious about what his work in a different genre would be like. Deadeye feels like a post-apocalyptic zombie novel mixed with a police investigation novel: everyone is still some version of human and the hero is a police detective.

Cassandra Lee is a detective working in a special division of the Los Angeles police department.


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Impulse: A familiar throwback to the Golden Age of sci-fi

Impulse by Dave Bara

Impulse is Dave Bara’s debut novel, published earlier this month by DAW. The cover copy starts off like this:

Following in the tradition of such top science fiction writers as Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Gordon Dickson, Frank Herbert and Joe Haldeman, Impulse, the first novel of THE LIGHTSHIP CHRONICLES, launches readers on a star-spanning journey of discovery, diplomacy and danger.


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The Case of the Missing Moonstone: This alternate history is loads of fun

The Case of the Missing Moonstone by Jordan Stratford, illustrated by Kelly Murphy

Right up front, Jordan Stratford advises the young readers of The Case of the Missing Moonstone (2015), the first book in his WOLLSTONECRAFT DETECTIVE AGENCY series, that he is playing fast and loose with history. Ada Byron (also called Ada Lovelace), Lord Byron’s daughter, was eighteen years younger than Mary Godwin, not three, but Stratford thought these two brilliant young women working together and solving mysteries would be fun, so he changed the timeline.


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Karen Memory: A purely fun mashup of steampunk and Weird West

Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear

If — like me — you find steampunk to be a problematic genre, take heart: Elizabeth Bear has created the cure, and it is called Karen Memory. This is a rollicking good story, full of period-appropriate details and flights of fancy, nefarious plots, honest romance, and women who say things like “I gotta get to my sewing machine” and mean it as a call to arms.

Our heroine is Karen Memery, a “seamstress” who works in Madame Damnable’s Hôtel Mon Cherie,


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The Whispering Swarm: Incandescent prose gives way to boredom

The Whispering Swarm by Michael Moorcock

“… There was Blackfriars Bridge and the rich waters of the river, marbled by rainbow oil, poisonous and invigorating, buzzing like speed. What immune systems that environment gave us! It was an energy shield out of a science fiction story. The city lived through all attacks and so did we. Our bit of it – almost the eye of the storm – was scarcely touched. I grew up knowing I would survive. We all knew it.”

Michael Moorcock is one of Those Names in the SFF field.


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The Just City: Plato’s Republic in Atlantis, with Greek gods and robots

The Just City by Jo Walton

When you’re Apollo, son of Zeus, and a nymph prefers to turn herself into a tree rather than have sex with you, you know it’s time to think seriously about the life you’re leading.

After asking his sister Athena why the nymph Daphne didn’t want to have sex with him, a notion that perplexes him initially (for, as a god, Apollo isn’t used to people not wanting to have sex with him) he decides to reincarnate in the body of a newborn child to become a part of Athena’s latest experiment: An actualized version of Plato’s Republic run by people from all human eras who have dreamed of living in Plato’s creation,


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The Accidental Alchemist: Not recommended

The Accidental Alchemist by Gigi Pandian

The Accidental Alchemist by Gigi Pandian is the first in a new mystery series; unfortunately, it didn’t leave me much interested in reading the next two. Pandian has some decent ideas to work with, but issues with plausibility, pacing, choice of detail, and style had me thinking about giving up from about the halfway point on. To be honest, had it not been a review book, I almost certainly would have, making this one a “not recommended” from me.

Zoe Faust,


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Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

We have reviewed 8266 fantasy, science fiction, and horror books, audiobooks, magazines, comics, and films.

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