Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

Category: Expanded Universe

Our Expanded Universe column features essays from authors and editors of fiction, poetry, and non-fiction, as well as from established readers and reviewers, talking about anything SFF related that interests us. It might be broad themes such as “death” or “gender,” stylistic or technical issues like “how magical systems work” or “how do you build an unreliable narrator in a fantasy world?,” genre issues like “why is SFF ghettoized in the literary world and is this necessarily a bad thing?” or “what is grimdark and why is it important?,” a response to the work of a particular author or group of authors, or anything else that comes to mind. We’re interested in raising intriguing questions, broadening knowledge, and making meaningful distinctions. If you have an SFF speculation, obsession, area of expertise, or just want to climb on your soapbox, send Kat a query. Please include your name, e-mail address, and a short bio along with a brief summary of your intended essay.
We are interested in publishing diverse writers. We welcome writers of color and other groups.

Recent Posts

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For David Walton, it’s all about the dinosaurs. (Giveaway!)

Today we welcome David Walton, whose science fiction thriller Living Memory was just released on October 18th (here’s my review). This is the seventh novel of David’s we’ve reviewed and in the past he’s been gracious enough to sit down with us (so to speak) to answer some questions about his books and his writing in general.

This time, we’re not doing any of the talking. Instead, David has gifted us with an essay about how Living Memory, at least in part,


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Greg Hickey asks: What If There Were No Diseases? (Giveaway)

Today we welcome Greg Hickey, a former international professional baseball player and current forensic scientist, endurance athlete, and award-winning screenwriter and author. His debut novel Our Dried Voices was a finalist for Foreword Reviews’ INDIES Science Fiction Book of the Year Award. The novel depicts a future colony where humans live without disease or hunger, where every want is satisfied automatically, and there is no need for labor, struggle or thought. Interested readers can start Our Dried Voices for free at Greg Hickey’s website. Greg lives in Chicago with his wife,


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The Girl Who Was Plugged In: James Tiptree, Jr.’s 19th Century Monster in 20th Century Science Fiction

Terry Weyna, a FanLit staffer since December 2010, has often wished she had pursued a Ph.D. in English rather than a J.D., but recognizes that she’d have the same feeling, but in reverse, had she done so. As a hobby, she occasionally commits literary criticism, as the following close textual analysis of The Girl Who Was Plugged In by James Tiptree, Jr. demonstrates. You can read The Girl Who Was Plugged In here. We’d love to hear your thoughts on Tiptree’s work.

The Girl Who Was Plugged In: James Tiptree,


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Neuroscience and Fiction: Two Sides of the Same Coin (Giveaway!)

Today we welcome Livia Blackburne whose young adult novel Rosemarked has recently been released (here’s my review). Livia is a neuroscientist and, since we have two neuroscientists on our team here at FanLit, we asked her how her background influences her writing. Livia says that she views neuroscience and fiction as two sides of the same coin.

One random commenter with a U.S. address will win a copy of Rosemarked

 

NEUROSCIENCE AND FICTION: Two Sides of the Same Coin

People are often surprised when I tell them that I earned a PhD in neuroscience before I became a young adult author,


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The Whymer Maze from Lamentation to Hymn

Today we welcome Ken Scholes, author of the PSALMS OF ISAAK series, which began with Lamentation and concludes this month with the fifth volume, Hymn. I have enjoyed this series, especially its internal mythology and interesting characters.

One randomly chosen commenter will win a copy of Hymn!

The Whymer Maze from Lamentation to Hymn

I think sometime around Canticle or Antiphon,


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So You Want to Write a Time-Travel Story

Today we welcome Kari Maaren, a Toronto-area writer, academic, and award-winning musician and cartoonist. She created the webcomics West of Bathurst and It Never Rains, and is also known as a musician for her popular song “Beowulf Pulled Off My Arm.” Weave a Circle Round is her first novel. Learn more about her at www.karimaaren.com.

One random commenter in the US or Canada wins a trade paperback copy of Weave a Circle Round.

I don’t see my upcoming novel as a time-travel story;


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Inverting Utopia

Today we welcome Greg Hickey, a former international professional baseball player and current forensic scientist, endurance athlete, and award-winning screenwriter and author. His debut novel Our Dried Voices was a finalist for Foreword Reviews’ INDIES Science Fiction Book of the Year Award. It depicts a future colony where humans live without disease or hunger, where every want is satisfied automatically, and there is no need for labor, struggle or thought. Interested readers can start Our Dried Voices for free at Greg Hickey’s website. Greg lives in Chicago with his wife,


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Dark Fantasy Meets Real-Life Disease: What I Learned from Cancer about Writing, and Vice Versa

Today, we welcome Tom Doyle, the author of a contemporary fantasy trilogy from Tor Books. In the first book, American Craftsmen, two modern magician-soldiers fight their way through the legacies of Poe and Hawthorne as they attempt to destroy an undying evil — and not kill each other first. In the sequel, The Left-Hand Way, the craftsmen are hunters and hunted in a global race to save humanity from a new occult threat out of America’s past. The final book of the trilogy, War and Craft,


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Expanded Universe: Mediums & Hysterics by Kathryn Troy

Welcome back to Kathryn Troy, an historian turned novelist who, last time she was here, gave us An Undead History. She has taught college courses on Horror Cinema and presented her research on the weird, unnatural, and horrific to academic conferences across the country Her nonfiction book, The Specter of the Indian: Race, Gender and Ghosts in American Séances, 1848-1890, has just been released by SUNY Press. Her historical expertise in the supernatural and the Gothic informs her fiction at every turn. Her genres of choice include dark fantasy,


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Theodora Goss: 4 Misconceptions About Victorian Women

Today, Fantasy Literature welcomes Theodora Goss, who stopped by Fantasy Literature to talk about her research and writing process for The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, a late-Victorian-era murder mystery starring some familiar faces from classic works of fiction — and which posed all sorts of interesting problems regarding the accurate portrayal of both men and women of that time period.

And we’ve got one copy of The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter to give away to a lucky commenter!


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Linnea Hartsuyker: Five Surprising Things I Learned About Vikings

Today Linnea Hartsuyker stops by Fantasy Literature to share some interesting facts about Vikings, which she heavily researched for her debut novel, The Half-Drowned King (which I loved). This novel brings to life the figures and circumstances surrounding Harald Fairhair, the ruler who unified the lesser kingdoms or Norway, and who happens to be a great-great-etc. ancestor of Mr. Hartsuyker herself! We have three copies of The Half-Drowned King to give away, so please comment below for a chance to win!

Five Surprising Things I Learned About Vikings

When I set out to write The Half-Drowned King,


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Expanded Universe: Demonic Muscle Cars and Undead Motorcycle Gangs

Laurence MacNaughton entered the urban fantasy universe with his DRU JASPER series, It Happened One Doomsday and A Kiss Before Doomsday. The adventures of crystal witch Dru Jasper and her magical friends as they race to stop Doomsday has a neat twist; demons and heroes who drive muscle machines, particularly a demonic car named Hellbringer.

We asked Laurence to tell us how the unholy 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona came to be, and he wrote us this guest column explaining the car’s origins.


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The accidental novel, and other surprises (giveaway!)

Today Bradley W. Schenck stops by Fantasy Literature to discuss his writing process for Slaves of the Switchboard of Doom, an illustrated retro-futuristic novel that pays homage to the Golden Age of science fiction while embracing twenty-first century sensibilities. We’re giving away a hardcover copy of the book as well as a Retropolis-themed coffee mug to one lucky commenter! (Oh, and please read my review of Slaves of the Switchboard of Doom.)

When I look back to 2012 I don’t know when,


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Expanded Universe: An Undead History by Kathryn Troy

Today we welcome Kathryn Troy, an historian turned novelist. She has taught college courses on Horror Cinema and presented her research on the weird, unnatural, and horrific to academic conferences across the country Her nonfiction book, The Specter of the Indian: Race, Gender and Ghosts in American Séances, 1848-1890, is forthcoming from SUNY Press. Her historical expertise in the supernatural and the Gothic informs her fiction at every turn. Her genres of choice include dark fantasy, romance, horror, and historical fiction. She lives in New York with her husband and two darling children.


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Robyn Bennis: My path to publication

Robyn Bennis’s debut novel is The Guns Above, which blends steampunk, airships, and some of the saltiest dialogue we’ve read so far this year. Marion and I agreed that it’s a tremendously fun book, and today Robyn stops by Fantasy Literature to talk about her path to publication and her abiding love of a classic sci-fi television series.

We’ve got one copy of The Guns Above to give away to a random commenter, too!

My path to publication is the most exciting and unlikely story you’ll ever hear.


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How reviewing for FanLit helped my writing career (Giveaway!)

Today we welcome back Dr. Kate Lechler who retired from FanLit so she could focus on her writing career.

I’m a writer and a teacher. By day, I teach English literature at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, MS, and at night, I write about genetically engineered dragons and unicorns. My work has appeared in Podcastle, Metaphorosis, and Arsenika, and is forthcoming from Superstition Review. From 2014-2016, I reviewed SFF for FanLit but in December I retired so I could concentrate on my fiction.


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A Day in the Life of Researching Irish Mythology and Celts

Today Erika Lewis stops by Fantasy Literature to discuss the research process for her Celtic mythology-inspired debut YA novel, Game of Shadows, which, in my review, I called “action-packed” and “perfect for YA readers … who enjoy high fantasy.” And we’ve got one copy of Game of Shadows to give away to a randomly chosen commenter!

I didn’t set out on writing a book steeped in Irish Celtic mythology. Game of Shadows was about Ethan Makkai, a Los Angeles high school kid cursed (his word,


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Writing What We Know (Or Not)

David B. Coe / D.B. Jackson is the award-winning author of nineteen fantasy novels. As David B. Coe, he writes THE CASE FILES OF JUSTIS FEARSSON, a contemporary urban fantasy series from Baen Books, including Spell Blind, His Father’s Eyes, and Shadow’s Blade. Under the name D.B. Jackson, he writes THE THIEFTAKER CHRONICLES, a historical urban fantasy from Tor Books that includes Thieftaker, Thieves’ Quarry,


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The Function of the Blade

A. J. Smith has been devising the worlds, histories and characters of THE LONG WAR CHRONICLES for more than a decade. He was born in Birmingham, UK, and works in secondary education. He is the author of The Black Guard (October 1, 2016) and The Dark Blood (December 1, 2016) from Head of Zeus, distributed by Trafalgar Square Publishing.

Swords are big chunks of toughened, often sharpened, metal. They have one practical application – to cut or pierce flesh. Some are better at cleaving or crushing armour, some are designed to be light and others designed to be duelling weapons –


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Aliens 101

Tade Thompson lives and works in the south of England. His first novel Making Wolf won the 2016 Kitschies Golden Tentacle award for best debut novel. He has written a number of short stories including “Budo” at Escape Pod. His horror novella Gnaw will be released in December from Solaris Books. Rosewater comes out 15th November, but is available for pre-order now.

Look, let’s just get this out of the way right now: Aliens have been done.


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Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

We have reviewed 8263 fantasy, science fiction, and horror books, audiobooks, magazines, comics, and films.

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