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SFF Author: Joan Aiken

Joan Aiken fantasy author(1924-2004)
Joan Aiken was the daughter of Pulitzer prize winning poet Conrad Aiken. She wrote over one hundred books for children and adults. In the UK she received an MBE from the Queen for her services to Children’s Literature. Visit The Wonderful World of Joan Aiken.


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The Wolves of Willoughby Chase: The First of the Wolves Saga

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase is the first book in the Wolves Saga by Joan Aiken, a series of books set in an alternative 18th century England in the reign of King James III. In this altered history a large number of wolves migrate from the bitter cold of Europe and Russia into Britain via the Channel Tunnel, and terrorize the inhabitants in their continuing hunting.

The story is set at Willoughby Chase,


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Black Hearts in Battersea: Fantastic adventure

Black Hearts in Battersea by Joan Aiken

Black Hearts in Battersea is the second book in Joan Aiken‘s beloved Wolves saga, beginning with The Wolves of Willoughby Chase and continuing in Nightbirds in Nantucket. Each book can be read separately and out of order (i.e., each is a separate story, not one big story broken into several parts), linked by re-appearing characters, plot lines and locations. Each is set in a cleverly devised “parallel universe”


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Nightbirds on Nantucket: A rich and exciting read

Nightbirds on Nantucket by Joan Aiken

When we last saw Dido Twite at the end of Black Hearts in Battersea she was going down with the Dark Dew ship, swept away from her friends Simon and Justin in the middle of the ocean. Whilst the two boys were forced to go on without her (eventually preventing an assassination attempt on the Duke of Battersea), Dido’s fate remained a mystery, that Joan Aiken now resolves for expectant readers in the third book in her Wolves Saga.


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The Cuckoo Tree: A deeper, more scary adventure than usual

The Cuckoo Tree by Joan Aiken

After her light-hearted adventures on the island of Nantucket in the previous installment in Joan Aiken’s Wolves Saga, Dido Twite comes up against darker enemies once she reaches English soil once more. At the end of the last book, Dido left Nantucket with Captain Hughes, who since then has become rather ill. When the carriage they’re riding in overtips thanks to a dodgy cabby-driver, Dido goes for help and soon finds herself in the company of more weird and wonderful acquaintances — so many in fact,


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A Necklace of Raindrops: Eight charming children’s bedtime stories

A Necklace of Raindrops by Joan Aiken

Joan Aiken’s sweet collection of eight short children’s bedtime stories, originally published in 1968, has just been released in audio format by Listening Library. The audiobook is just over 1.5 hours long and is excellently and lovingly narrated by the author’s daughter, Lizza Aiken. It contains these stories:

“A Necklace of Raindrops”  ̶  Every year on her birthday, the North Wind gives Laura Jones a new raindrop for her necklace. Each raindrop gives Laura a special power. When a jealous schoolmate steals the necklace,


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A Touch of Chill: Characters teeter on the edge of reality

A Touch of Chill by Joan Aiken

Joan Aiken is one of my favourite authors, best known among children as the writer of the alternative-history series The Wolves Chronicles. She is also a writer for adults, and the same sense of imagination, wit and mystery found in her earlier books are found in this collected anthology of creepy and twisted short stories. Although the title claims that these are stories of “horror, suspense and fantasy,” this is a little misleading. It’s not that these stories aren’t any of these things,


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The 2012 Short Story Nominees for the Shirley Jackson Award

These horror stories are so good that they’ve been nominated for a Shirley Jackson Award. Read all about them, then try to find them for yourself and figure out which one will be the winner before the awards are handed out at Readercon, July 12-15, 2012.

The Shirley Jackson Awards are awarded “for outstanding achievement in the literature of psychological suspense, horror, and the dark fantastic.” They are one of my favorite awards each year, along with the World Fantasy Awards. The Shirley Jackson Awards single out the Weird fiction that I enjoy most: the fiction that straddles boundaries,


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Next SFF Author: James Aitcheson
Previous SFF Author: Saladin Ahmed

We have reviewed 8327 fantasy, science fiction, and horror books, audiobooks, magazines, comics, and films.

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