Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

Rating: 3.5

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Ghost Station: A dead-planet creepfest

Ghost Station by S.A. Barnes 

Ghost Station, by S.A. Barnes (2024), is a mix of haunted-house and The-killer-is-among- us horror, with a generous ladling of body horror to round it out. The standout of this space-horror novel is the setting, a deserted habitat on a dead and snowy planet, where psychologist Dr. Ophelia Bray is supposed to be observing the Reclamation and Exploration Team who had a team member die mysteriously on an earlier assignment. Bray’s specialty is Eckhart-Reisner Syndrome (ERS),


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The Imposition of Unnecessary Obstacles: Come for the mystery, stay for the great characters

Reposting to include Bill’s new review.

The Imposition of Unnecessary Obstacles by Malka Older

On Jupiter, known as Giant, Mossa, an Investigator, and Pleiti, scholar and instructor, are on a new case, involving the disappearance of a student. As Mossa explores, she finds not one, but seventeen university students, faculty and staff have gone missing. What the two sleuths will uncover in 2024’s The Imposition of Unnecessary Obstacles, by Malka Older, will destabilize Pleiti’s already-shaky faith in the university system,


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Hedgewitch: The first instalment in a magical new series

Hedgewitch by Skye McKenna

Have you ever read a book in which the plot and characterization are best described as “fun but not special” only to completely fall in love with the world in which they’re set? In this case, there’s nothing wrong with the story of Hedgewitch (even if it hews a little too closely to the HARRY POTTER formula for its first few chapters: a magically-gifted child escapes a terrible environment with the help of a flying broomstick and a talking cat) but the construction and ambiance of the setting is just intoxicating.


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Sentinels From Space: 1953… The Year Of The Mutant

Sentinels From Space by Eric Frank Russell

In the science fiction novel of 1953, mutants and their various abilities – especially telepathic – were apparently all the rage. Alfred Bester’s The Demolished Man, the first novel to win the Hugo Award, showed us how difficult a proposition murder could be in a society of mind readers. In Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore’s Mutant, the “Baldies” referred to in the title had to learn how to live among a society that feared and despised them.


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Convergence Problems: A strong collection

Convergence Problems by Wole Talabi

Convergence Problems by Wole Talabi is a collection of sixteen science fiction stories by the author of Shigidi and the Brass Head of Obalufon (one of my most pleasurable reads lately). As with any story collection, Convergence Problems varies in impact of each individual piece, but if I wasn’t blown away by any of the tales save one, the collection as a whole is nicely consistent along the 3-4 scale,


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Daybreak – 2250 A.D. (aka Star Man’s Son): Simple and heartwarming

Daybreak – 2250 A.D. (aka Star Man’s Son) by Andre Norton

It’s 2250 A.D., two hundred years after a nuclear holocaust destroyed most life, knowledge, history, and civilization on Earth. Fors, a young man with a mutation that renders his hair silver and his hearing and sight extra keen, is a descendent of a group of scientists who used to do nuclear research before it all went wrong. Fors desperately wants to become a Star Man like his father who died on a quest ten years ago.


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A Power Unbound: Comprehensively wraps up the overarching storyline

A Power Unbound by Freya Marske

In 2023’s A Power Unbound, Book Three of the LAST BINDING trilogy, Freya Marske resolves the complex and tantalizing issues she set out in the first book. The riddle of the Last Contract is explained, magic (in Britain, at least) is changed forever, and arrogant, broody aristocrat Jack, Lord Hawthorn, gets a boyfriend.

This review may contain mild spoilers for the first two books.

At the end of A Restless Truth,


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The Dragons of Deepwood Fen: An enjoyable start to a new fantasy trilogy

The Dragons of Deepwood Fen by Bradley P. Beaulieu

The Dragons of Deepwood Fen is an enjoyable start to a new fantasy trilogy by Bradley P. Beaulieu. Though the novel has a few issues, Beaulieu offers up an interesting world, a complex political set-up, and a nicely original use of that old fantasy standby, the dragon.

Ancris is the chief city of a long-standing, aggressively imperialistic empire, with the “vassal state” of the Holt having held them off enough to carve out a small amount of self-rule (within the empire) under their political leader known as the Imperator.


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A Restless Truth: Magical hi-jinks on a transatlantic ocean liner

A Restless Truth by Freya Marske

2022’s A Restless Truth is the second book in Freya Marske’s queer magical alternate history series THE LAST BINDING. Book One, A Marvelous Light, had the sparkling prose and deep characterization of a Dorothy Sayers novel. This one is marginally more madcap, as if Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers were characters in a comedy on a transatlantic ocean liner—if they were both women and there was magic and there wasn’t a lot of dancing.


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Memory Reborn: We weren’t expecting a love story

Memory Reborn by David Walton

2023’s Memory Reborn is the third book in David Walton’s LIVING MEMORY series, which started with Living Memory and introduced us to individuals from an advanced society living during the Cretaceous Period, and who happened to be dinosaurs (maniraptors to be precise). Reading Memory Reborn, we were both eager to see how Walton resolved the many, increasingly complex problems the modern-day characters, both human and dinosaur, faced. Neither of us expected the love story to be the plot line that grabbed us the hardest.


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Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

We have reviewed 8301 fantasy, science fiction, and horror books, audiobooks, magazines, comics, and films.

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