Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

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The Birds: Book vs. film

The Birds by Frank Baker

In 1963, Alfred Hitchcock, following the cinematic marvels Vertigo (1958), North by Northwest (1959) and Psycho (1960), brought to the screen his fourth masterpiece in a row, The Birds. That latter film, I had long believed, was based on a short story from 1952 by London-born author Daphne du Maurier, also called “The Birds,” and indeed, at the very beginning of the 1963 film a title card does tell us “From the story by Daphne du Maurier.” It is only recently,


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The Snorkel: Mandy, as candy, is dandy

The Snorkel directed by Guy Green

A little-known picture sporting an amusing title, The Snorkel yet reveals itself to be an excellent suspenser; a genuine sleeper that may be finding some latter-day acclaim thanks to the great-looking print in the Hammer “Icons of Suspense” DVD box set. Released in 1958 by Hammer Studios, shortly after the famed British filmmaking independent began its reign of the Gothic horror niche with that year’s The Curse of Frankenstein, the picture is a tale of murder and suspense without being an actual mystery.


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MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios: Even-handed, highly readable, always interesting, sometimes fascinating

MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios by Joanna Robinson, Dave Gonzales, Gavin Edwards

MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios, by Joanna Robinson, Dave Gonzales, Gavin Edwards is an even-handed, highly readable, always interesting, sometimes fascinating history of Marvel movie-making, starting from their early days of licensing characters to formation of their own studio, to reclaiming some of their most popular characters, to merging their TV and films under one roof to their purchase by Disney up to their most recently released films and TV shows in 2022.


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Tenebrae: “It’s so nice and glooooomy”

Tenebrae by Ernest G. Henham

A number of literary works from some of my favorite authors are celebrating their quasquicentennial, or 125th anniversary, this year. Released in 1898 were H. G. WellsThe War of the Worlds, Henry James’ novella “The Turn of the Screw,” Jules Verne’s The Mighty Orinoco, and H. Rider Haggard’s Doctor Therne. Those first two titles,


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What Dreams May Come: Dead on arrival

What Dreams May Come by Richard Matheson

It’s the big question; one that has been weighing on mankind for millennia now … namely, what happens to us when we buy the farm? You know … croak, kick the bucket, breathe one’s last, check out, cash in one’s chips, bite the dust, ride into the sunset, pass on, pass away, give up the ghost, meet one’s maker, pass over, perish … in a word, die. It’s a conundrum that many people have wondered about once or twice – or 10,000 times – during their stay here on Earth;


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Shigidi and The Brass Head of Obalufon: A fresh addition to the fantasy heist genre

Shigidi and The Brass Head of Obalufon by Wole Talabi 

Shigidi and The Brass Head of Obalufon by Wole Talabi is a new addition to the fantasy heist genre, one that brings a sense of freshness due to its backdrop of Yoruba folktale/myth and a sense of depth thanks to its focus on character, as well as a moving close.

The narrative is set in a world of gods and spirits who have organized themselves into companies and regions and who are,


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The Promise of Air: “Hey, Joe…”

The Promise of Air by Algernon Blackwood

Algernon Blackwood’s novels The Human Chord (1910) and The Centaur (1911) constituted two of my finest reading experiences of 2022, so it was with great anticipation that I looked forward to my next experience courtesy of the author popularly known as “The Ghost Man.” But that nickname, it seems to me, has done Blackwood something of a disservice, because scares and shudders were far from being the writer’s only concern.


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Beast Or Man? Jungle Boogie

Beast Or Man? by Sean M’Guire

A little while back, I shared some thoughts here on FanLit regarding American author David V. Reed’s unforgettable 1943 novel Return of the Whispering Gorilla. In this truly sui generis creation, an army of gorillas is brought together by Plumbutter – a 400-pound member of their own species with the surgically implanted brain of a human male – and fights a regiment of Nazis in equatorial Africa. But, as it turns out, 13 years earlier, on the other side of the pond,


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A Thousand Recipes for Revenge: Magic simmers in this action adventure

A Thousand Recipes for Revenge by Beth Cato

Set in a solidly defined second world, Beth Cato’s A Thousand Recipes For Revenge (2023) gives us political intrigue, rising stakes and a bubbling action adventure steeped in a new, culinary magical system.

Adamantine Garland, who goes by Ada, is—or was—a chef, a magical adept who was part of the army of Verdania. When the king of Verdania betrayed her (and others) and disavowed her marriage, Ada deserted, holding a secret close to her heart.


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The Fire Spirits: Fire on the mountain

The Fire Spirits by Paul Busson

During the course of four of my recent reviews here on FanLit – for Walter S. Masterman’s The Yellow Mistletoe (1930), Mark Hansom’s The Shadow on the House (1934), R. R. Ryan’s Echo of a Curse (1939) and H. B. Gregory’s Dark Sanctuary (1940) – I had cause to refer to editor/author Karl Edward Wagner’s highly regarded list of 39 of his favorite horror books,


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Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

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