Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

Rating: 4.5

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Giants In The Dust: Oliver shines in his final sci-fi novel

Giants In The Dust by Chad Oliver

At this late date, the authors who have penned works in the fields of science fiction and fantasy must number well into the multiple thousands, but the ones with an actual background in science, who have used their education and scientific training to both inform and add veracity to their stories … ah, they are indeed amongst a much more limited crew. Let’s see … Isaac Asimov was, of course, an associate professor of biochemistry. Hal Clement had degrees in both chemistry and astronomy,


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Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries: A roller-coaster of a romantic romp

Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett

The first book in the EMILY WILDE series is a lively, lovely romp through an alternate Europe, with faeries, magic, lost kingdoms, irascible scholars and their irritating colleagues. Though completely different in tone and subject matter, Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries (2023), by Heather Fawcett, reminded me a bit of Marie Brennan’s LADY TRENT series. Both series feature a woman scientist and a story transmitted via reports or journal entries. There the similarities end,


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Someone You Can Build a Nest In: Can a monster and a monster hunter find love?

Someone You Can Build a Nest In by John Wiswell

Relationships are hard. They may be even harder when one person’s definition of love is implanting their eggs in the beloved, so that the hatchlings eat their way out of their parent. For Shesheshen, the protagonist of John Wiswell’s Someone You Can Build a Nest In (2024), this is how her species defines it. Now that she’s fallen in love with Homily, a human woman, the egg-implantation issue isn’t the only obstacle on their road to happiness.

Shesheshen is a protoplasmic creature,


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City of Bones: A revised edition of Wells’s first novel

City of Bones by Martha Wells

Tordotcom Books has reissued Martha Wells’s 1995 fantasy novel City of Bones, updated and expanded. In an interview, Wells explained that she took a few opportunities to make the writing better but didn’t change the book substantially for this edition.

I knew who Martha Wells was, but until the MURDERBOT series I hadn’t read anything by her. This is the second fantasy novel of hers I have read. City of Bones is a pleasing read,


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The Magic Order (Book 3): More magic and mystery

The Magic Order (Book 3) by Mark Millar (writer), Gigi Cavenago (artist), Valentina Napolitano (colorist), Clem Robins (letterer) 

Book Three of The Magic Order by Mark Millar features wonderful art by Gigi Cavenago and takes us further along on the journey started in the first two books: The focus is still on the Moonstone family, particularly on Cordelia Moonstone, who is the leader of the Magic Order. This book ends on a cliffhanger, so Book Four will be important to read to get a full conclusion to the story.


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The Star of Life: Flash-frozen for extra freshness

The Star of Life by Edmond Hamilton

Anyone who has delved into the writings of Radium Age/Golden Age sci-fi author Edmond Hamilton will be able to tell you that there is a huge difference in both tone and quality between his earliest work and his efforts of some 20 years later. Those early stories and novels were, generally speaking, crudely written fare that yet won the reader over by dint of their great sweep, gusto, imagination, color, and epic scale. But a funny thing happened to the quality of Hamilton’s writing starting in the mid-1940s,


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The Book of Love: A book only Kelly Link could have written

The Book of Love: A Novel by Kelly Link

The Book of Love (2024) is both a book only Kelly Link could have written and a book only Kelly Link could have written. What I mean by that is that the book has Link’s DNA all over it, all the elements and feel of a Kelly Link story, from statues coming to life and walking off their plinths to ancient temples rising alongside a sleepy seaside town to beautifully stunning transformations and transmutations. There are cats of course.


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Witch King: Good adventure in a lush fantasy world

Witch King by Martha Wells

2023’s Witch King, by Martha Wells, is the first book in a new fantasy series, THE RISING WORLD. In the opening pages we meet Kaiisteron, who goes by Kai, the Witch King of the title. Kai awakens in a strange place, unable to move. He can mentally contact his friend Ziedi, but their magical connection should let him know exactly where she is, and he can’t find her. He can’t find his own body, either.

From there,


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The Truth of the Aleke: A fantastic read

The Truth of the Aleke by Moses Ose Utomi

The Truth of the Aleke is Moses Ose Utomi’s sequel to his fantastic The Lies of the Ajungo, which I said in my review was “as close to perfect a modern parable as I’ve read in some time.” I’m happy to report that if the follow-up isn’t quite as “perfect,” it’s nonetheless a fantastic read, and one that makes me oh so eager to see how Utomi wraps up this loosely connected trilogy set in the Forever Desert.


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The Butcher of the Forest: Unsettling, bittersweet, and worthy

The Butcher of the Forest by Premee Mohamed

The Butcher of the Forest (2024) is a dark fantastical novella by Premee Mohamed that hearkens back to the original old folktales by refusing to sand off the edges of the genre to make it safe or cozy. More faerie than fairy, as much horror as fantasy, it is as unsettling and bittersweet a read as it is a worthy one.

The tale is set in an empire ruled by The Tyrant, “the man with a thousand names and a thousand cities under his bootheel … bringer of death,


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Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

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