Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

Rating: 5

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The Truth Against the World: Dystopian, intriguing and deeply moving

The Truth Against the World by David Corbett

If you like Irish folklore and enjoyed Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, and/or The Road by Cormac McCarthy, then you owe it to yourself to read David Corbett’s 2023 novel The Truth Against the World.

Corbett comes out of the crime novel tradition, and The Truth Against the World brings elements of that, and, as always, an interesting pairing of protagonists. In this case,


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Fenris and Mott: A middle-grade book about Ragnarok and keeping your word

Fenris and Mott by Greg Van Eekhout

Fenris and Mott is Greg Van Eekhout’s charming middle grade fantasy-adventure, published in 2022. Mott—short for Martha—is a Pennsylvanian recently uprooted and transplanted to southern California, and Fenris is… well, Fenris is the wolf from Norse mythology, destined to eat the moon and usher in endless winter, endless darkness, and the age of the sword.

Mott is no stranger to broken promises, and when the book opens, she has come off a long string of them. Her absentee father is famous for making promises he doesn’t keep.


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Mind MGMT: A work of genius, a masterpiece

Mind MGMT Omnibus Editions Parts 1-3 by Matt Kindt (story and art)

Mind MGMT by Matt Kindt is simply one of the best comic book series ever created in my opinion. It takes some commitment to read since it is thirty-six issues long, collected in three omnibus editions with twelve issues making up each part. However, the time spent is worth it. Originally published monthly from 2012 to 2015, Mind MGMT is in the crime fiction genre, specifically the spy subgenre,


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Thornhedge: You will sink into this story

Thornhedge by T. Kingfisher

Thornhedge (2023), by T. Kingfisher, is a bittersweet fairy tale that starts off on familiar ground and shifts, making us consider who defines the monsters and the heroes. This brief novella reads as smooth as cream, and the story seems simple, but it is not.

Toadling is a fairy, left to maintain a hedge of thorns around a tower, where an enchanted maiden sleeps. From this, you might think you know the story. Toadling is dutiful, strengthening the thorn hedge to discourage the eager knights and princes who come at first,


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Eve: How the Female Body Drove 200 Million Years of Human Evolution

Eve: How the Female Body Drove 200 Million Years of Human Evolution by Cat Bohannon

In Eve: How the Female Body Drove 200 Million Years of Human Evolution, Cat Bohannon sets herself an ambitious task as evidenced by the sub-title — How the Female Body Drove 200 Million Years of Human Evolution — and I’m happy to report she’s more than up to the job, turning out out a work that impresses across the board: in information and organization, in scholarship and research, in voice and wit,


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A Haunting on the Hill: Do not read it after dark!

A Haunting on the Hill by Elizabeth Hand

First, a warning: If you are alone while you are reading this book, do not read it after it gets dark. I don’t care how good your motion-sensor lights, your security system and your Ring doorbell are; just don’t do it to yourself. Trust me.

2023’s A Haunting on the Hill, by master writer Elizabeth Hand, is an indirect sequel to another master writer’s classic work, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House.


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Holly: King’s scariest villains

Holly by Stephen King

If you participate in Bluesky or X (formerly Twitter), you may follow the account called The Midnight Society. If you’ve run across their delightful posts, which imagine conversations among various horror writers throughout history, you might have seen a recent one which featured imaginary J.K. Rowling and Stephen King trading barbs over relative book-length. It had resonance for me because I’d just finished 2023’s Holly, and I have to admit, I was relieved when I bought it and found out it was less than 500 pages in length.


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He Arrived at Dusk: Roman holiday

He Arrived at Dusk by R.C. Ashby

Not for the first time, a novel resurrected by the fine folks at Valancourt Books has turned out to be one of my favorite reads of the year. Back in 2020, J. B. Priestley’s Benighted (1927), reissued by Valancourt in 2013, was one of my favorites, and just last month, Ernest G. Henham’s Tenebrae (1898), brought back to life by Valancourt in 2012, became one of my top picks for 2023.


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Grass: Powerful true story of Korean “comfort women” during WWII

Grass by Keum Suk Gendry-Kim (writer and artist) and Janet Hong (translator)

Trigger Warning: This review discusses harsh content, including descriptions of murder, rape, and suicidal thoughts, that are a part of Okseon Lee’s true biography.

Grass, by Keum Suk Gendry-Kim and translated by Janet Hong, is a powerful story about World War Two, and the Korean women who were taken from their homes, often as little girls, and sold into sexual slavery for Japanese soldiers. This biographical work is about Okseon Lee, who was interviewed extensively as an older woman by the author.


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The Library of Broken Worlds: My first Hugo nomination of the year

The Library of Broken Worlds by Alaya Dawn Johnson

With Alaya Dawn Johnson’s The Library of Broken Worlds, I found my first Hugo nomination for next year. Mind you, this is a year where I’ve read many good-to-great books. The Library of Broken Worlds is not only a brilliant story beautifully written, it is truly original in its conception and execution, by a writer who is a master of words.

Set a few hundred years in the future, the story is told by our narrator and main character,


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Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

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