Next SFF Author: Gena Showalter
Previous SFF Author: Martin L. Shoemaker

Series: Short Fiction


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The Brides of High Hill: A well-crafted tale

The Brides of High Hill by Nghi Vo

The Brides of High Hill (2024) is the fifth installment in Nghi Vo’s SINGING HILLS series of novellas. I found it a solid enough of a story if a bit slight, though it’s possible that if, unlike me, you’ve read the others you might have a more positive response.

Cleric Chih is accompanying a young bride, Nhung, and her parents to the estate of Lord Guo, where Nhung is to be wed to her wealthy but far older husband-to-be.


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Other Worlds of Clifford Simak: From zebra charms to walking vines

Other Worlds of Clifford Simak by Clifford D. Simak

Other Worlds of Clifford Simak is the companion volume to the 1961 Avon paperback The Worlds of Clifford Simak, a collection that had recently impressed me very favorably. As I mentioned in my review of that earlier volume, The Worlds of Clifford Simak was originally released as a Simon & Schuster hardcover in 1960; a rather generous-sized, 378-page affair containing a dozen of the future Grand Master’s stories.


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The Worlds of Clifford Simak: Finely wrought tales from a future grand master

The Worlds of Clifford Simak by Clifford D. Simak

A recent perusal of Clifford D. Simak’s wonderful collection All the Traps of Earth (from 1962) served to remind this reader of how very excellent the beloved Wisconsin-born novelist could be with the shorter form, and I resolved to read more of his stories in the near future. Thus, when I spotted a rather beat-up copy of his collection The Worlds of Clifford Simak (no middle initial here,


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Neither Beg Nor Yield: Stories With S & S Attitude

Neither Beg Nor Yield: Stories With S&S Attitude by Jason M. Waltz (editor) & M.D. Jackson (illustrator)

I don’t know how aware SFF fandom is, but sword & sorcery has had a resurgence of late. Jason M. Waltz and most of the authors featured in Neither Beg Nor Yield have been champions of this subgenre, some for the past quarter century. Mr. Waltz first published sword & sorcery and other great heroic and weird fiction with Flashing Swords Press and later under his own micro-press, Rogue Blades Entertainment.


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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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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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They Came From Outer Space: 12 Classic Science Fiction Tales That Became Major Motion Pictures

They Came From Outer Space: 12 Classic Science Fiction Tales That Became Major Motion Pictures edited by Jim Wynorski

It really was a splendid idea for an anthology: Select a dozen of the most famous, beloved and influential science fiction movies of all time and then gather together the 12 short stories and novellas that had served as their source material. And that is precisely what editor Jim Wynorski did, resulting in his 1980 collection They Came From Outer Space: 12 Classic Science Fiction Tales That Became Major Motion Pictures.


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The Reinvented Detective: Some of these detective stories are excellent

The Reinvented Detective edited by Cat Rambo & Jennifer Brozek

As is typically the case for story anthologies in my experience, The Reinvented Detective, part of an anthology series edited by Cat Rambo and Jennifer Brozek, was a mixed bag, with stories ranging from excellent to good to flat at best.

All of the stories are set in the future, though the time spectrum runs from the relatively near-future to a few decades to a far-flung future of interstellar travel. Settings move from the “real world” to the virtual one (sometimes within the same story),


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North Woods: Wonderfully and precisely crafted

Reposting to include Marion’s new review.

North Woods by Daniel Mason

Daniel Mason’s North Woods (2023) is a wonderfully and precisely crafted collection of related short stories that greatly impresses with its varied styles, vividly detailed descriptions, sharp sentence constructions, connecting echoes, and a few unexpected twists and turns. I would have preferred a bit more emotional depth at times, though several of the stories, particularly toward the end, offer up some more than a few moving scenes. Between those moments and Mason’s consummate craftsmanship,


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Widdershins: An outstanding collection of spooky stories

Widdershins by Oliver Onions

I originally picked up this hard-to-find book after reading of it in Newman & Jones’ excellent overview volume, Horror: The 100 Best Books. Widdershins is a collection of Oliver Onions‘ short stories, and was first published in 1911. Onions was supposedly a meticulous writer, writing and rewriting and rerewriting, changing words repeatedly until he felt that things were just right. And his attention to detail does indeed show. All the stories in this volume are impeccably written,


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Next SFF Author: Gena Showalter
Previous SFF Author: Martin L. Shoemaker

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