Next SFF Author: A.M. Stanley
Previous SFF Author: Michael A. Stackpole

Series: Stand-Alone

These are stand alone novels (not part of a series).



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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 Morningside: A mostly successful mix of genres

The Morningside by Téa Obreht

The Morningside by Téa Obreht is set in a post-climate change near-future in a partial drowned city called Island City (maybe Manhattan?) that is accepting refugees to repopulate the city with promises of newly constructed/renovated homes for those who come to work. The novel is a mostly successful mix of genres, a sort of magical realist/cli-fi Harriet the Spy if Harriet were also a refugee.

Our main character is eleven-year-old Sylvia, who has arrived with her mother in the titular rundown high-rise where Sylvia’s Aunt Ena works as the super (there is a frame and the tale is told as a flashback from adult Sylvia’s perspective,


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The Haunted Stars: Fairlie awesome

The Haunted Stars by Edmond Hamilton

At the tail end of my review of Edmond Hamilton’s The Star of Life (1947), I mentioned that this was the finest novel that I’d read by the Ohio-born author so far, and added that I now looked forward to reading Hamilton’s The Haunted Stars, which seems to enjoy an even greater reputation. Take, for example, these two sources that I have always trusted: The Science Fiction Encyclopedia,


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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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The Cosmic Puppets: There goes the neighborhood!

The Cosmic Puppets by Philip K. Dick

By the time 1956 rolled around, future cult author Philip K. Dick had already seen 80 of his short stories published, as well as his first novel, 1955’s Solar Lottery. But 1956 would turn out to be an important year for the seemingly indefatigable writer. His second and third novels, The World Jones Made and The Man Who Japed,


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The Warm Hands of Ghosts: A captivating story

The Warm Hands of Ghosts by Katherine Arden

I was a big fan of Katherine Arden’s WINTERNIGHT TRILOGY and ended my review of that series by saying I was greatly looking forward to seeing what she did next. Well, what’s next is The Warm Hands of Ghosts (2024), a standalone historical novel set in the horrors of WWI that happily mostly maintains the high bar of quality Arden set with that earlier trilogy, though I had a few issues with some elements.


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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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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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Starter Villain: You’ll want to get your cat a keyboard

Starter Villain by John Scalzi

“It’s easier to be a villain than a pub owner, I’ll tell you that much.”

I think most people know the plot of John Scalzi’s 2023 novel, Starter Villain. Our protagonist, Charlie, is divorced. He’s been downsized out of his job as a business journalist, and is eking out a living as a substitute math teacher. When the story opens, his best or only friend is his cat Hera. Then Charlie learns that his enigmatic Uncle Jake,


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Next SFF Author: A.M. Stanley
Previous SFF Author: Michael A. Stackpole

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