Ben Peek is a marvellous writer, and one that I have admired for many years. Like many of the writers we’ve featured at the SF Bookclub he made a name for himself as a short story writer, and then worked his way into novels. His earlier book Black Sheep was a powerful work of dystopian fiction that now (like some so many dystopian naratives) feels increasingly and uncomfortably prescient.
The Children Series, starting with Godless, is an altogether different and fabulous creature. It is secondary world building at its finest, with some fabulous characters, and some clever shifts on your standard fantasy tropes. Sure, there are assassins, warriors, and new gods on the block, but Ben knows how to make them fresh, and exciting. You never quite know where the story is going, and, as the novel builds there are no certainties that anyone will get out alive. It’s great stuff.
Ben’s writing veers into dark territory, but it’s hard not to when you are detailing a world built on the corpses of its dead gods. If you enjoyed NK Jemisin’s Broken Earth Series you will find a lot to like here, and Ben knows how to drag you in. This is a steady and absorbing work that builds into something haunting, horrible and beautiful.
If you’d like to get a sense of Ben’s work have a look at his story Upon the Body.
The Children Series is a trilogy you can fall into. We’ll be having Ben along at our next SF Bookclub on September 25. He’s flying up from Sydney so this is a very rare chance to get to talk to him.
You can book a ticket here. (THERE WILL ALSO BE WINE)