You know the saying: no two people in the contacted world are more than six social connections apart. Inspired by Kate at Books Are My Favourite And Best, I apply this notion to books and challenge friends and authors to find interesting ways to hop from one book to another based on a shared author, theme, award win and so on. Today, I’m delighted to welcome Ren Hutchings, author of timeslip space opera Under Fortunate Stars, to take the Six Degrees challenge.

It’s the most speculative time of the year – SciFiMonth lifts off today for a month exploring the realms of what if. The SciFiMonth crew will be adventuring across the multiverse to read, watch, play and celebrate tales of possible futures and alternate nows, survive first contact or enjoy being part of a thriving galactic community. Expect 30 days of chat and geekery – you’re welcome to join us!

October has been hard work as I struggled to shake my lingering cough and have wrestled with ongoing ambiguity and workload challenges at work. By mid-October, there was at least the promise that things will improve eventually – and then it was time for some Spooktastic Reads, which always puts a smile on my face (although I’ve taken a back seat this year to stay focused on meatspace).

Cassie was suspended for an antisocial incident at school. Her penance is to read to the ailing proprietor of the town’s esoteric bookshop. When Mr Gussy warns her off a very particular book in his shop, she can’t resist cracking open the ‘dark tome’ – only to find herself whisked far away and long ago to where an Italian has found a staircase to hell…