Sunday Status Update: March 17, 2019

Happy St. Patrick's Day!


Bill: This week I read Seth Fried’s The Municipalists (a disappointing debut) and the brief but always interesting non-fiction book Around the World in 80 Trees by Jonathan Drori and illustrated (in truly lovely fashion) by Lucille Clerc. In media, I wholly enjoyed Captain Marvel, even if one of its iconic moments was right out of Buffy (maybe it was an homage . . .). Great rapport between Larson and Jackson, good action and humor, some nicely intimate scenes — Marvel keeps rolling. And yes, I got choked up at the opening roll. Currently, I’m reading A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine (so far so good) and rereading some Merwin in gratitude and sadness.

Ja... Read More

Spellslinger: A YA novel full of magic, cons, and card tricks

Spellslinger by Sebastien de Castell

Spellslinger sounded right up my street — a young adult novel full of magic, cons, card tricks and a plucky underdog. If it didn’t live up to my high hopes I blame the misleading words emblazoned on the back cover that read “Magic Is A Con” — an enticing promise that isn’t delivered because, well, magic turns out not to be a con. Nevertheless, while it wasn’t the story I expected, Spellslinger is an enjoyable romp in its own way.

Kellen and his classmates are all set to complete the trials that will secure their future as “Jan’tep” — a magical people who wield five pillars of magic — breath, iron, silk, blood, ember and sand. If they fail the trials they will be forced to live out their lives as “Sha’tep”, an under-class destined to serve through manual labour. The only problem is, Kellen has lost his magic. Howev... Read More

WWWednesday: November 7, 2018

Happy Diwali, or Festival of Lamps, to those who observe the holiday.

Flower Tower, by Reared in Steel. (c)Reared in Steel, LLC 2018



Awards:

File 770 has the World Fantasy Winners. Congratulations to Victor LaValle and Fonda Lee; to Charles de Lint and Elizabeth Woldheim, and to startup Sf literary magazine Fiyah, which showcases the work of writers of the African diaspora.
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Sunday Status Update: October 28, 2018

As Halloween approaches, we've been reading plenty of seasonal (and a few less-than-seasonal) new books!

Marion: I read An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon. I hope to add my thoughts to the excellent reviews by Bill and Kat. The book is a literary science fiction novel; one of a handful that you can offer to your literary reading friends who can’t find their way into science fiction.

Bill introduced me to  Read More

WWWednesday: May 31, 2017

This week’s word for Wednesday is the adjective rattatattatory, which means “consisting of repeated sounds or tapping,” as in, “the fireworks exploded in a rattatattatory burst.” This word should win an award for carrying onomatopoeia to absurd lengths. Thanks once again to Haggard Hawks.

Awards:

Charles Stross was awarded the Alberto Lisiero award, given to those who contribute to the popularity and quality of science fiction writing.

Penthesilea, Queen of the Amazons



Tooting Our Own Horn:

Bill’s ... Read More

Sunday Status Update: May 28, 2017

Character update on break this week, due to unforeseen meteorological conditions in the western regions of Arnor.

 

Bill: This week I greatly enjoyed Tyrant’s Throne by Sebastien de Casetell, an excellent ending to a very fun and highly recommended quartet. Soleri, by Michael Johnston, was less enjoyable, an opening book that didn’t have me all that eager to await the second. Like Jana, I also just finished Ellen Klages’ Wicked Wonders. Unlike Jana, I did not adore (or even much like) it. I believe that means I’m outnumbered 2-1 on that one. In poetry, I read Attributed to the Harrow Painter by Nick Twernlow, which didn’t d... Read More

WWWednesday: March 29, 2017

Today’s word for Wednesday is the noun poltroon, meaning coward. Its origins appear to be Middle French and/or Middle Italian. It may be descended from a Middle French world for a foal or a baby animal (implying frailty and skittishness?) It first appeared about 1520. It is not to be confused to pontoon, which is a floating structure or part of a seaplane.

Awards:

This is from February: Charlie Jane Anders won the Crawford Award at this year’s International Conference for the Fantastical in the Arts (ICFA), for All the Birds in the Sky.

City of Miracles by Robert Jackson Bennett



New Releases:

Here are ... Read More

WWWednesday: August 24, 2016

This is the World Con edition of World Wide Wednesday.

In the Pat Cadigan Theater



First of all, the Hugos! N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season won for Best Novel; Nnedi Okorafor won for Best Novella with “Binti;” Hao JingFang took home the Best Novelette statue for “Folding Beijing,” and Naomi Kritzer won for Best Short Story with “Cat Pictures Please.”

There were two categories where the voters awarded no Hugo: Best Fancast and Best Related Work.  Go here for a detailed list of all the winners.

On a personal note, Pat Cadigan, who hosted, was hilarious. ... Read More

Sunday Status Update: June 5, 2016

Character update on break this week.



Bill:This week I read Saint’s Blood, the third book in the GREATCOATS series by Sebastien de Castell, which I’d call one of the most out and out fun fantasy series going (though with its many emotionally wrenching moments). I also read The Last Mortal Bond by Brian Staveley, the concluding book in his UNHEWN THRONE series, which took a nice jump up from book one to two and is brought to a satisfying conclusion here.
 

Jana: This week my reading pace is slow thanks to the fantastic weather I've been having; there may be a few potting-soil smudges on my review copies, but it's all in the name of creating a comfortable reading space outside. I've made progress with Read More

WWWednesday: April 27, 2016

In Memoriam

I’m not going to write another obituary. I’m just not. Instead, I’m going to link to this essay by Charlie Jane Anders, about a comic book that starred Prince as a superhero. And what was his super-power? Music.

Awards

The Hugo short list has been announced, to much discussion.

Best Novel Finalists are: Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie; The Cinder Spires (The Aeronaut’s Windlass) by Jim Butler; The Fifth Season, by N.K. Jemisin, Read More

Margaret: A full-blooded swashbuckler

(Fair) Margaret by H. Rider Haggard

Every schoolchild knows that in 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. But what about the year before that? Did anything of note happen in 1491? Well, as any reader of H. Rider Haggard's 31st novel, Margaret, will discover, the answer is: plenty! Margaret, which Haggard wrote from 1905 - ‘06, was initially published in London in September 1907 under the title Fair Margaret, and here in the U.S. with the shortened title a month later. It is one of Haggard's historical fictions, but unlike some of his other historicals, such as 1911's Red Eve, this one contains absolutely no fantasy elements to speak of (my editors here on FanLit are perhaps being indulgent and generous for allowing me to even post a r... Read More

Sunday Status Update: July 26, 2015

This week, Ron Weasley (circa 1995 or thereabouts).

Ron: Y'know, something's just occurred to me. Aurors finally showed up at the school this year. I suppose it makes sense with what's been going on (dark wizard catchers for dark wizards), but it does make you wonder where they've been all this time, doesn't it? What about the second year, when students were being attacked by a mysterious monster in the corridors, and my sister got dragged into the Chamber of Secrets? Would've been nice to've had an auror or two right about then. Or that time we thought a convicted murderer was trying to slit Harry's throat. Sounds like a job for an auror to me. I'm just saying. What, were they on strike or something? Guess I'll ask dad...

Jana: My reading pace has slowed to a crawl this week, but! I'm getting much better organize... Read More

The Tarot Café (Volume 1) by Sang-Sun Park

The Tarot Café (Volume 1) by Sang-Sun Park

The Tarot Café (Volume 1) by Sang-Sun Park is a light manhwa that is a pleasant read, particularly if the reader has any interest in Tarot cards. The story is straight-forward: Pamela, the owner of the Tarot Café, is a psychic who provides readings during the day for the regular clientele one would expect to seek out psychic help. However, at night she assists an unusual set of customers, including in this first volume a Cat, a... Read More

After: Like panning for gold

After: Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia by editors Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling

When I saw the new Datlow and Windling anthology After: Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia, I was so excited. I love YA fiction, I love dyslit, I love short story anthologies and I love Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling as editors, so I figured it was a match made in heaven. Unfortunately, my reading experience didn’t live up to my expectations.

After is an anthology of short stories set after. After what? Alien invasion, plague, environmental collapse, asteroid strike, it doesn’t matter. Just after. This leaves a lot of room for the authors to be creative, as they all can choose different afters to explore, and it leaves the anthology feeling a bit disjointed as you hop from one disaster to another. Technically, most of th... Read More

The Margrave: A satisfyingly strong conclusion

The Margrave by Catherine Fisher

The Margrave is the fourth and final book of Catherine Fisher’s Relic Master. The series as a whole is a bit thin on worldbuilding, emotional depth, and secondary characterization, but save for a minor drop-off in book two, it is a smoothly exciting read and The Margrave brings it to a satisfyingly strong conclusion.

As in the previous books, the story is split between Raffi’s experiences and Carys’. It begins with a bang as Carys is captured by the Watch at the very beginning. She is quickly brought to the attention of two higher-ups, the castellan Maris Scala and her lover Quist. The two of them decide to escort Carys to the Pits of Maar, the darkest center of the Watch where the Margrave is rumored to live and command the brutal group. Gale... Read More