Sunday Status Update: April 1, 2018

Happy Easter, everyone! We read a lot of great books this week, and… agh! Help! Strangled by sweaty Cimmerian arm!

                              (Happy April Fool’s, too)

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Batman: Field report for March: Best month in a long time. I shattered 47 arms, 83 kneecaps, 112 jaws, and 38 collarbones of criminal scum this month. Defeated Poison Ivy with a weed-whacker and a tire iron. Crippled Two-Face’s organization simply by hacking his phone. Pointed and laughed at Killer Moth until he ran home crying, delusions of criminal overlordship forgotten. Yes, March has been good to me. I deserved a good month, after Februrary. Note that this journal is the only place where the incident involving the Joker and Valentine’s Day is still recorded. I have destroyed all other records, and sworn Robin to secrecy. He still giggles at me sometimes. Considering memory modification.

Bill: This week I read two collections of essays on superheroes: Assembling the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Essays on the Social, Cultural, and Geopolitical Domains (ed: Julian C. Chambliss, William L. Svitavsk, Daniel Fandion) and Jessica Jones, Scarred Hero: Essays on Gender, Trauma, and Addiction in the Netflix Series (ed. Tim Rayborn and Abigail Keyes). The first was excellent, the second had good individual essays but overall was a bit too repetitive. Currently I’m reading Strange Survivors: How Organisms Attack and Defend in the Game of Life by Oné R. Pagán and still happily listening to Walter Issacson’s Leonardo da Vinci.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Conan: Ha! It’s been a hell of a day, by Crom! After the lads and I raided that caravan yesterday, I slept like the dead. But it’ll take more than two days’ ride and a battle at the end of it to dull the ears of a Cimmerian! When something tried to sneak into my tent early this morning, I woke in a moment. I didn’t move, for I thought it was one of the camp girls (I already had two wenches to keep me warm, but the more the merrier!). Then I thought perhaps it was nothing, for I saw only the pale dawn light and the tent flap turning in the breeze. But then, a creature moved stealthily into the light, a monster like a great man-sized rabbit. In one terrible paw, it clenched a wicker basket full of bright orbs, all painted with sorcerous symbols.

Well, it wouldn’t be the first time a wizard has sent his demon familiar my way. I waited until the brute bent low to get his ears below the flap, and then I was on him like a cat, dagger in my hand. Ah, he gave me a fight and a half! I lost the blade and we rolled over and over through the camp, I roaring and he squealing like the very devils of hell! Ever I smote him with my fists, and ever he struck me with his mighty hind limbs! Ha, were I a lesser man, I’d have been torn loose a dozen times, but Cimmerians are made of doughtier stuff. At last, my clutching fingers reached his furry throat, and I squeezed with all my might until he stilled!

Another triumph for Conan! Victory is sweet, and the red wine sweeter! The rabbit didn’t taste half bad either, once we’d dressed and spitted him.

Jana: This week I’ve been slowly getting back into the swing of things with a novella, a collection of short stories, a graphic novel, and a short story I discovered online. The novella was Elizabeth Bear‘s Stone Mad, the follow-up to her delightful steampunk/Weird West novel Karen Memory. Things get a little more serious for Karen and Priya in this story, though there are adventures, too. The collection of short stories was My Old Faithful, by Yang Huang, a Chinese-born author whose work is non-speculative, and always enjoyable. I started reading The City on the Other Side, an upcoming graphic novel by Mairghread Scott and Robin Robinson, about a young girl in early 20th-century San Francisco who ends up in the land of fairies, caught between the Seelie and Unseelie. It’s geared toward a younger audience, but it’s a very enjoyable read so far, and the illustrations are lovely. The short story was “Flow,” by Marissa Lingen, which was very difficult for me to read and, serendipitously, exactly what I needed to read right now. In the coming week, I hope to catch up on some long-neglected reviews and to read Ilana C. Myer‘s Fire Dance, the upcoming sequel/companion to her debut novel, Last Song Before Night. We’ll see what happens!

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Kvothe: Yesterday, my friends Willem and Simmon accused me of being the protagonist of a “harem drama.” Which is ridiculous, so I told them how ridiculous it was. They responded by enumerating all of the women in my recent social life: the hot, snarky rogue Devi; the hot, childlike wild girl Auri; the hot, earnest scholar Fela; and the hot, seductive love goddess Felurian. Apparently harem dramas often have a Smart One, a Hot One, a Funny One, and a Loli. And, well, admittedly that was a bit damning.

“Well, what about Mola?” I said. “She’s never shown interest in me.”

“Token lesbian.”

“Uh… well… Denna!” I said. “You’re forgetting Denna!”

They looked at each other. “Yeah,” Sim said. “See… every story needs a villain, too… ”

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Denna: Why doesn’t anybody like me? *sob*

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Legolas: Journal Entry 49201: Father is very upset today over losing a bunch of dwarves that he apparently had locked up in his dungeons. So far, he’s shouted at the butler, the captain of the guard, and also at a cleaning elf who got underfoot during the hubbub. I don’t know what all the fuss is about – I suppose it just means that we won’t have to keep spending food on dwarves. It was rather boorish of them to gatecrash our party that one time in the woods, but I have to admit I thought it was pretty funny. Father keeps on talking about treasure, but honestly, what are the odds of that sorry lot ever getting their hands on money? Oh well. If I’m sure of only one thing in this world, it’s that there aren’t enough hours in the day to get worried over every discourteous dwarf. Oh, and also that I really dislike somebody called Denna. Pretty sure of that too.

Marion: This week I got an unsolicited ARC in the mail, Josh Malerman’s Unbury Carol. I glanced at the back and tried to read the inside cover flap (the design choices made this difficult!) and thought, “Um, why me…?” It is Weird West, though, and it did say “a twisted retelling of Sleeping Beauty,” so I thought I’d give it a try. So far, it’s got a great weird world. Carol has a challenging problem and a treacherous husband. I’m intrigued and reading on!

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Ron: This week, Romilda Vane gave me a love potion intended for Harry, and I spent all day obsessed with her. Harry locked me up until I recovered, but here’s my question: what would have happened if Romilda had actually gotten it to the right person and everything went according to plan? That’s… that’s not on. Shouldn’t that be outlawed? Or at least against the rules or something? Hasn’t anybody ever heard of STDs? Actually, has anyone ever heard of STDs? I mean, Dad told me, but it’s not like we have a sexual education class at Hogwarts. I never went to one, anyway. Oh God, did everybody go but me? Well, me and Romilda Vane, presumably. And Denna. Because while I don’t know who that is, I reckon she’s probably just the worst.

Terry: Between being very ill for the last couple of weeks and getting ready for a vacation, I’ve gotten very little reading done other than to finish reading books I’d already started. The only exception is that I read Christopher Golden‘s Ararat — gobbled it, really — it’s easy to see why it won the Stoker Award this year! I’m traveling light for this trip, bringing only two actual physical books (though I’m making them big books — Edward Rutherfurd’s Paris, which I’ve been toying with for months, and Brandon Sanderson‘s The Way of Kings), but, of course, I’ll have my iPad and my iPhone with me, which means I’ll have access to thousands of additional books in case I’m feeling peckish.

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TIM SCHEIDLER, who's been with us since June 2011, holds a Master's Degree in Popular Literature from Trinity College Dublin. Tim enjoys many authors, but particularly loves J.R.R. Tolkien, Robin Hobb, George R.R. Martin, Neil Gaiman, and Susanna Clarke. When he’s not reading, Tim enjoys traveling, playing music, writing in any shape or form, and pretending he's an athlete.

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