Sunday Status Update: April 10, 2016

This week, we check in again with Ayesha, She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed, as she settles a dispute between her peoples in true Ayesha fashion.

Ayesha: Week 148,388. Still no Kallikrates. Wish he’d get a goddamned move on. I have no objection to a husband younger than myself, but… well. Granted, it seems that our life experience might end by being more or less commensurate. Nothing happened this week. Oh, except that rainstorm incident. One tribe came by, wanted rain for the crops. Whatever. Who cares. I dredged up a thunderstorm. Then another tribe came by and complained that the sacred hunt or what-have-you had been ruined by a colossal thunderstorm. I had no idea what a sacred hunt was. They apparently couldn’t fathom this. We were just getting to the most tedious part of their whining when the first tribe showed up again to thank me, and there was a brawl right there in the throne room. Naturally, I blasted them all, but now there are corpses everywhere and the servants have fled. And so here I sit, penning the chronicle of my life in an abattoir of my own making. Fifth time this year. We’re off to a gooooooooooood start.

Jana: This week I made some progress with K.D. Castner’s YA fantasy Daughters of Ruin; I also re-read Brian Jacques‘s Mattimeo so I could add a review to our database. The REDWALL series becomes quite repetitive beyond that point, so I don’t think I’ll be reading the other nineteen (yes, nineteen) installments. I zipped through Gwenda Bond‘s Lois Lane: Double Down, her sequel to Lois Lane: Fallout, and will be prepping a review/interview questions. For the upcoming week, I’ll be re-reading Diana Wynne Jones‘s The Tough Guide to Fantasyland so I can review it here, and if time permits, I’ll start Sylvain Neuvel’s Sleeping Giants. Weather permitting, I’ll do as much of that reading outside as I possibly can!

Marion: I finished the April issue of F&SF Magazine, and Leigh Brackett’s story collection The Coming of the Terrans. I also read a short novel from 1954 by Arthur C. Clarke, Against the Fall of Night. I just started Vu Tran’s Las Vegas noir crime novel Dragonfish. Tran’s prose is beautiful but I am having trouble suspending disbelief.

Sandy: Moi? I am currently in the middle of a book that I started once around 30+ years back and, for some reason, put down unread after the first 20 pages: Kate Wilhelm’s Hugo Award-winning Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang. And now, I cannot for the life of me recall what turned me off all those years back, as I am currently loving the darn thing. I hope to have a review ready for you all shortly….

Stuart: Back to the coal mine this week. I finished Vol 2: The Doll’s House of Neil Gaiman‘s SANDMAN series, and started Vol 3: Dream Country. As Brad has suggested, the series gets better as it goes, once Gaiman discovered where he wanted the story to go. I finished listening to Douglas AdamsLife, the Universe, and Everything and So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish narrated by Martin Freeman. He does a great job with the voices, but the story really deteriorated as Adams was unable to match his great sense of humor with a coherent plot. Having had that pleasant break, I felt ready to delve into Octavia Butler‘s Parable of the Sower, and it is unrelentingly grim. I already feel like I need a break from it.

Tadiana: I’ve done a lot of short fiction reading lately, some for tomorrow’s SHORTS feature, and some in Patricia BriggsShifting Shadows, a group of stories set in her MERCY THOMPSON universe. I’ve been reading Neal Stephenson‘s latest SF epic, Seveneves. I’m also rereading Richard Adams‘ classic Watership Down for the first time in many years, and reacquainting myself with Lapine vocabulary. In the non-SFF arena, I’ve read Georgette Heyer‘s A Civil Contract, controversial among Heyer fans, and generating some heated debate in our reading group, for its atypical hero and, especially, heroine and a more subdued, realistic romance.

Tim: This week, I read a couple of books in Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman‘s DEATH GATE CYCLE: Fire Sea and Serpent Mage. Reviews for both should be out fairly shortly. I’ve also begun reading Abraham Merritt‘s The Moon Pool, an example the old Lost World genre. It’s a lot of fun, although I admit my enjoyment so far may partly come from finding it quaint. I try to avoid that sentiment in general — it seems condescending toward older social mores, which smells of the lazy self-congratulation my generation is sometimes accused of — but I’m finding it hard to escape with this one.

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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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  1. Poor Ayesha. She can’t seem to catch a break!

  2. I didn’t contribute this week because I haven’t finished anything. My life has been SO busy here near the end of the semester and I’m behind in my reading goals for the year. I DID manage to read two short stories, though, which will be in our SFM column tomorrow or next week. I am also in the middle of Down and Dirty, a WILD CARDS anthology. I think I’ll have that done for next week.

    My semester ends soon and my summer will be a lot easier.

  3. I have not been reading as much as usual, but I have read some poetry, particularly by Robinson Jeffers and Matthew Arnold. Life has become paralyzingly slow, so poetry has been my savior in these dark days. I also finally finished re-reading Volume Six of The Sandman so I can get back to my reviews of the entire series. As of today (Monday), I have finished a review of this sixth volume, so look for it coming up this Saturday (plus, I hope, Stuart’s next review in his ongoing series on Sin City!).

  4. Glad you are enjoying The Sandman, Stuart!

  5. Looking forward to your Sandman reviews, Brad, and I will keep the Sin City reviews coming till the final 7th volume. Teaser: I won’t hold back on Vol 5: Family Values.

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