Sunday Status Update: April 16, 2017

This week, Batman confronts his worst nightmare.

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Batman: This week there was no crime in Gotham City. None whatsoever. Must confess to a feeling of… emptiness. Strange. Lack of crime should feel like success. Spent the week wrapped in activities I had always imagined I would one day undertake in my retirement. I watched several films I had been meaning to see. I went with Alfred to the golf course, just as I was forever promising I eventually would. I even picked up my oboe for the first time in years. It was… it was…

It was terrible. When the new crime-free Gotham was revealed to be a fiendish mind control plot by the Scarecrow, I was inexpressibly relieved.

Bill: I’m moving into crunch time at the end of the term, as well as facing a play deadline, so not a lot of reading this week (or probably the next few). I did, however, manage to finish Robert Jackson Bennett’s City of Miracles, which only confirmed for me that this is one of the best stories (I refer to the entire trilogy) in recent memory.

Sandy: Moi? Having recently finished three books by Philip K. Dick, three by Clifford D. Simak and three by English author Eric Frank Russell, I am now embarking on three novels by another English sci-fi author, the great John Wyndham, as my little triplets project continues. First up for me: Re-birth (also known as The Chrysalids). I hope to be able to get a review for this one out shortly…

Stuart: After finishing Alastair Reynolds‘ House of Suns (2008) a few weeks back I finally wrote a review, and since then have been trying to listen to Ted Chiang s Stories of Your Life and Others (2002) in fits and starts, and despite the voluminous praise that has been heaped upon these stories heavy on mathematics, physics, language, and a cool rationalism, I’ve had a lot of trouble getting into them. Then again, I haven’t been in the best health and state of mind for reading lately, so I don’t want to judge the book based on that. I’ll keep plugging away, but almost think I should start anew instead.

Tim: This week, I finished up Mark Lawrence‘s Red Sister, first in his latest series. I’m not quite as engaged by this one as I was by RED QUEEN’S WAR, but I still enjoyed it a good bit. Also, it’s about warrior nuns, so that’s always fun. After I concluded Red Sister, I began listening to V.E. Schwab‘s A Darker Shade of Magic, which is fun so far but never quite lets me forget that I’m reading a novel.

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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. Bill, I definitely have the Divine Cities trilogy on my near-term TBR list (i.e. this year and not “someday”) based on the glowing reviews from so many FanLit reviewers.

    Sandy, it’s fun to see you tacking classic SF authors in three-book increments. It’s about time we have more reviews of Wyndham’s books. I started The Day of the Triffids and The Midwich Cuckoos but found them too be too “cozy” disasters, like H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds but more mild-mannered and so very British.

    • sandy ferber /

      Nothing too “cozy” about the Wyndham book I’m reading right now, Stuart. It’s a postapocalyptic affair in which a puritanical regime is very stringent in weeding out all perceived mutants…including the telepathic youth who is our narrator. Pretty grim stuff, actually, but a book that I am hugely enjoying so far….

  2. I read Caitlin Kiernan’s AGENTS OF DREAMLAND, and I even almost understood it. The same cannot be said for Jonathan Letham’s A GAMBLER’S ANATOMY. Is is about a person erasing his identity? Is is about gambling? About the brutal, cynical commercialization of the protest culture of Berkeley? Is is about… burgers? Backgammon? The Big Lebowski? Wh-a-aat?

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