Sunday Status Update: December 4, 2016

This week, Batman again.

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Batman: Field report for November. Joker has now crossed major milestone, as he is now statistically leading cause of death for Gotham residents. Beginning to feel serious job-related stress as a result. One of the Green Lanterns asked me last week if it would be helpful if he simply pitched Joker at the sun and we never spoke of it again, but had to reject his offer. I continue to believe in Gotham, in its ability to one day stand on its own two feet and prosecute criminals according to the legal system. Saying so does not help Gotham in mean time, however, as everyone in city seems intent on demonizing me for not finishing him off. Graffiti on bat signal a week ago read “just kill the clown already. God.” Meanwhile, Harley Quinn is statistically the 12th leading cause of death for Gotham residents, but the entire city continues to believe her to be some kind of adorable, puckish rogue and write me angry letters if I so much as handcuff her. Graffiti on Batmobile the other day read “stop making Harley cry!” Completely befuddled by Gotham sometimes.

Bill: Into the final two weeks of classes, so mostly grading this week and next. But I did manage to work my way through all the short stories (long short stories) in Brandon Sanderson’s Arcanum Unbounded: The Cosmere Collection and finish Charles R. Ault, Jr’s Do Elephants Have Knees and Other Stories of Darwinian Origins, as well as continue with Ian Cameron Esslemont’s Assail for the reread over at Tor.com

Jana: This week I added my thoughts to Marion’s review of Cherie Priest‘s horror novel The Family Plot, added thoughts to Marion and Tadiana’s reviews of Sarah Beth Durst‘s The Queen of Blood (which was phenomenal, in my opinion), and with Ray’s expert assistance, I read Erika Johansen‘s The Fate of the Tearling, the final novel of her QUEEN OF THE TEARLING trilogy. I also read Lara Parker’s latest Dark Shadows tie-in novel, Heiress of Collinwood, which is sure to please fans of the classic TV series. (A review of the book, but not the show, is percolating in my brain.) And I started Mira Grant‘s latest NEWSFLESH novel, Feedback; while I’m normally not interested in zombies, Terry’s reviews of the previous three NEWSFLESH books convinced me that at least one entry in the series is worth checking out.

Marion: I finished the 4th book in THE TALE OF SHIKINOKO, The Tengu’s Game of Go. Lian Hearn ties up the whole saga as the second generation rises to make right what greed, jealousy and sorcery put wrong at the beginning. And that game of go is important.

I’m about to finish Nisi Shawl’s alternate-history fantasy, Everfair. The book is episodic (I think several of the sections were originally published as short stories) which creates a rhythm that makes it a little too east to set the book down. Still, her world-building is wonderful, the imagery vivid and she is serious about addressing the real problems a situation like this would face. Everfair is like an historic country that could have existed.

Sandy: Moi? I have just started what might be my sixth or seventh anthology collecting works from the famous pulp magazine Weird Tales. This one is entitled Weird Tales: Seven Decades of Terror. Each of the other anthologies had gathered its pieces in a unique way, and this one’s modus operandi is to gather four great stories from each of the magazine’s seven decades of existence, for a total of 28 shuddery offerings. It is a pretty large and generous collection that should keep me busy for quite a while…

Stuart:This week, I’ve been working my way through Alastair Reynolds‘ The Prefect, a detective procedural set in his REVELATION SPACE universe. Good world-building, but his books are a bit turgid. I’m in the mood for something lighter and more fun, so I’m tempted to give We Are Legion (We are Bob) by Dennis. E. Taylor, which despite the goofy title seems to have gotten a lot of good reviews. Meanwhile I’m still chipping away at Lucius Shepard‘s The Jaguar Hunter, and during Christmas I’m planning to revisit Gene Wolfe‘s BOOK OF THE NEW SUN via audiobook narrated by Jonathan Davis

Tadiana: It’s been a busy three weeks since I last checked in here! I’m trying to be better about writing reviews promptly, so I’ve actually read and reviewed The Whizbang Machine by Danielle A. Vann and The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer, along with a bunch of short fiction for our weekly SHORTS column. I also read (but haven’t yet reviewed) A Criminal Magic by Lee Kelly. I’ve just begun reading a beta copy of Ilona AndrewsWhite Hot, the second book in her HIDDEN LEGACY urban fantasy series, which I’m tremendously excited about, though a review will have to wait for the final version of the book. My non-SF reads included Lady Susan by Jane Austen and The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner, and I’m currently reading The Great Gatsy by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I’m almost finished with my 2016 Classics Bingo challenge – whew! It’s been very good for me but I think I may dial back a little on that challenge for 2017.

Tim: This week, I switched up my reading material a little and finally started reading (or listening to, anyway) Ken Liu‘s The Grace of Kings. I’m enjoying both the narrative and the unusual-for-epic-fantasy setting (a sort of steampunk China), but I do find I have some nagging concerns as time goes on. I know that Liu was taking inspiration from particular Chinese legends and/or history for this novel (though not much more than that fact, obviously), and I often find myself wondering if he found himself a little limited by trying to reproduce an older narrative rather than crafting his own to a greater extent. But that’s a minor complaint and I’m overall having a lot of fun with the 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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One comment

  1. I forgot to mention that I’m reading Sanderson’s Arcanum Unbounded as well as Bill. I’m a little over halfway through; so it looks like Bill has gotten through that one faster than me. It’s an interesting collection. My favorite so far is the novella that starts it off, The Emperor’s Soul, which I’d read before, but which was just as wonderful on second read.

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