Sunday Status Update: February 10, 2013

This week, we hear from the famous dark elf Drizzt Do’Urden. It was Sir Gawain’s week, but Drizzt has the advantage of about ten thousand more readily available pictures on Google Image Search, so he’s bumped up the roster while I search for a Gawain pic that doesn’t make him look like a villainous Tom Selleck. 

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Brad: I’m rereading yet again my favorite novel of all-time: Pride and Prejudice, though when I’m reading EmmaAusten‘s other masterpiece–it’s my all-time favorite. It’s just too hard to choose between the two.  As for comics, I just read the mediocre Daredevil Noir mini-series.  It’s not as good as the Daredevil run by Mark Waid that I just reviewed on Friday. I’m also rereading Volume One of the four-volume omnibus reprinting of Jack Kirby‘s greatest work: The Fourth World saga, a fifty-five issue series that crossed through several DC titles to create a cosmic world that mashes up Superhero comics and newly invented gods and mythology with beat and hippie language and philosophy. Mix Superman with The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Easy Rider, Experimental Art, and some trippy Gods and you’ve got Kirby’s campy production. DC cancelled this crazy series because its sales were not as high as they wanted from Kirby. But man, everybody now wishes they would have let him finish this influential work of genius. R.I.P. Jack Kirby. Finally, I’m still reading my guilty pleasure comics: Witchblade along with the newer Artifacts, a spin-off by the brilliant Ron Marz (who made Witchblade more than just eye-candy comics for hormonal young men).  Note that I say, “more than.” It’s still eye-candy, but, as I have said before, Marz has made sure the lead female character contradicts the visual message–very similar to many Angela Jolie action movies. Besides, Witchblade is the best blend of noir and fantasy fiction that I know of.

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Drizzt: This week, I perused several tomes on moral philosophy with great avidity. Ah, the joy of reflecting upon altruism! I was so inspired that I spent several hours recording my ruminations in my journal, but before I could finish I was rudely interrupted by a group of odious goblins. They had the gall to sneer at my peaceful pursuits, and even went so far as to laugh at the august titles of my noble blades, Twinkle and Icingdeath. The insolent boors mocked me as, for some reason, an effeminate pastry chef. Naturally, I went into a berserker rage and slaughtered them all.

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Kat: I was sick this week so I got lots of stuff read on audio, mostly old science fiction. I read Harry Harrison’s first two DEATHWORLD novels (first one is entertaining, second one is awful), Andre Norton’s Storm Over Warlock (exciting YA), Robert A. Heinlein’s Beyond This Horizon (couldn’t finish), and Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot (I love Asimov’s ideas). I also read some more modern stuff: Steven Gould’s first twoJUMPER books: Jumper and Reflex. These were lots of fun and more like thrillers than science fiction. Wow, that’s seven books in one week. Maybe I should get sick more often.

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Kelly: Still reading House Rules by Chloe Neill. I’ve also been seized by an ancient-world craving and decided to start Maria Dahvana Headley‘s Queen of Kings, which has been languishing on my shelf for a while.

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Marion: I’m reading Mark Childress’s Elizabethan fantasy, The Devil’s Looking Glass, and a review will follow. An unusual interpretation of John Dee that I’m having some trouble swallowing. Aurorarama languishes ignored on the footstool while I read David Corbett’s book on writing, The Art of Character. In writing about the pitfalls of creating compound characters (combining aspects of more than one person/function), Corbett says, “One sees the result all too often in action movies, where a woman’s name gets slapped on a fundamentally male role, with no thought of the thousands of women in law enforcement or the military who might provide a real-world model for the part. Instead we get the equivalent of a man zipped inside a babe suit.”

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Steven: This week I finished five of the occult detective stories in The Complete John Thunstone by Manly Wade Wellman, “The Dead Man’s Hand” from Weird Tales Nov ’44, “Thorne on the Threshold” from Weird Tales Jan ’45, “The Shonokins” fromWeird Tales March ’45, “Blood from a Stone” Weird Tales May ’45, and “The Dai Sword” from Weird Tales July ’45.

I also continued reading stories from The Jack Vance Treasury, finishing”The New Prime,” “The Secret,” “The Moon Moth,” and “A Bagful of Dreams,” the last of which is a Cugel of DYING EARTH story.  Favorite Manly Wade Wellman story for the week was probably “The Shonokins” and favorite story this week by Jack Vance.was probably “The Moon Moth.”
On the non fantasy front I started reading John Steinbeck’s Travels With Charley for a book club I belong to. A re-read of sorts since I read the book back in the early 70’s last and only remember bits and pieces. On a personal non reading note, I’m currently surrounded by Black Cats, as my daughter is allowing her boyfriend’s two to stay with us temporarily. Our own black cat Zorro is not amused. Yes, he’s named after “that” Zorro who was one of my heroes as a young boy.

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Terry: I’m feeling grumpy because nothing I’m reading has really caught me by the throat and demanded that I keep reading it until I’m done. I want to be lost in something!  Gillian Philip‘s Firebrand might make that grade once I’m deeper into it, but at 14% of the way in it’s still too early to tell. Blood Oranges, by Caitlin R. Kiernan writing as Kathleen Tierney, has a first person narrator who is aggressively unlikeable, though the set-up — a woman who is both a vampire and a werewolf — seems promising.  At 87 pages in, I’m not sure. I’m also reading The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination:  Original Short Fiction for the Modern Evil Genius, edited by John Joseph Adams. I should have realized that that title meant the stories would have a humorous bent, which isn’t my thing, though I have to admit that the first story, “Professor Incognito Apologizes: An Itemized List” by Austin Grossman is extraordinarily well-done. There’s no question I’ll keep reading all three of these books, but while they’ve engaged my mind, none has yet engaged my heart.

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Tim: This week I finally finished Jordan and Sanderson‘s A Memory of Light. I have mixed feelings on the text: I think that it did what it needed to, but perhaps not all that it could have done. That was about it, as it’s been another busy one here, although things look to be (finally!) winding down a little.


FOLLOW:  Facebooktwitterrssmail  SHARE:  Facebooktwitterredditpinteresttumblrmail
You can subscribe to our posts via email, email digest, browser notifications, Twitter, RSS, etc. You can filter by tag (e.g. Giveaway), keyword, author. We won't give your email address to anyone. Subscribe.

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.

View all posts by

4 comments

  1. Marion, your quotation from Corbett is an interesting one, and it makes me rethink my comment about Witchblade and A. Jolie. I still thinks there’s something refreshing about giving stereotypical male action-hero roles to women; however, just making the substitution doesn’t resolve all the ethical issues raised by these male character roles from a feminist perspective. The roles themselves have a built-in machismo that disturbs me, mostly because I actually enjoy rooting on behavior in narrative storytelling that I never would approve of in real life.

    Still, I like the idea of a man zipped inside a babe suit, as do many of us who have been to a good drag show. But I digress . . .

  2. Brad, Witchblade is difficult for me, because I love the idea, but most of the artwork *did* look like eye candy for hormonal young men. However, the action hero thing there is the symbiosis between the blade and the person.

    Terry; A vampire who got bitten by a werewolf? Product of a mixed marriage? Wow, Thanksgiving at her house could be interesting.

    • Not sure if either of you care but there was a decent (but cancelled early) tv show based on Witchblade in the early 90s I think that I really liked because the role wasn’t just eyecandy. I haven’t read the comics though.

      • I appreciate comments that point me toward anything comic book related, April! I actually sought out this TV series last year because of the comic book, which I had just started reading. I enjoyed it quite a bit. It really played down the eye-candy AND the fantasy. The show was low-budget, and instead of doing really bad special effects, the director emphasized the police procedural side of the story. Whenever there were Witchblade scenes–which they kept to a minimum–the scenes went dark and much of the action was conveyed by turning the camera toward the walls to show battles, as if they were just too horrific for us to see! A smart idea, I think. There was one really bad male actor playing Ian, but other than that, it was a solid low-budget show. Thanks for reminding me of it.

        I’m still working on an essay-review of The Witchblade/Artifacts by Ron Marz, with reference to what came before and after his combined 100-issue run (counting special issues etc.). As a feminist and reluctant fan of the comic, I’ll talk about both its strengths and weaknesses. I think that this series is an important one in that it’s one of the few with a lead female, maybe in popularity second only to Wonder Woman (see this coming Friday’s review for a great standalone WW comic). Witchblade is still in print because it sells comics; however, WW, as I understand it, has stayed in print since her creation (based on a female bondage figure with lasso) because DC will lose rights to her character to the creator’s estate (I hope I didn’t just generate the wrong kind of hits for our “fantasy” website, Kat!). There have been great runs on WW, but it has had many weak years without being cancelled. As editor of Fanboy Friday, I feel obligated to review Witchblade because it’s a substantial series of comics in the Fantasy genre. I also hope to do a review of the accompanying title, The Darkness, which is used by the same publisher to explore the horror genre within the same fictional universe as The Witchblade (which serves as a balance between The Light and The Darkness).

Review this book and/or Leave a comment:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *