Sunday Status Update: February 28, 2016

This week, Sir Lancelot gets involved in someone else’s love life. Apparently not having enough on his own romantic plate. As always, his long-suffering cousin Sir Bors chronicles.

SirBorsBors: It’s been a big week for Sir Tristan. After all the years of interventions and histrionics, he finally married someone who wasn’t Isolde. Well, actually, she was an Isolde, just not “toxic ex-girlfriend married to your uncle but still keeps dropping by” Isolde. Yes, admittedly it looks a little creepy that his wife has the same name as his ex. But if you knew him as I do, you’d say any change is good change. Everyone was happy for him. Even the king took an interest. It was one of the few truly positive things to have happened of late.

So, obviously, my cousin couldn’t let that stand. We’d made sure he wouldn’t be around for the event, but when he got wind of it he apparently went mad with rage at the collapse of his One True Pairing and challenged Tristan to a duel on his honeymoon. Apparently it was quite a duel. They’re supposed to be laid up for weeks, and between them they managed to destroy two horses, two suits of armor, dozens of lances, multiple swords, and possibly also a fledgling marriage. God damn it, Lancelot.

Bill: Not a lot this week thanks to collecting my first stack of essays (stack two comes in tomorrow). But I did manage to finish V.E.Schwab’s quite enjoyable A Gathering of Shadows, her follow up to A Darker Shade of Magic, and also read Ted Kooser’s wonderful collection of poetry, Delight and Shadows. Audio-wise my relatively brief Tues/Thurs. commute has me up to chapter six in The Fourth Revolution: How the Infosphere is Reshaping Human Reality by Luciano Floridi. And as always the Malazan reread continues, this past week wrapping up chapter six of Ian Cameron Esslemont’s Blood and Bone.

Jana: This week I read Investigating Lois Lane by Tim Hanley, which was enjoyable and surprisingly comprehensive. I am pleased, and very interested in tracking down a copy of Hanley’s prior history of a well-known female character in comics, Wonder Woman Unbound. I also started Ken Liu‘s short story collection, The Paper Menagerie, which is lovely and thought-provoking; naturally, I expected it to be both, and I am not disappointed. I’m also prepping a bunch of upcoming stuff, keeping things on back burners and stirring frequently so nothing scorches. All in all, a normal week for me!

Kat: It’s been a few weeks since you’ve heard from me in this column, though I have managed to get a few reviews out. Here are the recent books I’ve read that I’ll be reviewing soon: The Last Witness is exactly the kind of mind-blowing science fiction that I’ve learned to expect from K.J. Parker. Lois McMaster Bujold’s Proto Zoa is a pleasant collection of her early short stories. My daughter and I enjoyed listening to Brandon Sanderson’s Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians together. A challenge from a reader led me to Walter Tevis’s Mockingbird, an entertaining dystopian novel from 1980. Currently I’m half way through Dexter Palmer’s fabulous new novel,Version Control. Every one of these books has been a winner!

Kevin: Midterms are over – phew! – and I’m finally getting a breather. This weekend, I’ll be rereading George R. R. Martin’s A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE series (AKA Game of Thrones), because it’s been five years since my first read! Hopefully I’ll have some time to dig into other delicious fantasy novels in the near future as well, namely Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles, which I still haven’t read yet!

Marion: I was at a writers’ retreat for my vacation, so the only think other than manuscripts I read was Toni Morrison’s new book God Help the Child. When I got home I treated myself to Max Gladstone’s first novel in the CRAFT series; Three Parts Dead.Thoroughly enjoyable! I’m about to finish John Connolly’s and Jennifer Ridyard’s novel Dominion, and a review will follow. It’s a wide ranging story that follows several of the different characters we’ve met along the way, and I’m liking it.

Rachael: After trailblazing through Brandon Sanderson‘s STORMLIGHT ARCHIVE, one author’s definitive epic life’s work evidently wasn’t enough for me, and I’ve decided to re-read the HARRY POTTER series. Who needs a social life when you’ve got Hogwarts.

Sandy: Moi? I am just about finished reading The Best of Leigh Brackett, which contains 400+ pages of wonderful short stories and novellas from the so-called “Queen of Space Opera.” I hope to get a review out for this marvelous collection shortly, and will then proceed on to another, shorter book of Brackett short stories, The Coming of the Terrans, which happily has practically no overlap with the Best of collection…

Skye: I have been fairly swallowed by school as of late but I have been reading when I can (mostly on the bus, I keep almost missing my stop) and the books I’ve picked up or continued have all been good ones! They are: YOU by Austin Grossman, The Black Lung Captain by Chris Wooding, The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch, and a review copy from NetGalley of Central Station by Lavie Tidhar. I can’t say I’m sure how any of them are going to end but I’m definitely enjoying the stories so far.

Stuart: This week I finished Frank Miller‘s SIN CITY (The Hard Goodbye) and the first two volumes of the quirky space opera comic SAGA. Now I’m itching to watch the Sin City (2005) movie directed by Miller, Rodriguez, and Tarantino, along with the sequel A Dame To Kill For(2014). And I’ve discovered the perfect musical complement to SAGA: listen to Grimes’ albums Art Angels (2015) and Visions (2015) and you’ll see what I mean – enchanting music. In fact, her first album Geides Prime (2010) and most of its songs (like Sardaukar Levenbeck and Feyd Rautha) are thematically dedicated to Dune! As for audiobooks, I finished Octavia Butler‘s Mind of My Mind (1977), second volume of her PATTERNIST series, and have moved on to Clay’s Ark (1984). Butler’s books are not easy or comfortable reading, but they are compelling. Just don’t expect to be uplifted.

Tadiana: In the ongoing saga of my MERCY THOMPSON marathon, I’ve finished Patricia Briggs‘ Night Broken and have now begun Fire Touched, her latest book in this series, which will be published in about two weeks. The reviews of all these books are a work in progress! I also read the second book in Jessica Day George‘s middle grade fantasy CASTLE GLOWER series, Wednesdays in the Tower, and am currently reading Patricia McKillip‘s brand new fantasy novel, Kingfisher. In the non-SFF arena, I just finished reading Patrick O’Brian’s Master and Commander, which had some wonderful characters and scenes but also a truly daunting amount of nautical jargon.

Terry: I picked up The Appearance of Annie Van Sinderen by Katherine Howe because it’s just about due at the library, and now I’m kicking myself for not having started it sooner. It’s one of those genre-benders, looking a lot like mainstream fiction until you get about 100 pages in, and then bam! It becomes unmistakable that this is some sort of haunting or time travel or — well, I’m not sure what yet, because I’m still reading it, but I’m sure it’ll become clear sooner or later. I’m also reading a ton about the primaries, which either makes me a responsible citizen or a masochist. Or both.

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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. Lancelot, there’s no shame in admitting you need professional help. Really.

    ALCATRAZ VERSUS THE EVIL LIBRARIANS? Where have I been? That is a title for me.

  2. “Who needs a social life when you’ve got Hogwarts.” – Rachael speaking directly to my heart of hearts

  3. Kevin, are you seriously going to read the whole 5 volumes of Game of Thrones this weekend??!?

    • If yes, I have some follow-up questions. Most of them have to do with robots or demi-god powers.

      • If one reads at a speed of 100 pages per hour, one would still need roughly 44 hours to read the published books (in hardcover). That’s a 40-hour work week, plus time-and-a-half. Yikes!

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