Sunday Status Update: February 9, 2014

We haven’t heard from Drizzt in a while, so this week he returns.

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Drizzt: It has been a delightful few weeks, until this very day. First I called upon the Lady Alustriel of that most lovely city Silverymoon (some philistine had the temerity to suggest it should be renamed on the grounds of “intolerable silliness” — I say that man — or dwarf, or elf — has no soul). The Lady Alustriel received me quite kindly, seated me at her right hand at the feasting table, and showered me with presents so that I was much embarrassed and knew not what to say in the face of such friendly generosity. Alas, I was forced to decline a moonlit stroll through the gardens with her ladyship on grounds of being much wearied. The next day I slipped away — a Ranger is ever in and out. Next I came to that delightful Mithral Hall, home of my good friend Bruenor Battlehammer and his daughter Catti-Brie. She and I spent an afternoon horseback riding, picnicking beneath lazily gusting canopies, and reciting poetry. It was remarkable how many of Catti-Brie’s poems seemed tailor-made to myself! There must have been more dark elf swordsmen in the annals of history than I had imagined. Naturally, I was forced to slip away again. A Ranger is ever in and out.

It was a week later, today, that I learned that both ladies have been taken by a madness and no longer wish to see me. Some dark spell, no doubt. Why do these things keep happening to me?

AlixAlix: This week I read Anne Leonard’s debut novel, Moth and Spark, which is a very traditional high fantasy romance (involving dragon-riding, handsome princes, forbidden marriages with commoners, and ballroom dances). It might not have broadened the borders of fantastic fiction, but I can happily report that there were no orcs or quests. I’ve also been reading some short fiction online. I can strongly recommend LaShawn M. Wanak’s “21 Steps to Enlightenment” at Strange Horizons, and Ken Liu’s 2011 story, “Simulacrum.” Next week I’ll be returning to the safety of Valente, with Silently and Very Fast.

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Bill: This past week I read and reviewed Carrie Vaughn’s two superhero novels,  After the Golden Age and Dreams of the Golden Age, and also finished (and will soon review) Lockstep by Karl Schroeder. I also read Gary Jackson’s collection of poetry, Missing You, Metropolisa strong mix of pop culture/superhero references/subjects alongside or interwoven with issues of adolescence, race, power, and loss. What could have been simple smile-inducing nostalgia for the days of reading Spiderman or Superman  is instead a moving and thought-provoking series of sharply written poems. I guess I could also add Gilgamesh and a host of freshmen essays comparing said Gilgamesh to several Greek heroes to the reading mix this week. Along with chapters four and five of Steven Erikson’s Dust of Dreams for the ongoing reread.

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Kat: This week, somehow, I managed to listen to more than 20 hours of stories and poems by H.P. Lovecraft while maintaining my normal level of sanity. (Not sure if that’s really saying anything). I’ll be posting my review of Eldritch Tales: A Miscellany of the Macabre for tomorrow’s Horrible Monday column. For something completely different, I read Tom Holt’s amusing new novel, When It’s a Jar. This was my first experience with Holt. For those who don’t know, he writes humorous fantasy along the lines of Terry Pratchett.

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Terry:I’ve been catching up on back issues of Nightmare Magazine and dipping into a new magazine I hadn’t known about, Supernatural Tales. That’s actually been enough to keep me thoroughly occupied, even as I dip into this book or that coming into the house this week. Lots of good reading on tap, just waiting for me to have time.

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Tim: I’d meant to get more reading (and writing) done this week, but once again I’m stymied. Ah well. This week, I read H.G. WellsThe Time Machine and began Robert Ludlum‘s The Bourne Identity. The Time Machine is a childhood favorite of mine, and I’m relieved to find it mostly holds up to my recollections. Bourne is a decent little spy thriller, but I find myself comparing it unfavorably to the film adaptation.

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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. Brad Hawley /

    My reading has been scattered as usual. I’m almost done listening to the first Nightside book, which I find almost unbearable except when I find it amusing. I want to like it so very badly, but it’s a really bad copy of first-person hard-boiled fiction, which is my favorite literary genre. There are some great lines, and it’s a wonderful set-up, but Gaiman does Nightside so much better in Neverwhere. I also haven’t been able to finish Mike Carey’s first urban fantasy, but I’m not gonna give up since I’m a huge fan of Carey’s comics (I’m rereading his Lucifer series again right not). I have high hopes for Stormfront and Sandman Slim, which I understand are similar. I also want to go back and read Manly Wade Wellman’s John Thunstone’s tales.

    On audible, I started listening to The Lightning Thief, which is wonderful. And this morning I picked up the first of the Kane books on the audible sale. I’ve been listening to it and like it so far. I’ve also listened to a few short stories from two volumes of the top-notch collection of horror tales in “Doug Bradley’s Spinechillers.” Great stuff. I highly recommend them.

    I’m reading a bunch of random comics, including The Massive and DMZ and Northlanders by Brian Wood. I just love his work. DEMO is also a favorite, though I think it’s currently between printings (as is most of the seven volumes of Northlanders, which I think would greatly appeal to Fanlit readers). I’ve also started The Olympians series of Graphic Novels (which starts with Zeus). There are six volumes out so far, and they look wonderful in terms of the art. The storytelling is clean, poetic, and economical. They promise to be the some of the best retellings of classic mythology, and they’ve received excellent reviews.

    Also in comics: I’ve continued to read short stories by Rick Veitch in his Shiny Beasts collections (see Friday’s review) and his Heartburst collection. Veitch is friends with and did work with Alan Moore early in Moore’s career as they worked together on Swamp Thing, Moore’s major entry into the American Comics Scene.

    When it comes to comics, I like to pick up #1s on a regular basis just to see what types of things are out there. For the most part, I’m not interested in reading on, but the #1 that has most recently blown me away is Deadly Class. Number two comes out this month. This is the time to get in right at the beginning of a new, cool series.

    Finally, I got a beautiful copy of H.P. Lovecraft’s works. I buy most of my books digitally now (except comic books and books not available digitally). But Lovecraft just makes me want to read a giant hardback book, preferably dusty and immersed in enough spells that it will doom the reader upon opening, and Barnes and Noble has a nice edition with a beautiful cover set out with their other big collections of public domain literature. I think someone, a devotee of that cursed text The Necronomicon, must have entered B&N secretly at night and slipped in the stack of Lovecraft editions. They give the APPEARANCE of being a part of the standard editions–Austen, Shakespeare, etc.–but I suspect a darker truth.

    Anyway, must go: Cthulu Calls.

    • Brad Hawley /

      Wow. Now that I see what I’ve written above, I realize I’ve said even more than usual. Sorry. Also, with my kids in the background, I didn’t get a chance to proof my post. Once again, I give my apologies. I hope all of you out there are having a wonderful weekend.

  2. Kat – I’ve tried to read Tom Holt but for some reason his books come off to me as trying too hard to be funny to the detriment of the story. I keep getting recommended them as I love humor and I keep trying but I’ve yet to find one I could read all the way through.

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