Sunday Status Update: January 10, 2016

This week, Captain Marvel addresses recent developments in her comics.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Captain Marvel: So it turns out we have an oracle in the Marvel Universe, and he has revealed things unto me, and all that. It seems we shall have another Civil War, because the last Civil War wasn’t definitive enough. Once again Iron Man’s on one side and this time I’ll apparently be on the other. Naturally, the fight will be over the oracle, and whether we can use his super crime-predicting powers to more effectively stop villains from… wait, hold on. This is the plot to Minority Report. No. No, this is stupid. I’m not doing it. You can’t make me.

*Sounds of conflict, objects breaking*

Whew. Huuuhhh. Gah. Phew. Okay. So… apparently the magic oracle says I will do it. Fighting on the side that isn’t Tom Cruise’s. Then there’ll be a “major death.” Heh. Yeah, sucks to be you, Iron Man. have a new movie coming out soon.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Bill:This week I read Brandon Sanderson’s newest MISTBORN novel, Bands of Mourning, which I mostly enjoyed though it id have some pacing issues. I also read License to Quill by Jacopo della Quercia, a Shakespeare as Super Spy novel that had potential but just took the James Bond parallels too far. A better historical novel was The Relic Master, by Christopher Buckley. Finally, I also read some books/articles on maps for an essay I’m working on.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Brad: This week I read a few comics: some old Silver Surfer issues, the first volume of the excellent Injustice, Batman Earth One (vol. 1), and Wayward (vol. 1), which takes place in contemporary Japan and incorporates yokai from the world of Japanese spirit folklore. I also read the first half of Alex Robinson’s Our Expanding Universe, a realistic comic about a group of guys dealing with or resisting the role of “fatherhood.” I continue to read Elric, trying to make each chapter last as long as possible. Meanwhile, I’ve started Michael Moorcock‘s DANCERS AT THE END OF TIME series, which is collected in a single omnibus edition that I had to order from England. I’m still reading Mark Epstein’s The Trauma of Everyday Life, and I finished Sam Harris’s Waking Up. Finally, I’ve started reading On Having No Head by D. E. Harding.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Kat: Four short works this week: Neil Gaiman’s “The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains” (reviewed here), Alex Bledsoe’s “Shall We Gather” (a TUFA short story), Joan Aiken’s children’s collection called A Necklace of Raindrops, and Claire North’s amazing novella The Thief (the second GAMESHOUSE story). Two novels: Gail Carriger’s final FINISHING SCHOOL novel, Manners & Mutiny (review), and, by the time you read this, I’ll probably be done with Morgan Llywelyn’s Only the Stones Survive (which I’m not going to be able to heartily recommend, in case you’re wondering).

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Katie: I saw Star Wars at the cinema this week, and yes I know it was pretty similar to what we’ve seen before, and yes there was another implausible Death Star, but call me a simpleton if you will, I absolutely loved it. Reading-wise I finished Ben Aaronovitch‘s Rivers of London (titled Midnight Riot in the US – why??). I enjoyed it, although I found some of the prose a little tiresome. I have just organised my bookshelf and have discovered an intimidating number of half-read/never opened books, so I better get on it. In other news I’m doing dry January and would like a glass of wine.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Marion: I finished Cory Doctorow’s Information Doesn’t Want to be Free. It is very well-written, and he has the ability to make complex concepts pretty clear, really, so any failure to grasp some of these ideas is all on me. I started Diana Pavlac Glyer’s Bandersnatch, the “layifying” of The Company They Keep, her study of The Inklings. I distracted myself, though, with a $3 copy of The Fifth Head of Cerberus I found at the bookstore. I’m into the second of Gene Wolfe’s three linked stories. I read this in the 70s. It makes much more sense now, since I’ve read more Wolfe in the meantime. Mind you, I’m not saying it makes sense, just more sense.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Rachael: The new year has been a bit of a shock to the system after how mindless and lazy the holidays were, and I am not halfway through my new book list yet. This doesn’t even qualify as behind schedule. The schedule is non-existent. STILL. I did managed to finish The Girl With All The Gifts (review on the way) and have begun The Humans, a rather charming novel about an alien that has embodied a Cambridge professor. It’s very fun. I’m also rereading The Hunger Games and actually remembering why it has spawned almost a decade of copy-cat dystopias. It really is great.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Skye: Right now my currently reading pile consists of: The Black Lung Captain by Chris Wooding, YOU by Austin GrossmanSANDMAN: Preludes & Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman, and for what I’m sure seems like forever I keep meaning to jump back into The Skein of Lament by Chris Wooding, The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch, and Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. I also finally figured out how to use NetGalley and from it have a copy of Kingfisher by Patricia McKillip, which I am currently flying through. Being the beginning of a new term means that I have lots more time for both reading and reviewing! So I have started the reviews for Ultimate Spider-Man Vol. 1 by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley, The Weavers of Saramyr by Chris Wooding, and The Awakened Mage by Karen Miller. None of the books listed above are any of the HUGE NUMBER I received over the holidays. It was as if the people in my life know I like to read or something… Oh, and I have seen Episode VII. Twice. Round three is a definite possibility.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Stuart: I just finished my second listen of The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin, and that was really worth it. Only now did I pick up on all the little clues carefully scattered throughout the book to prepare you for the big reveals in the last 50 pages. This was definitely one of the best and most original fantasies I’ve read in years, and makes me eager for the upcoming books. Although I finished Alan Moore‘s Watchmen a week ago, the prospect of writing a review that does justice to this genre-changing and subversive masterpiece is really daunting. I feel like I need to sit down undisturbed for an entire morning to give it proper attention. The same goes for The Fifth Season. So I’m planning to bring my laptop to the Japanese ski resort where I’ll be taking my daughter and her classmate for a 1-day trip before school starts. While everyone else is busy falling over in the snow and dodging each other, I’ll be warm and cozy in the hotel, tapping away at the keyboard. Last year I was snowboarding and whacked my head twice, which tells me I should leave that sport to younger and more resilient people. I’ve now started reading Alan Moore‘s V for Vendetta on iPad, and will begin listened to Cormac McCarthy‘s Blood Meridian since I finally feel ready to take that one on.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Tadiana: I’m still working on Patricia Briggs MERCY THOMPSON and ALPHA AND OMEGA series: I’ve read Bone Crossed in the first series and the initial novella Alpha and Omega and Cry Wolf in the second series, and have the fifth and sixth books in the MERCY series ready to start. Briggs’ books have really grown on me as I’ve gone along. I also read Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol right before Christmas — well, technically it is a fantasy! Other SFF reads in the past two or three weeks (while I’ve been AWOL from this column) have been Brandon Sanderson‘s The Rithmatist, an interesting YA novel set at a Hogwarts-like school with another of Sanderson’s creative magical schemes (this one involving chalk designs and drawings), Jessie Burton‘s The Miniaturist, which has just a light touch of magical realism, Jessica Day George’s YA fairy tale fantasy Princess of Glass, and Janette Rallison’s My Fairly Dangerous Godmother, another YA fairy tale romantic fantasy with some delightful humor. And finally — rather slowly — I’m working my way through Robert Jordan‘s The Eye of the World for the first time. Whew!

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Terry: I’m reading several things at once, as is my wont: A Crucible of Souls by Mitchell Hogan, the first in the SORCERY ASCENDANT SEQUENCE; Deryni Rising by Kathryn Kurtz, in order to participate in the reread of the first DERYNI trilogy going on at; and still parceling out The Privilege of the Sword by Ellen Kushner to myself a few chapters at a time — this book is so delicious I don’t want it to end.  Waiting eagerly in the bullpen are Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, a new VORKOSIGAN SAGA novel by Lois McMaster Bujold and Medusa’s Web by Tim Powers.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Tim: This week, I began reading Dragon Wing, first novel in Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman‘s DEATH GATE CYCLE. I actually don’t have much experience with Weis and Hickman, though I figure I’m exactly the right age to have gone gaga over them back in the 90s. I’m not sure what’s up with that — luck of the libraries, I guess. People have given me a lot of the books over time, and I think I read one of the Dragons of the Adjective Noun books (enough to decide I hate Tasslehoff Burrfoot), but overall I’m coming into this fresh. It’s not what I expected in some ways. And in others, it really, really is. Otherwise, I reread George R.R. Martin‘s A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms and part of Cormac McCarthy‘s All the Pretty Horses. Martin is always recognizably Martin, though I will say that Knight is somewhat brighter and more innocent than the main A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE series, recalling more of the kinds of knightly stories I used to read in Ivanhoe or Roger Lancelyn Green‘s King Arthur retelling. McCarthy… well, this one’s a Western. Just like The Road‘s a dystopian Sci/Fi novel. Of course, pointing that out in most literary fiction circles is like denouncing gun ownership at a hunter’s breakfast.

*whispers* Still a Western, though.

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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. A NECKLACE OF RAINDROPS is just about the prettiest title, ever.

    And Happy Birthday to Kelly!

  2. Happy birthday, Kelly!

    Also, this week, this only thing of note that I did was: I went to the cinema and saw The Force Awakens. I laughed, I cried, I cried some more, and one viewing is not enough. I must go see it again.

  3. Katie and Jana, I felt the exact same way about Star Wars.

    Marion, When I first wrote my update, I wrote “A Neckless of Raindrops” but fortunately I caught the typo before sending it in.


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