This week, I’m reviving a mothballed tradition that helps us out occasionally in lean times – the return of the character update.

Ayesha: Week 149,986. Still waiting eternally in holy Kor for my lost love Kallikrates to be reborn and find his way to me, yadda yadda. One of my priestesses asked me recently why it was that Kallikrates hadn’t been reborn yet, and where his spirit was in the meantime. I was forced to admit that spirits don’t actually wait in penalty boxes and Kallikrates is reborn someplace. He’s just not quite right yet. See, I’m not holding out all this time for Kallikrates as a hound dog. I want my Kallikrates. My priestess pondered this a while and then asked if I’d still like Kallikrates if he was a woman. I said no, because I’m not into girls. She asked if I’d still like him if he was bald, and I said I couldn’t fathom Kallikrates being bald. Well, what if he was short? Well, obviously I need at least 6’2″ or so. My priestess gave me a look and said that maybe I didn’t really love him if I needed him to be tall and handsome. So I blasted her, obviously. Look, it’s not a matter of affection, it’s about standards. Anyway, why do I have to explain myself? I’m She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed! Besides, I got enough of this “would you like me if I was fat” nonsense when Kallikrates was still alive.

I’d definitely put him on a diet, though. If he was fat. Just saying.

Geralt: Hmmm. Discovered this week that the spheres briefly aligned and put the continent in celestial opposition to someplace called “Randland.” Yen tells me that it’s a powerful world, but that it doesn’t really make much sense. Sounds familiar. Apparently they’ve got a swordsman like me, a sorceress like her, and a whole batch of mysteriously powerful kids like Ciri. I asked if they had a bard like Jaskier. She said they did, but theirs wasn’t going to go viral. Hmph. Didn’t know Jaskier had come down sick.

Kat: Since you heard from me last, a few weeks ago, I’ve been reading (with my daughter) Rachel Aaron’s DFZ series, a spin-off of her HEARTSTRIKER series. I’ve finished the first two books, Minimum Wage Magic and Part-Time Gods. I’m working on the last book, Night Shift Dragons. I’ve also been re-reading Josiah Bancroft’s BOOKS OF BABEL in preparation for the final installment, The Fall of Babel. These books are so good and I can’t wait to get to that last book in the next few days.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Legolas: Journal Entry 3450030: Still sailing to the Undying Lands with Gimli, and once again ran ashore on a mysterious beach. We were greeted by a phalanx of armored Men who took us up into a very impressive castle to meet someone called the “Hand of the King.” Personable fellow. Gave us wine and told us all about the glory days of his realm. Eventually I had to comment that it seemed like they’d had some lean times lately, as everything he mentioned seemed to have happened in the past. The Hand sighed and said that they’d used to be a very famous land, but after a few terrible seasons everyone forgot about them. Apparently their only hope is now some dragons in a house someplace. At that point decided to return to the ship. Gimli gets nervous when people mention dragons.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Supergirl: My mask keeps coming off when I fly. Kryptonians can’t even get the virus, but Kal says we have to “set a good example” and “show solidarity” and whatever. So I wear it. Until I forget, and it flies off in the wind. Even when I do keep it on, half the people I save sneer at me and say I should listen to Luthor about some kind of drug he’s manufacturing. It sounds like the same thing I give Comet the Superhorse, but I’m probably misremembering. Once I told some guy that I had to wear the mask because if I got the disease it’d mutate into Krypton Variant. Did a little cough. He shut up in a hurry then.

Terry:  I am doing my best to whittle down the pile of books I have bookmarks in. I’ve made considerable progress in the first week of the year, completing The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski, the first collection of stories about THE WITCHER; Square3 by Mira Grant, which I devoured the day it came out; Ring Shout by P. Djeli Clark, a brilliant novella about a Ku Klux Klan powered by eldritch beings; and Gallant by Victoria Schwab, a sort-of haunted house novel, very melancholy. Now I’m attempting to complete A Tip for the Hangman by Allison Epstein, an historical novel about Christopher Marlowe – I should finish it today – and then getting back to City of the Uncommon Thief by Lynne Bertrand. Maybe I’ll actually be able to keep this particular New Year’s resolution!

Tim: This week, I carried on with Robin McKinley‘s The Blue Sword, a novel that I feel somewhat surprised (and disappointed) that I did not read as a teenager during my broader McKinley phase. While not the biggest manga reader, I also somehow got wrapped up in a series called Spy x Family by Tatsuya Endo. It’s a light and fluffy situation comedy – a spy, an assassin, and a psychic from a fake (but inevitably ever more genuine) family unit, each member trying to conceal his or her secret from the other two – and I found it adorable.


  • Tim Scheidler

    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.