Sunday Status Update: July 20, 2014

This week, a big thank-you goes out to Kat for securing a status update from the mighty Chewbacca.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews ChewbaccaWraauuugggh. Uhwooouuu mwhooh uhuhuhuh grruh aarrrh wraauuhh ooouuuu mwauauauo oo oo raaugh arrr. Ruhm rrrrurururur Hrah Rururu Xawwmohww xx hguahr wraauughh ggrh ruaaa. Mmmwwwwau errrrm. Grrrrruh mghrhugh! Mrruh uu mwwwwmph Hrah xx ru Ghghgh, wrauughgha qx rgooogh brruugh. Ruoruorou mwuh uhuhuhuh vvrrrum? Ppppffffffft!!!! Grruh aarrrh jj. Ruahruahg xx hghrh MMMWWAA UU DUH RU VRUAH. Grrrhuuughh duh mwooooar wwuauauwmuauu uuu rhghgh. Wraaauuuugggh.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews KatThe best book I read this week was Jeff Salyard’s Scourge of the Betrayer. I was surprised that I liked it as well as I did. Most of the characters are crass and vulgar, but the story is saved (in my opinion) by a bookish scribe who is the point-of-view character. I look forward to reading the second book, which just came out on audio. John reviewed it yesterday. I was disappointed in Charles de Lint’s novella Jack in the Green, a modern Robin Hood story. I loved the premise, but I found it too simple and lacking the beauty and wonder that I expect from de Lint. Right now I’m finishing up Isaac Asimov’s Robots of Dawn the third novel in his SF mystery trilogy about a human/robot investigative team. 

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews KellyI spent the last few weeks rereading George R. R. Martin‘s A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE series — the parts of it that are finished, that is. Please, Martin, I beg you, I’m pining for book six! Currently, I’m splitting my time between Deborah Coates‘s rural fantasy Strange Country, Katherine Harbour’s new-adult Tam Lin retelling Thorn Jack, and Nicola Griffith‘s historical novel Hild

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Marion: I just finished Legends in Exile, Volume One of FABLESBill Willingham and Lan Medina’s graphic novel about folk-and-fairy-tale characters hiding in plain sight in New York City. I should have  review done soon. I love this concept. The dialogue is sharp and snarky. I’m also finishing up A Working Theory of Love by Scott Hutchins, because he is leading a workshop I will be taking later this month. A Working Theory of Love is a literary novel about intelligence, coming to see our parents as people, and learning to connect. It’s set in the San Francisco Bay Area, and I think part of my enjoyment of it is how affectionately Hutchins skewers the local tropes. His character ranges as far north as Marin County, and Hutchins knows his Marinites; but both Silicon Valley and San Francisco get their share of gentle and much-deserved ribbing in this ultimately very sweet story.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews RyanI am currently reading Jack Whyte‘s The Sorcerer: Metamorphosis after finishing The Sorcerer: Fort At River’s Bend. They are a historically grounded take on Arthurian legend. I also have been listening to Terry Pratchett‘s Raising Steam, but I have not been impressed by the number of lectures and reflections on the nature of progress (I’m not unsympathetic to Pratchett’s position, but how many characters are going to start a page of reflection with some variation of “that was the way things worked?”). Outside of SFF, I also read and enjoyed Ryan Holiday‘s Trust Me, I’m Lying, which explains how to use news blogs to undermine the integrity of journalism. Recommended.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews SandyNot much new on my end. I have been getting into Philip K. Dick’s 1977 novel A Scanner Darkly this week, and boy, is it ever proving to be a doozy! I hadn’t read anything by my old sci-fi favorite author in a few years now (Robert Silverberg has kind of supplanted him as my favorite lately), but this book is bringing back to me why I love Dick so much. His empathy for his wacko “little man” characters is in full force here, and his disdain for the drug culture is scathing. I feel pretty sure that my review for this work will surely be a good one….

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews TerryI’ve read many issues of Beneath Ceaseless Skies this week, catching up after several months of neglecting what has fast become one of my favorite magazines. I’m also reading The Children of Old Leech, a horror anthology edited by Ross E. Lockhart and Justin Steele. The anthology is built around Laird Barron‘s “carnivorous cosmos,” to quote the subtitle. The stories are excellent so far, and really catch the spirit of Barron’s work (some even catch his cadences and vocabulary). I’ll need to get back to novels next week, though; I always feel a little off balance when I’m not lost in another reality the way I get with novels.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Tim: This week has been busy — I read through a good deal of J.R.R. Tolkien‘s HISTORY OF MIDDLE-EARTH, and it left time for little else — but I did managed to get through a few more comics. I read Superman: Birthright (decent), X-Men: Battle of the Atom (meh), and Batman: The Man Who Laughs (enjoyable). I’m not particularly knowledgeable about the graphic novel medium, but I do find it fun.

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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. Don’t despair, Chewbacca! I knew you feel tangled up, and even snarled, right now, but you’ll be able to tease out the solution eventually.

    I thought A Scanner Darkly was amazing and emotionally devastating.

  2. Incidentally, has Hodor written for us yet?

    • I don’t think so, Kelly.

      • I think he needs to make a post that’s all “hodors” but they tell a story, much like Chewy here. I wonder if there’s a book at Amazon about “how to house train a direwolf” or something. I should see if I can throw something together for one of these.

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