Sunday Status Update: June 12, 2016

Sparse week this time, so a few extra characters have taken the opportunity to slip in.

Ayesha: Week 148,343. Still no Kallikrates. Some tribeswoman came by earlier and prostrated herself as per usual, so I made her scoot back and forth on her face for a while, just to be a bitch. She looked hilarious flopping around with her face on the floor and her rear stuck up in the air, but even so I eventually felt guilty about it. She seemed pleased, though. Seemed to think it had some kind of ritual significance and now she was favored or whatever. Or maybe she’d just spotted that I felt guilty and knew I planned on giving her what she wanted. My subjects can be surprisingly wily now and then.

SirBorsBors: This week things seemed to be going pretty well for the family. Lionel managed to actually win something at latest tourney, and of course I made my own modest contribution. Nobody was realistically going to unseat the Big Four (Lancelot, Tristan, Percival, Gawain), but I did well enough and for once Lancelot actually seemed to be behaving himself, which probably means he was coming off a big night (to everyone’s delight, he’s finally gotten old enough that hangovers actually seem to have an effect on him, and he gets all quiet and grumpy whenever he has one). Things were looking up. Then someone came by and told us that the body of a teenage girl had just come floating down the river on a barge, and it was apparently somehow Lancelot’s fault. Do you know what the king said? It wasn’t “Good Lord!” It wasn’t “poor child.” Oh no. It was “Ugh. Of course.”

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Kvothe: Very aggravating week. I tried to tell the tale of Felurian and my encounter with her in the Fae realm. I told how our limbs entangled and our passions ignited. I told how I impressed her with my lovemaking even though it was my first time, and how she taught me techniques unknown to mortal men, and came to love my music so much that she released me to spread her fame with both my voice and my body, instructing me to play my song far and wide and also to sleep around as much as possible, for I was now more or less a faery queen’s gift to all women. At which point everyone listening basically told me I was laying it on too thick and I should really just try asking Denna out already. It’s… it’s not about that! It’s not! It’s not…

Bill:This week’s completed books were:

In the Labyrinth of Drakes by Marie Brennan: the fourth installment in her Lady Trent memoirs and an excellent addition to the series

Transgalactic by James Gunn: a disappointing follow-up to his Transcendental

A Hundred Thousand Worlds by Bob Proehl: an ambitious and mostly, if not totally, successful coming-of-age novel set around the comics convention world

Star Trek: Starfleet Academy written by Mike Johnson and Ryan Parrott and illustrated by Derek Charm: a comic omnibus of five issues set in the Academy and partially centered on a new group of characters, though I wish it had been more focused on them

And I’m currently reading Articulating Dinosaurs: A Political Anthropology by Brian Noble, an intriguing and difficult interdisciplinary look at how dinosaurs enter and affect culture through their fossils, museum exhibits, and media presentations. I should have known I was in trouble when Lacan got mentioned in the first 30 or so pages . . .

Marion: I’m continuing to read Bandersnatch, Diana Pavlac Glyer’s exploration of The Inklings as a writers group, and their influence on each other. This is a rewriting of her academic work The Company They Keep, written for laypeople. I hesitate to use the term “dumbed down,” but… so it’s about right for me, in other words. I am reading my way through my thick and beautiful hard copy of Lightspeed’s People of Color Destroy Science Fiction, and starting to read the Hugo nominees out of my ballot packet. Some of that isn’t terribly fun, though, so for a break, I’m finishing up John Le Carre’s 1993 espionage thriller The Night Manager. It’s a bonus that I head Hugh Laurie and Tom Hiddleston in my head when I read their characters’ dialogue.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Red Sonja: Someone hired me to rid a village of a troublesome basilisk this week. I wasn’t sure what a basilisk was (though I was pretty sure it was a snake of some sort), but I like eating, so I said all right, point me at the basilisk. First they warned me that a basilisk kills whatever meets its eyes. I said whatever and got a mirror. So they pointed me at a chicken and told me that was the basilisk, so have at it. I, uh… it was a chicken. Like, just a chicken. Eventually, somebody else came along and said that maybe when it was a chicken that had the death stare, it was called a catoblepas. Only the first one said no, that was a cow with a death stare. A chicken with a death stare was a cockatrice or something. Or a basilisk. It was very confusing. Anyway, everyone argued for a while and I eventually asked how they knew it was a whatever-it-was. So they said it had to be, because it had looked at Old Jon, and Old Jon had dropped dead on the spot. I asked if Old Jon had possibly been, well, old. They allowed that he had been somewhat advanced in years but insisted that his death had looked awfully supernatural.

So anyway, I had chicken for dinner. Good day all around.

Sandy: Moi? I have just finished reading Philip Wylie and Edwin Balmer’s classic 1932 novel When Worlds Collide, and hope to get a review out for this one very shortly. I cannot imagine any reader of this book – at the end of which the Earth has been destroyed and a small band of survivors lands on a new world – NOT wanting to know what happens afterward. Thus, what could possibly be up next for me but that book’s 1933 sequel, After Worlds Collide? Stay tuned…

Stuart: This week I started listened to C.J. Cherryh‘s massive 1989 Hugo Award winner Cyteen, which is also set in her Alliance-Union universe. It’s a hefty 36-hour audiobook, which should come in handy since I’ll be in London, Oxford, and Birmingham for 2 weeks from Friday. It’s been 27 years since I last visited England, and my family has never been there.  I’ll be fulfilling a lifelong dream to visit Oxford on my birthday and plan to check out two important Tolkien sites: the Eagle and Child Inn (dating from the 16th century, where the Inklings met to discuss manuscripts, also known as the Bird and Baby), and the Bodleian Library, which apparently houses a Tolkien Archive (not sure if it’s open to the public). They recently acquired a rare map of Middle-earth illustrated by Pauline Baynes and annotated by Tolkien itself, so it would be awesome to see it, but just being there will be exciting enough!

Tim: This week I began Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner. I’m enjoying it so far. This is a novel that isn’t afraid to bend the rules and indulge itself a little, and in this context that makes for an improved reading experience. I’ve also been listening to a nonfiction lecture series on the crusades, The Era of the Crusades from the Great Courses.

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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. Stuart, have a wonderful time on your visit!

    Red Sonja, we need better-educated villagers. I’ve been saying that for years.

  2. dr susan /

    Kvothe,the story is hilarious, and I totally agree with your audience.
    Red Sonja, as long as you end up with a delicious chicken dinner, who cares what they call it?

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