Sunday Status Update: June 16, 2013

This week, Frodo lives.

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Frodo: This week has been extremely traumatic so far, roaming in the wild and dodging Black Riders everywhere I turn. The worst of it is that every time I try to settle down and relax with a good book, Strider’s there to bang on about some elven legend or another. Tonight he chanted what must have been half the bloody Lays of Beleriand, stopping every four verses without fail to tell us how much better it would sound in the original Quenya. Getting quite fed up with this, but Sam keeps encouraging our amateur jongleur to ever more ridiculous vocal gymnastics “so long as it’s about elves, Mister Frodo.” There are times I wish we’d never had that dinner with the elves in the Shire. Food is the way to win Sam’s heart, and as the elves seem to bake honey into everything, I should have seen this infatuation coming.

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Kat: It was a pretty good reading week for me. Almost everything I read was at least fairly entertaining. The only thing that didn’t hit the spot was John Scalzi’s The Sagan Diary which is a novella set in his OLD MAN’S WAR universe. It was boring. A little better was Simon R. Green’s seventh NIGHTSIDE book, Hell To Pay. The best books were Robert A. Heinlein’s juvenile Time for the Stars, the first three (chronologically) of Lois McMaster Bujold’s MILES VORKOSIGAN books, Shards of HonorBarrayar, and The Warrior’s Apprentice. Last but not least was Kevin Hearne’s fourth IRON DRUID CHRONICLES novel, Tricked. All of this was done on audio. In print I’ve started Good-Bye, Robinson Crusoe and Other Stories by John Varley. This is looking very good so far.

fantasy and science fiction book reviews MarionThe Steel Seraglio  by Mike, Linda and Louise Carey was in the Nebula swag bag and the evocative black and white illustrations caught my interest. I started it over the weekend. The story is interesting, but the language tripped me up (it’s set in a fantasy past, yet one of the evil usurper’s guards refers to a concubine as a “little number,” carrying universal translation too far.) Then I got dragged out of the story by a logic problem; Rem is clearly not one of the concubines, but there are 365 concubines, and the usurper exiles 365, and Rem’s there, and none of them died, so how…  Anyway, yesterday I picked up Mary Robinette Kowal’s regency fantasy Glamour in Glass, and I’m having none of those kinds of problems!

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Steven: Started Where the Summer Ends: The Best Horror Stories of Karl Edward Wagner, Volume 1 by Karl Edward Wagner. I’ve read most of these stories before, but it’s great to revisit them. I’m a funny kind of horror fan in that I basically don’t like horror that much. The few horror authors I do enjoy reading are mostly the really, really older ones such as Edgar Allan Poe or H. P. Lovecraft, but Wagner is also a major favorite of mine. I’ve also been reading An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa 1942=1943, by Pulitzer Prize winner Rick Atkinson. I’m not usually a big fan of military history, but this one has been almost impossible to put down.

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Terry: It’s been a busy work week, so I haven’t gotten a lot of reading done. Still, I’ve read the most recent issues of Black Treacle Magazine and Nightmare, and started the new issue of Shadows and Tall Trees. Short fiction works well when I’m working hard! I’ve also started reading Magus of Stonewylde by Kit Berry, which is a YA novel about a girl who finds her salvation in a small, isolated community in Dorset — but there’s something sinister going on here that I haven’t quite figured out yet. I’m looking forward to seeing how it plays out.

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Tim: Purely on a whim, I reread the two books of Patrick Rothfuss‘s KINGKILLER CHRONICLE this week. The Name of the Wind is a truly remarkable debut novel. The Wise Man’s Fear, as in my first reading, is a work about which my feelings are a bit more complicated, though trying to parse out exactly just what my thoughts are on the matter is proving difficult.

Bill:  This week I read The Beautiful Land by Alan Averill (enjoyable but flawed by some plot and character issues), The Fall of Arthur by J.R. R. Tolkien (enjoyable but flawed by being unfinished), and The Lost Kingdom by Matthew Kirby (enjoyable, but more so for Middle Graders than adults).  Reviews up soon.  Hoping for enjoyable without the “buts” next week.

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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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