Sunday Status Update: June 2, 2013

This week, Ron Weasley shares his impression of Harry Potter’s trials and tribulations.

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Ron: This week I really tried reading something. It was a real book. With words. But too much was happening otherwise for anyone to really focus. Except Hermione. Anyway, the thing is that Harry’s on the outs with Hogwarts as an entire entity again… somehow. Y’know, Ginny’s really carrying a torch for Harry, but I keep telling her to wait until he graduates and this on-again, off-again thing with the school is over. He and Hogwarts break up and make up more often than the couples on one of Mum’s wireless programs.

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Bill: This week, actually two since I missed our last update, made for some great reading. It began with Kate Atkinson‘s Life After Life, about a character who repeatedly dies and then returns to pick up her life anew (without any memory of her former lives). It’s a fascinating premise that was wonderfully executed. I then turned to another favorite author—Daniel Abraham. His The Tyrant’s Law (book three in his DAGGER AND THE COIN series), was absolutely excellent, as expected.  I followed that up with another Abraham, the pretty-close-to-excellent Abaddon’s Gate, the third book in the EXPANSE series, which he writes in collaboration with Ty Franck under the pseudonym of James Corey. Outside of fantasy/sci-fi, I read Emma Donohugh‘s short story collect Astray. An interesting concept–all the stories based on real events which were concisely detailed after each story, but my reaction was mostly “meh” to all but three or four. Finally, I read Paul Yoon‘s Snow Hunters, a nice enough little quiet story but not much more than that.

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Brad: This week I’ve been rereading The Great Gatsby, one of the few canonical novels they teach in high school that I believe they SHOULD teach in high school–Goodbye Scarlet Letter & Romeo and Juliet (Don’t get me wrong: I’m all for Hawthorne‘s short stories and Shakespeare‘s sonnets and comedies in high school). I also am giving The Sun Also Rises another chance (I prefer Hemingway‘s short stories). I wanted to reread Fitzgerald and Hemingway after watching Midnight In Paris. I loved that movie, and it’s now my favorite Woody Allen film, just barely beating out Sweet and Lowdown.  I’m also reading Looking for Alaska by John Green, and in preparation for seeing the movie, I’m reading Matthew Quick‘s The Silver Linings Playbook. This novel is excellent, and the two key novels referenced are set the beginning are Great Gatsby and Farewell to Arms, which I almost started reading two days ago instead of The Sun Also Rises. That would have been odd. I’m also still reading PKD‘s Valis for the first time, and I think it’s stylistically the best novel I’ve read by him. So far, I think it’s one of his greatest novels. I read a bunch of comics recently, but let me just mention one as a must-read, six-out-of-five stars book: Courtney Crumrin and the Night Creatures. There are multiple volumes, but get this one first. Trade collections of comics usually come out in paperback then go out of print, or at best, go from hardback to paperback and THEN go out of print. This four-issue collection came out in black and white and in paperback and DID go out of print. However, it’s been re-issued in hardback AND it’s been colored. Whoever did the coloring did an amazing job. Volumes 2 & 3 are also out. Volume 4 comes out in October. These are beautiful quirky stories. Imagine Harry Potter as a cynical tween blond goth-girl. There are real moments of tenderness in this story of magic and night creatures.

fantasy and science fiction book reviews John: I finally finished The Forever Knight by John Marco. Almost done with Sharp by Alex Hughes.

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Kat: I have read 85 books so far this year! This week I finished Magic Highways, the latest Jack Vance story collection published by Subterranean Press. I was actually reading that book on the night he died. I also finished John Ringo’s TROY RISING series with Citadel, and The Hot Gate. I read these because the audiobook publisher sent them to me, but I didn’t really like them. I finished Jim Butcher’s CODEX ALERA series with the last book, First Lord’s Fury. That whole series was pretty standard epic fantasy that was mostly forgettable. The best books I read this week were Brian Lumley’s novella Necroscope: The Mobius Murders (I’d like to read more of his Necroscope stories) and John Scalzi’s Agent to the Stars which was really entertaining, especially on audio because Wil Wheaton was the narrator. Wheaton is so good at Scalzi.

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Marion: I just finished Dreams and Shadows by C. Robert Cargill. I wanted to like this book so much more than I did. It has some ideas that are intriguing, but many that are all too familiar, and an awkward structure and incomplete plot work against it. A review will follow.

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Steven: Finally out of school for a few weeks! Currently reading A World Out of Time by Larry Niven. One of his older books, I first read this back in the 1970’s. Still holding up for this re-read.

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Terry: John Joseph Adams is an amazing editor. His anthologies of SF, fantasy and horror short stories always contain such a wide range of stories on a single idea, more range than I ever expect when I pick one up. I’m reading Oz Reimagined: New Tales from the Emerald City and Beyond, and can hardly believe how many different Dorothys I’m meeeting — not to mention Scarecrows, Tin Men and Cowardly Lions.

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Tim: This week I finally finished Tailchaser’s Song. While it was densely imagined and overall well-written, the curse of Tad Williams strikes again for me: I appreciated it without enjoying it very much. Once it was done, I looked back on John Dickinson‘s The Cup of the World. I first read it nearly ten years ago now, but most of what I recalled was fuzzy. Anyway, I gave it a whirl. It was literary, good imagery, and… I didn’t really care for it. Bit of a disappointing week all round.

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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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One comment

  1. funny Marion, for me it wasn’t that I didn’t like Cargill’s book as much as I wanted to, but liked it more than I wanted to

    Brad, I’m with you on Papa. Love, love, love the short stories. Personally can’t stand the novels. And does anyone write worse women characters? But The Collected Short Stories? I just bought it for my Kindle despite owning a print copy, just to dip into at any time. And I love Gatsby, just some beautiful lines in that book.

    Terry, guess I’ll have to get to that copy of Oz Reimagined on my Kindle sooner than I might have . . .

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