Sunday Status Update: June 9, 2013

This week we hear from Gurgi of the Lands of Prydain, assistant to Taran, Assistant Pig-Keeper of Caer Dallben. Which makes Gurgi a sort of super-concentrated assistant, I suppose. Anyway, Gurgi hails from the Prydain Chronicles, the best children’s fantasy series that no one’s heard about.

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Gurgi: This week Gurgi found a book, a good book, yes. Gurgi found it stimulating and he found it enriching. It was the best crunchings and munchings Gurgi had all week, poor hungry Gurgi.

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Kat: I read three novellas and one and a half novels this week. The first was Dan Simmons’ The Guiding Nose of Ulfänt Banderōz which is one of the stories from the anthology Songs of the Dying Earth: Stories in Honor of Jack Vance. Subterranean Press is publishing it as a stand-alone novella, but I suggest that interested readers purchase the entire anthology. I also read The Last Full Measure by Jack Campbell, which was something quite different from hi s usual military science fiction. Then there was Kage Baker’s Rude Mechanicals, a COMPANY novella. I love Kage Baker! I tried to read Extinction, the second book in B.V. Larson’s STAR FORCES series, but it was awful and I gave up halfway through. The best thing I read last week was Chuck Wendig’s new urban fantasy The Blue Blazes. That was fun.

fantasy and science fiction book reviews

Marion: I finished an older Jack Reacher thriller, 61 Hours. As far as I’m concerned, Lee Child is the master of this kind of story, and Reacher is a character I would follow into any situation, no matter how absurd. I finished up a story collection of Rachel Swirsky. I don’t think I’ve seen another writer who can control the tone of a story as well as she does. And I just started Ha’Penny, by Jo Walton.

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Ryan: I started reading Robert Charles Wilson‘s Axis, the sequel to his critically acclaimed Spin. The characters really want to know why the Hypotheticals created an arch to another planet, which humankind is rapidly settling. I suspect the Hypotheticals created the arch because Wilson loves to write about the frontier.

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: I had expected to get a great deal of reading done this week, as I was on vacation from Saturday through Wednesday, but alas, two days were spent driving, many hours were spent sleeping, many more hours were spent listening to my husband reading aloud to me from Robert J. Parker‘s Chance (one of the SPENSER mysteries), and I only read one book from cover to cover: M.L.N. Hanover‘s Graveyard Child, the fifth book in his series, THE BLACK SUN’S DAUGHTER. The book seems to indicate that it’s the last in the series, but at the same time leave open several huge issues for later resolution. so I’m not sure what Abraham has in mind here. I hope the series isn’t over, because I love it — and as has been the case with each earlier book, this fifth book was the best of them. I also started Under the Dome by Stephen King, in anticipation of the television series starting later this month; Sea Change by S.M. Wheeler, which is marvelously weird; and In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods by Matt Bell, which also partakes of the weird. Finally, I’m reading the Summer issue of Subterranean Magazine, which is dedicated to K.J. Parker — great stuff!

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Tim: This week I read a bit of Stephen Lawhead‘s Hood, because I love Robin Hood stories and I’d enjoyed Lawhead’s Taliesin reimagining some years back. I’m a bit divided on this one, mostly I think because of my ardent affection for the “classic” Hood stories. I don’t find the story bad or unpromising, but… did we really need Welsh mythology crammed down Robin Hood’s gob? Sure, you could make a great case for the “original” Robin Hood figure — if he ever existed — being Welsh rather than English, but at this point Robin Hood is so fixed in Barnsdale, Nottingham, or Sherwood that removing him seems as artificial as reviving him in the twenty-eighth century as captain of the star cruiser Outlaw Marian. It might be a fun idea, but it’s not Robin Hood, so why use Robin rather than inventing someone new? To Lawhead’s credit, he does some good things with tying together history and myth, and the flavor is never off the mark, although the characterization on the supporting cast is not all it could be. Still, we’ll wait and see how it all turns out before rendering judgment.

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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. RedEyedGhost /

    Everything I’ve seen about The Blacksun’s Daughter is that it will be a ten book series.

  2. That would make me very happy, Ghost!

    • April /

      I had logic issues with the first in the Blacksun’s Daughter so never read past that one.

      I just finished Sea Change too and while it WAS marvelously weird, I found the first third to be difficult – it felt to me that a chapter explaining Lily’s current family situation and why she’s treated so poorly by everyone was taken out on the last editing session and no replacement text was entered. I very much wanted to put it down because of that easily fixed reader confusion, but I kept with it and was happy I did.

  3. Oh, man, now I want to write something about a futuristic space pirate named Robin who helms the space cruiser Outlaw Marian. Darn you, Tim!

  4. I thought Stephen Lawhead’s reasoning about Wales was kind of convincing, but I can’t claim to know a lot about it. I enjoyed the first two books but never read the third.

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