Sunday Status Update: March 26, 2017

Character update will return next week.


Bill: This week I finished Tad William’s The Heart of What Was Lost, which I liked a bit more than Kat, and Scott Westerfeld’s fast moving and enjoyable (more for story than the visuals) YA graphic Spill Zone. Outside the genre I read Heretics: The Wondrous (and Dangerous) Beginnings of Modern Philosophy, by Steven and Ben Nadler, an engaging graphic introduction to Seventeenth Century figures such as Descartes, Hobbes, and others. I also finished Fleda Brown’s strong collection The Woods are On Fire: New and Selected Poems and Tracy Chevalier’s novel At the Edge of the Orchard. Chevalier is one of my favorite authors, and she does her usual great job with voice in this one. In non-fiction I read Weird Dinosaurs: The Strange New Fossils Challenging Everything We Thought We Knew by John Pickrell. It’s dinosaurs—what more need be said? As for genre media, I’m enjoying the final episodes of Grimm, still loving The Expanse and The Magicians (this was their musical episode), and after last night am currently trying to decide which was more stupid: Independence Day One or Two (I’m leaning toward the ending of One was more stupid but the entirety of Two wins out). I’m looking forward to washing the taste out with tonight’s viewing of Rogue One. 

Jana: This week I focused on books I’d already read over the last couple of months but, for one reason or another, hadn’t yet reviewed. Now that I’m all caught up on those, my desk is a little clearer and I can free up more time and attention for reading. I’m still working my way through Sylvain Neuvel‘s Waking Gods, since my attention was elsewhere, and I dipped a toe into Ian McDonald‘s Luna: New Moon, which is proving to be as complex and packed with social commentary as the only other book of his that I’ve read so far, River of Gods. (But I definitely see why Kat said it was “like … Dynasty or Dallas on the moon,” too!) And after that, who knows?

Marion: It wasn’t a big reading week for me because I was at work on the “zero draft” of a fiction project, which I finished on Wednesday! Yay! I am reading an ARC of Kristi DeMeester’s 1980s period-piece horror novel, Beneath. It’s got a snake-handling cult and a woman journalist who is traumatized by childhood abuse.

Sandy: Moi? Having just finished an excellent 1957 novel from English sci-fi author Eric Frank Russell, entitled Wasp, I am now moving on to another from this acclaimed author. Now I am reading his 1962 offering The Great Explosion, which book has been mentioned elsewhere as being among his very best, and hope to get a review for this one out shortly…

StuartThis week I’ve been listening to Alastair ReynoldsHouse of Suns (2008), a stand-alone novel not set in his REVELATION SPACE universe. It’s a wide canvas space opera that deals in multi-million year circuits of the galaxy for the incredibly long-lived post-human characters, which is mind-boggling. Just a note on some SFF-themed Netflix series I watched during the long, dark tea-time of the soul during my hernia troubles: Jessica Jones was good, but very dark and Killgrave is probably the most cruel villain I’ve seen in years – his power is truly frightening. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell was very entertaining, such a different take on English magic and alternate history, but I’m not sure if I want to dedicate 32 hours to the audiobook, though it’s a well-regarded book. The Expanse was also darkly entertaining, reminding me of Aliens, Blade Runner, Outland (1981, with Sean Connery), Firefly, and other gritty near-future stories. I’d definitely be interested in listening to the books now.  

Terry: I finished V.E. Schwab‘s A Darker Shade of Magic, and, as promised, I’ve dived right into A Gathering of Shadows. I’m really very fond of Delilah Bard, and find I kinda want to be her.  I’m also finally getting around to finishing The Alchemist of Souls by Anne Lyle, which I’ve been on-and-off with for a very long time now. I’m not sure why it hasn’t completely enthralled me, but I’m afraid the answer might be that this would read better as a straight historical novel, without the skralings. I don’t think my FanLit compatriots would agree with me on that. Finally, I’m reading The Moonlight War by S.K.S. Perry, which I’m finding rather confusing in its jumble of cultural references.

Tim: This week, I listened to a good portion of The Wheel of Osheim, third and final novel in Mark Lawrence‘s RED QUEEN’S WAR series. It’s just as entertaining as the previous two installments, and looks (so far) to be drawing the trilogy to a satisfying conclusion.

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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. Terry; about the Alchemist of Souls, I thoroughly enjoyed that series, but I do know what you mean. I think the sword-for-hire and his, um, sidekick could have supported a straight historical novel on their own. Or even if the skraelings had simply been the natives of the new world. I admired the inventiveness, though.

  2. April /

    Terry, I’m going to agree with you on The Alchemist of Souls. It felt like the story was a lovely cake and the skraelings were mustard flavored chips dropped in. They might have worked had they been chocolate (actual people, just from elsewhere on the world) but they didn’t work for me. I’ve held off reading the others in the series for this reason. I almost felt as if they were dumped in at the last to fix some story flaws and move it into a different genre.

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