Sunday Status Update: May 31, 2015

Apologies for the tardiness this week — technical difficulties. This week, the character update — speaking words that are not his to my recollection but could have been — is Azhrarn the Beautiful, creation of the great British fantasist Tanith Lee, who died one week ago today.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Azhrarn: Though we come and go, and pass into the shadows, where we leave behind us stories told – on paper, on the wings of butterflies, on the wind, on the hearts of others – there we are remembered, there we work magic and great change – passing on the fire like a torch – forever and forever. Till the sky falls, and all things are flawless and need no words at all.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Jana: This week I managed to finish the books I’ve been reading, and have begun to prepare reviews. Actually writing the reviews down, as opposed to composing them in my head and asking the dog for feedback, will happen as soon as I have a few hours of uninterrupted time to work. Thanks to Terry’s Magazine Monday columns, I’ve discovered Beneath Ceaseless Skies, an online magazine which posts short stories in the “Literary Adventure Fantasy” vein. There’s a large backlog for me to work my way through, but so far my favorites are “Sun, Stone, Spear,” by Carrie Vaughn (in which two young women experience the Hero’s Journey) and “Wild Things Got to Go Free,” by Heather Clitheroe. Once I get this review backlog knocked out, I’ll start Alastair Reynolds’ upcoming novel Slow Bullets and Tamora Pierce‘s classic children’s fantasy work Alanna: The First Adventure. Should be interesting!

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Kat: This has been a great reading week. I liked everything! In order to catch up with Kevin Hearne’s IRON DRUID CHRONICLES series, I read three short stories. “Kaibab Unbound” and “A Test of Mettle” were collected in the recently released Two Tales of the Iron Druid Chronicles which I read in audio format. The Chapel Perilous was in ebook format. It was great to visit with Atticus and Oberon again.Long Black Curl, Alex Bledsoe’s third TUFA novel, was also just released. These TUFA novels have been very good reads. Lastly, I caught up with the novelizations of Phil & Kaja Foglio’s GIRL GENIUS series. Agatha H. and the Clockwork Princess was lots of fun, but the third novel, Agatha H. and the Voice of the Castle, was unputdownable.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Kate: I haven’t been reading a lot that’s new recently. Instead, I’ve been trying to catch up on reviews I should have written a while ago, and also working on a novel I’m writing. A couple books are helping me out with that project: Jeff VanderMeer‘s Wonderbook, Beth Shapiro’s How to Clone a Mammoth, and I’m also looking at Robert Jackson Bennett‘s City of Stairs for examples of great worldbuilding, dialogue, and character building.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Marion: I have company this week and next week, so I haven’t read as much as I would have liked.  I finished Peter Clines’s SF thriller The Fold, which I liked. I finished up an ARC of Cthulhu Fhtagn, edited by Ross Lockhart. I had never read a Laird Barron story before – “Don’t Make Me Assume my Ultimate Form” was a stunner! And I’m about one-third of the way through Being Certain by Dr. Robert Burton. He manages to “dumb down” neuroscience so that even I can understand it, except I keep putting sticky notes where I’ve written “Ask Kat!”

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Rachael: This week I started reading Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White for the first time. As I’m sure we all occasionally do, I wanted to be able to say I was reading a classic when people asked, as opposed to name dropping some obscure urban fantasy. Then I went back to said obscure urban fantasy (mmmm familiar) by listening to the audiobook of Brandon Sanderson‘s Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians. Sanderson makes some really wry tongue-in-cheek comments about writing fantasy and how it’s considered a lesser art form than literary fiction. Quite appropriate really.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Ryan: I’m still reading Neal Stephenson‘s Seveneves, which I’m enjoying though maybe not as much as I did Reamde and Anathem. I also have bookmarks in Emmi Itäranta‘s Memory of Water and Kim Stanley Robinson‘s The Years of Salt and Rice.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Sandy: Moi? I am just about to finish an H. Rider Haggard novel from 1909, Queen Sheba’s Ring. This is a lost-race tale that, as might be expected, takes place in the heart of Africa. It’s not nearly as fine a creation as, say, his King Solomon’s Mines or She, but then again, how many books are? Still, it has proved to be a great entertainment for me. I hope to get a review of this one out shortly…

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Stuart: It’s getting hot and humid here in Japan, so I went hiking in the mountains to cool off yesterday. This week I finished listening to Iain M. BanksConsider Phlebas, the first book in his Culture series which I last read over 20 years ago. It’s interesting to see which scenes you remember, and which parts get lost in the mists of time. Since this book is essentially a few very detailed and cinematic action sequences, I remember the basic outlines (especially a grisly island cult ruled over by a Jabba the Hut-like leader and massive destruction as a starship goes wild inside an Orbital), but it was nice to hear the story narrated. I also chipped away at Neil Gaiman‘s Stardust, but I now make much slower progress with ebooks than audibooks.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Terry: I read the novella Next of Kin by Dan Wells last weekend to get myself ready for The Devil’s Only Friend, which I’m reading in every spare moment I have this week, because it’s wonderful. I especially appreciate Wells’s work with voice — his demons sound different from his antihero, and his antihero has a voice that is changing as events change him and he becomes more than the not-so-average high school kid he was at the beginning of the first book about him, I Am Not A Serial Killer. I’ve also started The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen, and it’s good enough that I don’t think following it immediately with The Invasion of Tearling, the second in Johansen’s planned trilogy, is going to be anything but wonderful.

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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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