Sunday Status Update: November 1, 2015

This week, Carapace Clavicle Moundshroud. Hope everyone had a fun Halloween!

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Carapace Clavicle Moundshroud: Greetings! I am Carapace Clavicle Moundshroud, a businessman of All Hallow’s Eve. I peddle in many things. In the living, and in the dead. So many pumpkins dangle from the Halloween Tree, and each pumpkin has a tale to tell, of a life lived… and lost. Does it not sound ghoulish? Does it not sound eerie? Does it not raise your hackles and entice your interest? Excellent, because in fact I also peddle in information about the history of Halloween in various cultures. You see, you thought I was merely a thinly-disguised version of Grim Reaper, but now that you’ve been lured into my trap by promises of chills and thrills, I can reveal my true form: a history teacher! It was educational all along! Ha HA! And people say I can’t frighten children.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Brad: Brad has moved to the Young Kingdoms and is following the exploits of a melancholy, well-read albino emperor who has discovered, and is bothered by, “morality,” a foreign concept to his ancient and proud people. The Lords of Chaos hold him captive almost as much as the albino’s red, glowing eyes. Brad may never be free again, though no doubt he will find himself traveling to other realms and planes of existence as he stumbles through the seemingly infinite multiverse, throughout which Law challenges Chaos in an endless series of battles. Brad, along with Moonglum and Elric, feels himself a mere pawn of the Higher Gods, whose greater plans, though they shape his destiny, seem as obscure as these Gods are remote. Brad’s final words, heard as he passed through the Shade Gate, were, “Arioch, though I plead your protection, I no less curse your foul . . . “ What he said last was unheard and unprintable most probable. But by then, he was no more. We await news, yet, sad to admit, do not expect it.  (thanks to JC for this update)

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Jana: This week I haven’t had many chances to read because of some home projects that absolutely had to taken care of while the weather was right, and which ended up needing more time and work than I’d planned on (which always seems to happen, no matter whether I’m installing a new light fixture or exterior door). I did read Hotel Ruby, a YA horror novel from Suzanne Young, which was heavier on the romance than the scares, but still pretty good. And I started Black Wolves, by Kate Elliott, and I’m hoping to be able to finish it soon. And, now that the weather’s turned cool and my projects are nearly finished, I should have more time to catch up on my monstrous backlog of to-be-reviewed books before Kat shows up on my doorstep with a tennis racquet and an angry look in her eye!

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Jason: I’ve been in serious horror-mode since joining several Lovecraft derivatives, Stephen King, lil’ Stephen King, Joe Hill,and the wonderful, but little known William Sloane with his The Rim of the Morning. But it’s time to move into speculative fiction… specifically SciFi. Jack McDevitt wrote Ancient Shores in 1996 and it garnered a Nebula nomination for Best Novel. He’s releasing its sequel,Thunderbird, on December 1. I’ll be reviewing both and hopefully bringing Mr. McDevitt to FanLit to discuss the appeal of stories of First Contact. I’ll also be diving into Emma Newman‘s take on human colonization of alien worlds in her forthcoming Planetfall.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Kat: I read only one book this week: L.E. Modesitt Jr’s new hard science fiction novel Solar Express. It took me all week to get through this 448 page book. That’s because it was so boring. Solar Express comes out on Tuesday. I’ll try to get my review up soon.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Marion: I took a little break from our genre and read an old Marcia Mueller mystery, Both Sides of the Night. It was dated in many ways but much of it was about piloting small planes, and that part was fascinating. I finished The Geomancer, by Clay and Susan Griffith. This is part of the VAMPIRE EMPIRE world. A review will follow. I think the fans will enjoy this book very much. I also read Dragon Coast, the third book in Greg van Eekhout’s OSTEOMANCY trilogy. This book ably wraps up the adventure, and introduces still more magical weirdness. As much as I loved the heist adventure and the dragon, my favorite characters in this series are still Gabriel, the Water Mage of Los Angeles, and his human “hound” Max, and they did not disappoint.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Stuart: After finishing The Collected Works of Philip K Dick and Minority Report and Other Stories on audiobook, I tackled PKD’s Radio Free Albemuth (1985) and VALIS (1981), his most personal, bizarre, and in some ways brilliant books. He was a very troubled and struggling writer who had a life-transforming religious experience in Feb 1974 via a pink laser beam of pure information from a “transcendentally rational mind” broadcasting from space straight to PKD’s mind. So these books are his fictional attempt to make sense of human suffering and reconcile this with his understanding of Gnostic Christianity and the role of the divine in the world. His approach is very unique, since he splits his personality into two characters in the books, with Philip K Dick as a rational SF writer trying to help his friend Nicholas Brady or Horselover Fat, both proxies for PKD’s religious experiences, suicide attempts, and wild philosophical musings. I guarantee you will never real anything else quite like it, whether you end up liking it or hating it. Since I don’t know when to quit, I’ve moved on to the next two books in his loosely-connected VALIS TRILOGY, The Divine Invasion (1981) and The Transmigration of Timothy Archer (1982).

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Tadiana: It’s been a busy couple of weeks for me between work and an unexpected business trip/vacation. As a result it’s been three weeks since I last reported in on this column, so my list of books here isn’t quite as impressive as it might seem at first glance. I’ve read Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, a fantasy heist novel in which a group of six criminal misfits try to break a man out of a prison fortress; The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, a classic haunted house tale; The Seventh Bride by T. Kingfisher, an upcoming young adult fantasy based loosely on the Bluebeard fairy tale, Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel, a science fiction novel to be released in April 2016, about the discovery and study of an extremely large alien artifact; and The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher, a naval adventure set in the skies of an alien world. I also found time to reread a lifelong favorite fairy tale novel, Beauty by Robin McKinley, as well as Bellwether, a humorous and farcical non-SFF book by one of my favorite SFF authors, Connie Willis,which I liked much better than the first time I read it. And I determinedly plowed my way through The Turn of the Screw by Henry James, fighting boredom and sleep the whole way. This one may or may not be a fantasy novel, depending on whether you ascribe to the ghosts theory or the delusional governess theory.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Tim: This week, I began The Three Body Problem by Liu Cixin. It’s interesting, although I haven’t gotten particularly far along with it just yet. On audiobook, I’ve been listening to The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. It’s about the same as I remember from the last time I went through it.  I really need to acquire a couple new audiobooks. The real question I keep asking myself is why I’m not reading a horror novel. ‘Tis the season, and here I am without a scary book.

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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. I didn’t get in on this update because A) Halloween (it was excellent, after the hour and a bit of painting my own face) and B) NaNoWriMo began! I prepped, and day one went very well! I’m hesitantly optimistic about this time around. Day one total: 1,184 words and a whole bunch of room to run away with the story.

  2. sandy ferber /

    Carapace/Tim, you left me out this week! What happened? Are you mad at me? Anyway, here’s what I wrote: Moi? I have just finished reading “The Book of Skulls,” yet another remarkable book by Robert Silverberg from his early ’70s heyday. This is a rare horror outing by the sci-fi Grand Master, and a fairly amazing one. It deals with four college kids who head into the Arizona desert looking for a legendary monks’ retreat that is able to confer immortality to the worthy, and the book gets darker and darker as it proceeds. A most winning effort by my current favorite sci-fi author. Next up for me will be…hmmm, good question. Probably another bit of horror fare, knowing me. I might also add that I have really been getting into the old “Thriller” program from 1960 – ’62 on DVD this Halloween season; marvelously spooky stories, introduced by Boris Karloff himself….

    • Yes! Um… let that be a lesson to you. For doing that thing you did. You know the one.

      Lol, sorry. Halloween made me more than usually scatterbrained, I suppose.

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