Sunday Status Update: November 10, 2013

This week, Frodo.

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Frodo: This week, for lack of anything else to read, I’ve been perusing a guidebook Boromir’s been trying to push off on me since Moria, Trails to Take When Hiking Alone, All Alone. It’s absolutely appalling, with no real research or evidence and full to brimming with dubious advice like “when in doubt or in an area the guidebook doesn’t cover, just keep taking the right-hand fork.” Also, the scribing is very poorly done. On the whole, it’s obviously a rush job, haphazard and ill-conceived, but Boromir seemed so keen that I should read it, so I’m stuck with it now. I have a gloomy suspicion that he wrote it himself — apparently he’s big into hiking, as he keeps offering to go together — and I’ll probably have to pretend I enjoyed it when I give it back.

AlixAlix: Having successfully magicked Hild, Nicola Griffith’s new book, onto my Kindle, the rest of my life has been quietly wasting away in neglect. It’s good. I mean good good. It’s what might happen if The Mists of Avalon had a literary threesome with Beowulf and a medieval historian. I’m terribly excited to review it. I also got started on Delia’s Shadow, which is exactly the kind of fun mystery-crime-supernatural story I was hoping for. And I got a lovely copy of G. Willow Wilson’s Alif the Unseen for my birthday (which just won the World Fantasy Award). It’s a little bit like being buried alive by good books and forced to eat my way out.  Which is pretty much fine.

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Bill: This week I read Michael Pryor’s The Subterannean Stratagem, second in his THE EXTRAORDINAIRES series, which didn’t charm me as much as the first. Also feeling like a bit of step backwards was Catherynne Valente’s third adventure involving September and her adventures in Fairyland: The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two.  And finally I also read an early runner for my book of the the month pick, A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki, which I absolutely loved.

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Kat: I had little time for reading this week, but I did manage to read two of Terry Pratchett’s DISCWORLD novels: Equal Rites and Mort. I also saw Ender’s Game, which was fun. And now I must get back to work!

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Steven: This week I’ve been reading The Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov. This is the first of his ROBOT series novels, and is considered, along with Alfred Bester‘s Hugo Award winning The Demolished Man (1953), to be one of the first successful blends of mystery and science fiction. A melding of genres that famed science fiction Golden Age editor and author John W. Campbell said could never be done, by the way. I actually think this is one of Asimov’s very best works, and convinces me that the Robot series is actually superior to the FOUNDATION series.

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Terry: I’m one of those obsessive people who has to finish everything she starts reading. Sometimes that can take years, I admit, but really, I’ve given up on so few books I can count them on the fingers of one hand. (I’ve tried to get through Moby-Dick three times, but still haven’t made it. One day.) This is a terrible problem when I’m reading something awful, like I am now. Watch my Horrible Magazine Monday column for more on that score, assuming I don’t poke my eyes out rather than read one more story in this terrible magazine. I’m also reading, with far greater pleasure, Jewels in the Dust by Peter Crowther. And one night when I couldn’t sleep, I started The Bridges of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder, one of those classics I’ve never gotten around to. I almost didn’t get myself back to bed because I was having so much fun reading it.

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Tim: This was reading week for my course, which naturally means that I spent a lot of it watching Lord of the Rings movies in study. Prep for the upcoming week includes Lewis Carroll‘s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and The String of Pearls, a Victorian penny dreadful best known today for giving Johnny Depp the opportunity to make the world’s least catchy musical. In my downtime, I’ve been reading Mervyn Peake‘s Gormenghast.

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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. Alix, the way you talk about books makes me think that we’re twin sisters of different mothers. In fact, I feel like the whole Fantasy Literature team must be directly related to me; we all seem to have ink running through our veins instead of blood. I hope that one day I’ll be able to meet you all in person, because I think that would be one joyous party.

  2. Terry–ha! I’m pretty impressed to have stumbled on this community of dedicated/addicted readers myself. Also, I don’t understand how the first five pages of Moby Dick can be so good, and the rest of it so kill-me-now. I mean, that first paragraph (“when it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from methodically knocking people’s hats off”…Who hasn’t had that feeling). But then it’s all whale species and racist comments about Queequeg. Why.

  3. You’ve stumbled on to why I keep coming around here! Book lovers galore!

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