Sunday Status Updates: November 13, 2011

All in all, a fairly productive week, it seems…

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Bill: This past week I read David Brin’s Startide Rising in preparation for teaching it for my class, which was a mistake as it reminded me of just how much I enjoyed the Uplift Series, so now I’ve decided I have to re-read the rest of them. I also finished the last book in Michael Pryor’Laws of Magic series — a fitting close, review to come. For our book club I read Room, a solid but not particularly standout read (the author’s Slammerkin, however, is one of my favorites and highly recommended). Our next selection (my choice) is The Night Circus if people can get it — all library copies are checked out for the next month: it’s obviously a popular read.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews John: Just finished Shadow Ops: Control Point by Myke Cole. I don’t know for sure what to read next.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Kat: This past week I finished up of Reamde by Neal Stephenson, which I really enjoyed. I also listened to Lauren Beukes’ Moxyland on audio because Brilliance Audio is now producing Angry Robots titles, which is great news! Moxyland wasn’t for me — I really didn’t like the book — but I will be trying Beukes’ Zoo City sometime soon anyway.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Kelly: Devouring Juliet Dark‘s The Demon Lover, which makes references to several classic tropes of Gothic literature, left me with a craving for haunted castles and ingenues traipsing around cliffs in their nightgowns. So, to that end, I picked up a book that’s been languishing in my TBR pile for about three years now: Blackness Tower by Lillian Stewart Carl. As an added bonus, it’s on FanLit’s challenge list! I’m also starting Fate’s Edge by Ilona Andrews. I’m pumped, because it stars one of my favorite secondary characters from Bayou Moon: Kaldar Mar. Meanwhile, I’ve bogged down a bit in Lia Habel‘s Dearly, Departed. I think it’s because the narrative has shifted to points of view less compelling than the heroine’s. Hopefully we’ll be back in her head soon.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Marion: My reading time will be somewhat limited this month because I am participating in National Novel Writing Month. I read two white papers on national food policy and senior citizens going hungry. They were interesting. Really. I read The Burning Soul, a more “mundane”offering in the John Connolly PARKER series, and I finished Ganymede by Cherie Priest. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Now I’m splitting my time between an ARC of Shadows West, three horror screenplays by Joe R. Landsdale and his brother, and The Sacred Book of the Werewolf, by Victor Pelevin. I have promised myself that over the Thanksgiving holiday I can start George RR Martin’s A Game of Thrones, the book I opened two weeks ago and then put aside because I knew I wouldn’t do anything else except read it, and I had too many other obligations.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsRebecca: I’ve been extremely busy lately, but have been steadily plodding through Oracle’s Fire by Mary Victoria, the final book in the CHRONICLES OF THE TREE trilogy. After that, I have Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book lined up. Seeing as I’ve only ever seen the Disney movie, I’m looking forward to the original text and the differences (of which I’m sure there are many) between the book and the “disneyfied” film.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsRyan: It’s November, and I’ve found myself trying to decide whether to catch up on some of the best SFF of 2011, or whether I should take some time to catch up on some of the best books of 2010. I’m embarrassed to admit that I still haven’t read Joe Abercrombie‘s The Heroes or even Patrick Rothfuss‘s The Wise Man’s Fear. However, I was in the mood for cyberpunk, so I decided to take Ian McDonald‘s The Dervish House off the shelf.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsTerry: I’ve been in the mood for short fiction this week. I started reading both Stories: All New Tales, edited by Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio (that book stays downstairs) and The Way of the Wizard, edited by John Joseph Adams (which stays upstairs). Both contain prize-winning stories, and/or were nominated for World Fantasy Awards, though I admit to being puzzled that Joyce Carol Oates‘s “Fossil-Figures” won for best story; it’s not a bad story, but it’s certainly not the best I’ve read this year, or even this week. Still, I haven’t hit a true clunker in either anthology.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Tim: Late this week a computer game called Skyrim dropped from heaven like manna into the upstretched hands of college students everywhere. I will admit to being somewhat (read: ridiculously) distracted. Still, prior to the arrival of the great new frontier in procrastinatory entertainment, I managed to make a few strides on the fantasy front. I’ve continued reading Empress by Karen Miller, which is entertaining and well-crafted so far. I also looked (briefly) at a copy of Christopher Paolini‘s Inheritance that came my way. I found it disappointingly average. A truly dreadful first few chapters would have given me fuel for a beautifully cutting rant, while a complete overhaul of prose style could have had me growing excited over the unlooked-for success story. Instead, the text (as far as I read) just seems rather distressingly mediocre. The issues are still there, but they aren’t laughable anymore. Thus, much of the potential amusement in the series is now gone.

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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. @Bill, I liked Slammerkin too, and I’ve had Kissing the Witch by Donoghue on my TBR for ages.

    @Tim: I know exactly what you mean about books that don’t provide actual entertainment or trainwreck entertainment; they’re just bleh.

  2. thanks Kelly–yet another book to the wish list. Sigh.

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