Sunday Status Update: November 27, 2016

This week, Peter Pan nearly finds a sort-of mother. Because that is still apparently a thing Peter Pan is trying to do in 2016.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Peter: This week I finally found a new mother to replace Wendy. At least, she knew all sorts of great stories and she seemed to want to come fight pirates and always be young with me. But when I went through her bedroom window that night to spirit her away to Neverland, an alarm went off. It turns out that some houses are not kidding with those stickers on the windows. Anyway, my mother’s mother came charging in and tried to hit me with a golf club, so I had to fly away. At least she didn’t open up with a machine gun, like the dad last week. There’s a reason I’m not asking American kids to Neverland anymore.

Brad: This week I read Julie Smith’s Louisiana Hotshot, a great crime novel featuring a white male detective (past mid-life crisis) and a much younger black female who is also a poet. I find it interesting that the author is a white woman who impressively took on the difficult task of writing in the same novel both from a male perspective and from an African-American perspective, particularly since so many female writers stick to white female detectives (understandably, since male writers tend to write about white male detectives–though I love the late Robert B. Parker’s Sunny Randall novels). I highly recommend this novel. I plan to put it on my syllabus next time I teach my Crime Fiction course. Otherwise, I’ve been reading some fantastic comics: Brian K. Vaughan‘s Ex Machina, about a retired superhero who goes into politics; Garth Ennis’s The Preacher; Terry Moore’s horror comic Rachel Rising; and several other horror comics that are incredibly good, in particular Revival and Nailbiter. I’ve also sampled many first issues and new series. I highly recommend the titles coming out from the new publisher Aftershock.

Marion: I focused mostly on writing—and cooking—this week. I did finished Brandon Sanderson’s Shadows of Self, which I liked all right but still gave me problems. I finished up the very enjoyable and informative Witch of Lime Street by David Jaher. Jaher explores the two-year long contest held by Scientific American in 1924, that offered a cash prize to anyone who would demonstrate mediumistic phenomena that could not be duplicated or debunked. Harry Houdini was one of their judges. The “witch” the title was the vivacious, sprightly blond wife of a wealthy Boston Back Bay surgeon. “Marge” caught the imaginations and the hearts of the American public and won over all but one of the judges. It’s a good book about Houdini (and Arthur Conan Doyle), spiritualism, and the tenor of those interwar years.

Stuart: This week I finished Neil Gaiman‘s American Gods, and I have to say I didn’t like it much at all. The basic concept is original, but I just wasn’t impressed with the story he built around it. Having finished Lawrence Sutin’s Divine Invasions, a biography of  Philip K Dick, I’ll probably tackle I Am Alive and You Are Dead: A Journey into the Mind of Philip K. Dick by Emmanuel CarrereI also  started Alastair Reynolds The Prefect, a detective procedural set in his REVELATION SPACE universeStill chipping away at Lucius Shepard‘s The Jaguar Hunter, which features breathtaking and hallucinatory imagery. 

Terry: I’ve decided it’s time to finally catch up on all the half-finished books hanging around here. So Thanksgiving night I finished The Relic by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, which holds up pretty well for a book that’s more than 20 years old. The science has long been passed by, but it’s nonetheless full of good guesses and actual science, which means it’s a good fit for someone who loves real science fiction. I’m planning to read all the Pendergast novels in order over the next few months — there sure are a lot of them. Yesterday I finished The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Sanders, a fairly decent mystery — I could see the twists coming after the first one, though, which I’m sure isn’t what the author intended. Today I’m enjoying Cursed by Benedict Jacka, the second in his urban fantasy series, and it’s as good as the first one. Still in the “started but not yet finished” stack: Emperor of the Eight Islands by Lian Hearn; The Alchemist of Souls by Anne LyleA Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray; and Mirror Image by Michael Scott and Melanie Ruth Rose. There are also a couple of books I’ve gotten less than a hundred pages into, but they’re on deck: Nightmares, edited by Ellen Datlow, and The Shards of Heaven byMichael Livingston. More partially-read books seem to be showing up daily. I need to get better organized!

Tim: This week, I listened to Andrzej Sapkowski‘s Baptism of Fire, the next book in his WITCHER series. So far very enjoyable, though the collections of short fiction are still my favorite books. I also read some of Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club, which is disturbing and amusing in more or less equal measure.

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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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