Sunday Status Update: October 14, 2018

This week, due to an erro ron my end, we have fewer write-ins than usual. I’ve filled the gaps with an old method pulled out of retirement.

Ayesha: Week 148,345. Still waiting for inevitable Fate to once more sweep my lost love Kallikrates back to me across the winds of time. So, you know, same old. As it rolls back around to harvest time, I remember a night many years ago when a man came to my mountain seeking wisdom. It was a night much like this one, when the reapers were at work with their sickles in the fields, and the days ended early and bloody. He prostrated himself before me and begged to know some secret he might carry back to his village. It was his manhood quest or something. I don’t know, I can’t remember. I was drunk, you see. I’m often drunk. I’ve been sitting on this throne for a thousand years. Of course I drink.

So I said, “Uh… what’s tomorrow?” He told me it was the solstice, so I continued: “Uhhhh… yeah. So, like, ghosts and whatnot can cross over to our world then. And they’ll, like, they’ll come to your house and ask you for… for food or sweets or something. So give them food, or they’ll… hell, I dunno, they’ll trick you or whatever.” This seemed to impress him, so I kept going. “And, uh, you’ve got to… you’ve got to like… take some vegetables and carve these stupid little faces on them, right? ‘Cause… ’cause that’ll scare the demons. Or ghosts. Whatever I said. You know what I mean. So go do that thing I said.”

He seemed very impressed. Sometimes I wonder if anything ever came of all that.

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Batman: Field report for September. Catwoman dumped me again. Think I’m handling it well, as I seem to have remembered to shave at some point in the last month. Also managed to restrain myself from kicking a black cat that crossed my path last night. Alfred nonetheless informs me that our Bat & Jerry’s Ice Cream bill has lengthened considerably. It is true that my eight-pack has been going the way of a six-pack lately. Must not sacrifice nutrition. Final note: avoid Aquaman for foreseeable future. He got six words into his “other fish in the sea” speech before Wonder Woman had to pull me off him. Regret nothing.

Bill: More work (grading and writing) this week than reading. I did manage to finish The Phoenix Empress by K. Arsenault Rivera, which was moderately better than its predecessor. And I finished listening to Being Mortal by Atul Gawande, an excellent look at how we (individually, as families, as society) deal with end-of-life issues. In media, I finished Luke Cage season two and quite enjoyed it. And loved the Godfather references. My wife and I tried the Netflix post-apocalyptic The Rains, but my wife bailed part-way through episode 2 and I jumped ship halfway through episode 3. And I watched Shape of Water, which I thought OK but didn’t get the hype.

SirBorsBors: It is amazing to me just how intolerable this Round Table custom of riding around incognito has become. This week I fought the Knight of the Black Shield, not be confused with the Black Knight, the Knight in Black, or the Black-Caparisoned Knight. Once I had bested him, he begged me for my name, that he might tell of my deeds and add to my glory. I protested, saying that no, no, that was all right, my glory was doing fine on its own. Really. He insisted. So I sighed, and told him that I was known as the Knight of the Checkered Puce-and-Off-White Bridle.

He stared at me a long time, then said: “Forsooth, you were late to this fad, weren’t you?” He rode off laughing, and he’s not the first. God, I’m so humiliated.

Jana: This week I made lots of progress with a few books, but didn’t actually finish any of them — that’s just the way it goes sometimes! So as of this writing, I’m still working through Seth Dickinson‘s The Monster Baru CormorantVic James‘ Bright Ruin, and Bernard Cornwell‘s War of the Wolf. I have a constantly-growing stack of really appealing upcoming books to read, but I’ve promised myself that I won’t start anything new until I’ve read and reviewed what’s already sitting on my desk.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Legolas: Journal Entry 444, 489: Had to tell Father that I lost the creature Gollum today. I swear I only stepped away for a moment, but Father still grew wroth. It was all “Oh, not again! Well, this is your mess, so you get to go to Rivendell and apologize to Gandalf!” Well, fine, Father. Maybe if you didn’t work your only son to the bone, things like this wouldn’t happen. He doesn’t have to say it: I know he’s never forgiven me for my steward days. Fall asleep one time with the captain of the guard, and suddenly it’s your fault that thirteen dwarves escape. Honestly.

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Robin: Some of the Merry Men got sick this week. Friar Tuck informs me that, actually, an all-venison diet is not quite so healthful as we had supposed. I’ve been buying crops, and I’ve set a few men aside to till a patch of garden. Rather awkward, considering that a lot of them fled into the forest to avoid drudgery on the farm. But, well, at least no one else’s teeth will fall out.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Ron: I’ve been writing a letter home today. It reads as follows:

Dear Mum, I swear I didn’t do it. It was Harry. It was all his fault. He’s barking mad, Mum, you know he is. I’m just trying to keep him on the straight and narrow, I swear. It’s the only reason I was there. Anyway, I promise that this is the last time. I’m putting my foot down and I swear that nothing this dangerous will ever happen to us again. Love, Ron.

I think it’s pretty good. I mean, nothing’s actually happened yet, but I figure if I get the apology ready now, I can send it off right after the mayhem happens, and get to her before she builds up a head of steam. You’ve got to plan ahead with these things.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Supergirl: I read a great big folio edition of War and Peace this week. Well, actually, no, I didn’t do that. But see, it was like this: Kal insisted that I fly downtown and watch some building. I was supposed to call him if it vanished. I’m honestly not sure why it would’ve vanished, since I kind of stopped listening to him at that point. But anyway, I was sitting there and all these people were taking pictures, so I wanted to look smart. I think I actually did read a little of it. Mostly, though, I had to keep up with the latest gossip from Batgirl. Apparently Catwoman broke up with Batman again, and he’s a trainwreck. But anyway… yeah. I can heartily recommend pages 2, 8, and 27 of War and Peace. Those were solid.

Tim: This week, I began listening to Andrzej Sapkowski‘s Lady of the Lake on audiobook. I’m enjoying the WITCHER books quite a bit, though sometimes it feels like Sapkowski is doing everything in his power to avoid getting around to the plot. The books are very fun, but I can’t remember the last time a character not named Ciri made quantifiable progress toward his or her goal.


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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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