Sunday Status Update: September 1, 2019

Jana: This week I’ve been working my way through Alec Nevala-Lee’s Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction. It’s well-researched and well-written, and I’m learning a lot about all four authors, far surpassing what I already knew about Heinlein and Hubbard. I’m also re-reading Alison Wilgus’ Chronin Vol. 1: The Knife at Your Back in preparation for Chronin Vol. 2: The Sword in Your Hand, which concludes the saga of time-traveling university student Mirai Yoshida, who must help restore Meiji-era Japan to its proper chronological path. 

Bill: The past two weeks I read in order of enjoyment:
•  Island of the Lost: Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World by Joan Druett, a great non-fiction story of two shipwrecks at opposite ends of the same island that end quite differently
• Dark Age by Pierce Brown, the slightly disappointing 5th book in a mostly excellent series
• The Invention of Yesterday:Yesterday: A 50,000 Year History of Human Culture, Conflict, and Connection, by Tamim Ansary, an excellent one-stop shopping history of humanity, if not filled with much new information
•  Dragonslayer by Duncan Hamilton, an overly-simple fantasy

In audio I’m currently listening to the fascinating Underland: A Deep Time Journey by Robert Macfarlane and in video I’m giving up several episodes into Netflix’s mediocre sci-fi series Another Life

Kat: Here are some reviews I’m working on now. Cheshire Crossing by Andy Weir is a great concept that, I think, falls flat, at least in audio format. Salvation Day, by Kari Wallace, didn’t do anything for me. Alexis Hall’s The Affair of the Mysterious Letter has a fabulous voice but a plot that wasn’t entirely satisfying. Peter McLean’s Priest of Bones and Priest of Lies are the first two books in his WAR FOR THE ROSE THRONE series which is an entertaining gangster fantasy. Peter WattsStarfish was the best book I’ve read recently. It’s a super tense biological horror novel.

Kelly: I’ve just started Marta Randall’s Mapping Winter, which is apparently a reworking of her 1983 novel The Sword of Winter — an “Author’s Cut,” if you will. Earlier this week, I impulsively read Katherine Arden’s middle grade horror novel Small Spaces and absolutely adored it, so I’m also currently reading its sequel, Dead Voices. Next up on the list is Briar Rose by Jane Yolen. I read it many years ago, but wanted to revisit it in advance of its rerelease this fall.

Marion: I am about halfway through Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s The Labyrinth of the Spirits. It is beautifully written and translated. I think a reader would have to have read at least The Prisoner of Heaven, if not all three previous books in the quartet, to understand what the characters are talking about, and the story is a labyrinth itself, spiralling in deeper and deeper.

Ray: It’s been a pretty slow reading week, but I did read Lian Hearn’s Blossoms and Shadows. It’s very different to her TALES OF THE OTORI series, posing much more as a historical novel than an epic fantasy, but the multiple viewpoints are still there and some hints of horror. I haven’t made up my mind how I feel about it yet but watch this space…

Sandy: Moi? I am currently reading still another offering from Armchair Fiction’s current Lost World/Lost Race series, this one being Rex Stout’s 1914 novel Under the Andes, in which two brothers and a woman discover the remnants of the Incas living beneath you-know-where. It is great fun so far, and I look forward to reporting back to you all about this one shortly….

Terry: I’ve recently finished  reading John Langan’s The Wide Carnivorous Sea, full of excellent long stories, the very definition of “literary horror.” I also finished Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas, the fifth in her six-book series THRONE OF GLASS. I’m now skipping madly around a ridiculous number of books: Awakenings by Edward Lazellari, an enjoyable urban fantasy that’s perfect for a lazy summer day; Rachel Caine’s Sword and Pen, the fifth book in THE GREAT LIBRARY series; The Last Colony, the third book in John Scalzi’s OLD MAN’S WAR series; Th1rt3en by Steve Cavanagh, a thriller of the “don’t breathe” variety; and the last book in Sarah J. Maas’s series, Kingdom of Ash; Echoes, edited by Ellen Datlow, a book of ghost stories. But the book that has most captured me right now is On Writing by Stephen King, which I’m reading for inspiration. Here’s a great line: “[W]riting poems (or stories, or essays) ha[s] as much in common with sweeping the floor as with mythy moments of revelation.” Sweeping floors I can do! Not such much with mythy moments.


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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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2 comments

  1. Kelly Lasiter /

    Terry, I keep looking at Thirteen. A lot of my Goodreads friends are reading it. I look forward to your thoughts–I may have to check it out soon!

  2. Kat, “gangster fantasy!”

    And some day I MUST read Peter Watts.

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