Sunday Status Update: September 16, 2012

Halfway through September, and I’m still on my “summer reading list”.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Bill: This week I read Death Sentences by Kawamata Chiaki, a just-released in English 1984 Japanese novel that shows a clear inspiration from Philip K. Dick as it tells the tale of a poem whose readers fall into comas (I’ve had high schoolers who had similar reactions to poetry).  My eleven-year-old son and I finished our read aloud of Lord of the Rings, including some of the appendices (yep, choked up at the Havens farewell).  We’ve just begun reading Michelle Paver‘s Wolf Brother aloud, though my son went on to stay up to eleven to read the next 200 pages; I think he likes it.  Guess I’ll be playing catch up.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Brad: I am now reading The Dying Earth by Jack Vance on my Kindle and am excited to be reading his work for the first time. The official digital version released by the author has a different title: Mazirian the Magician. Check out Kat’s excellent review of The Dying Earth, and see my comment to her review about the new digital releases of Jack Vance‘s work. Or visit and click the the tab “Ebook Information” under “Shop Ebooks.” These books are being made available DRM-free and can be purchased directly from the author’s website or from Amazon for the Kindle (I don’t know about the Nook or Ibook).

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Kat: Still trying to catch up with all the old SFF that Audible Frontiers produced this summer! By the time you read this, I’ll probably be finished with Guy Gavriel Kay’s The Lions of Al-Rassan. GGK’s work is vivid and passionate, but I have to sometimes consciously choose to believe in his characters — so many of them are either over-the-top awesome or over-the-top evil. The audio production I’m listening to is superb, by the way.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Kelly: I’ve just finished Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst and am working on a review. (Sneak preview: the book is good.) Currently I’m reading Emma Cornwall‘s Incarnation, a novel that’s certainly high on concept: it includes vampires, steampunk, King Arthur, the Golden Dawn, and maybe even a dash of dystopia. How will this all mesh together? Well, it’s still early in the book so I’ll have to wait and see. And I’m still working on Blackwood by Gwenda Bond and about to start Seraphina by Rachel Hartman.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Marion: I’m reading Chocolate Lenin by Graham Diamond. This book has an intriguing premise and great potential for humor, but it’s difficult to get into.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Terry: I read Among Others by Jo Walton, which just won the Hugo for best novel. It deserved the award, because it is brilliant. I’m still reeling a bit from it, so I’m now reading John Scalzi‘s Redshirts to bring me back to earth with a dose of humor.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Tim: This week I looked into a book called Her Majesty’s Wizard by Christopher Stasheff. It’s a bit of humorous fantasy that doesn’t really stand out from the crowd (part of that is just age: it’s making fun of outdated tropes). On recommendation, I also read the first two volumes of the Captain America: Winter Soldier graphic novel, which I enjoyed a great deal. I’ve sometimes found comics to be a bit of a hit-and-miss genre in terms of my ability to enjoy the story, but this was well-crafted and actually got me back into a bit of a superhero mindset again. Next week, if I can get my hands on it, will be Joss Whedon‘s run on Astonishing X-Men.

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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. Brad Hawley /

    Captain America: Winter Soldier is one of my favs! (See my review). The next Cap movie will be subtitled Winter Soldier, so I think this story (now available in a single volume ultimate edition), will be getting even more attention.

    Brubaker is leaving Cap, but he continues work on one of the best fairly recent Marvel titles: Winter Soldier, espionage tales about Bucky’s exploits with Black Widow. Great art so far, too.

  2. Brad Hawley /

    I finished The Dying Earth. I was absolutely blown away. Can’t remember the last time a work of fiction hit me so hard. It was like reading PKD or Murakami for the first time. If you haven’t read Jack Vance, stop everything right now and READ THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!! (Particularly the last story!)

    I’ve already purchased the rest of this quartet of books.

    How could I make it this far in life as a passionate reader and NEVER have heard of Jack Vance?!??!!!

  3. Tim: Brad is so right about Brubaker, – the comic book author not the Robert Redford movie). I keep running across comics he’s done an they are all pretty dang awesome.
    I read the Brubaker Cap. America series that introduced the Winter Soldier; SWEET!!!! Why is it that, anything with Russian spies in it, is so freakin’ cool?

  4. I just finished Her Majesty’s Wizard this weekend as well! I was looking for humorous fantasy and this wasn’t quite it.

    I had some difficulty with the religious themes being so prevalent but all in all it wasn’t bad. Though it definitely wasn’t the laugh out loud book I was looking for.

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