Sunday Status Updates: September 18, 2011

It’s been another busy week, but the explorers of fantasy keep journeying off in their dinghies to the enchanted islands (or in my case providing moral support by cheering from the ship’s deck).

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Bill: This week I read Small Gods by Terry Pratchett at the behest of one of my students. I hate to admit it as I know his great popularity,  but while I’ve enjoyed the two or three Pratchett books I’ve read, it’s usually a pretty pallid kind of enjoyment and I found that true of Small Gods as well. I also read David Drake‘s Legions of Fire, set basically in Rome. Interestingly enough, I found the Roman more historical novel aspects more engaging than the fantasy aspects. Lee Arthur Chane‘s Magebane, however, was pretty much full enjoyment all the way through, despite a few flaws. A rare stand-alone fantasy, and wouldn’t you know it — I wouldn’t have minded another in this world. Reviews of both coming soon. Finally, I continued my teaching obligation with several classic science fiction stories, including uber-classic “Who Goes There” by John Campbell, source of the various The Thing films. There’s a reason it keeps getting made; the story holds up fantastically well. On deck for next week’s book club is Samaritan by Richard Price, who also wrote Lush Life — one of my favorite novels and the one which I think has the best crafted dialogue of any book I’ve read. Looking forward to seeing how Samaritan compares.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews John: I am reading The Secret War by M.F.W. Curran.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Kat:I have been reading neuroscience textbooks and journal articles all week, so I haven’t had any chance to sit down with a print book. However, I did get three audiobooks read: William Gibson’s Count Zero (awesome), Lauren Kate’s Fallen (waste of time), and Robert Silverberg’s Downward to the Earth (excellent). I’ve started on Gibson’s Mona Lisa Overdrive which is captivating, as expected. I’m sorry that I’ve come to the end of the SPRAWL trilogy!

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Kelly: I’m still reading Marie Brennan‘s With Fate Conspire. I haven’t put my finger on why it takes me a while to read the books in this series; it’s not for lack of liking them, so it’s a mystery. Meanwhile, I’ve also started Catherine Gilbert Murdock‘s Wisdom’s Kiss, subtitled A Thrilling and Romantic Adventure, Incorporating Magic, Villainy, and a Cat. It looks to be good tongue-in-cheek fun.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Robert: Finished two books this past week:  Black Light by Stephen RomanoPatrick MeltonMarcus Dunstan, and Joseph Nassise’s Eyes to See. I didn’t really have high expectations for Black Light, but the book turned out to be a pretty awesome blend of horror and urban fantasy. Eyes to See is a more traditional urban fantasy novel despite its billing as something different, but I enjoyed it and look forward to reading the next volume in THE JEREMIAH HUNT CHRONICLE. I’m now reading Ashes of a Black Frost by Chris Evans, the third and I believe final volume in the IRON ELVES fantasy series. Once I’m finished with that, I’ll move on to Jonathan Maberry’s zombie novel Dead of Night.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Stefan: This week I read Acacia: The War with the Mein by David Anthony Durham. I plan to read the sequel soon, in anticipation of the final volume in the trilogy. After that, I picked up Debris by Jo Anderton, an interesting and unique book I was very pleasantly surprised by. And yesterday I found a big, fat review copy of REAMDE by Neal Stephenson in the mail, so I know what I’ll be doing this weekend…


fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Terry: I started reading David Bell’The Cemetery Girl yesterday, and before I knew it was 100 pages in. I don’t like the character of the narrator at all, but for some reason I keep reading. I can’t quite figure out why, but sooner or later my critical facilities will kick in and I’ll get it. I’m also still working on everything I was reading last week, bobbing from book to magazine to a different book like those ducks you used to see at carnivals — remember them? The plastic ducks with numbers on the bottom that revealed what your prize was? Goodness, I haven’t thought of those in years.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Tim: This week, I read Richard II by Shakespeare and Edward II by Marlowe, as well as a number of articles concerning both plays. I also covered about 80 pages of Aristotle’s Poetics, the opening six chapters of A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf, and spent a lot of time with a biography of George MacDonald by a fellow named William Raeper. I occasionally looked over at my brand new copy of Perdido Street Station by China Miéville with longing eyes (it, in turn, sat on the shelf tempting me with a kind of bizarre smugness I associate with Miéville despite having read extremely little of his work), but I honestly had no time to do more than gaze and dream.


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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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4 comments

  1. @Bill, here’s one we don’t agree on: I really enjoyed Small Gods! I think part of the reason was that I read it about two days before I read American Gods, and both books deal with the same theme. Maybe I liked it more because of that–it set the stage for me.

  2. Tim, I am so envious of you, reading all that great stuff — and, I believe, getting to discuss with others, right? I want so badly to be back in school doing graduate work in English. Sigh.

    Bill, have you read Peter Watts’s take on “The Thing”? It was nominated for …. something, I can’t remember what, this year. It’s called “The Things,” and it’s told from the point of view of the alien, and you can read a copy here: http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/watts_01_10/

  3. Robert,

    Glad to hear you enjoyed the first installment in Jeremiah’s story! There’s more to come in King of the Dead, due out next spring.

    -Joe

  4. Thanks Joe! I’ll be keeping an eye out for the sequel…

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