Sunday Status Update: September 18, 2016

This week, Legolas begins to wonder where his wartime career is going.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Legolas: Journal Entry 3450333: At the court of Rohan. Iluvatar’s beard, what a dump. Whole place smells like horse, and it kind of soaks into whatever you’re wearing, so now smell like horse. The king was apparently under some kind of enchantment that Mithrandir had to fix for him. I don’t know, I wasn’t really paying attention. Aragorn was still in a big snit over having to give up his sword at the door, and so I had to keep nodding and uh-huh-ing him while he muttered on under his breath. Losing track of why I’m even on this quest at this point. I thought I was guiding a halfling to a volcano, but then I became an orc hunter, which was all right, and now I’m sort of the assistant to the King of Rohan’s court wizard? What am I even doing? What would father say?

Jana: This week I got some reviews written (hooray!), I read Bradley P. Beaulieu‘s latest entry in THE SONG OF THE SHATTERED SANDS, Of Sand and Malice Made, and I read Erin Bow‘s The Swan Riders, the sequel to The Scorpion Rules. (Review in progress.) I caught up on some graphic novels I’ve been meaning to read for a while, I flipped through some new coloring books (including an Edgar Allen Poe-themed one!), and I re-watched some of my favorite MST3Kepisodes. I also stained my deck, planed/sanded/painted half a dozen doors and replaced their hardware, and dug up an old flowerbed, because I am not good at not being busy. As usual, I have no idea what I’ll read next; the most likely candidates are Sarah Beth Durst‘s Queen of Blood or Rae Carson’s Walk on Earth a Stranger. We’ll see!

Jason: I’m wrapping up a pair of recent releases and looking forward to getting the reviews on FanLit. The first comes from author E.M. Markoff who launches her ELLDERET fantasy series with her debut novel: The Deadbringer. While a bit uneven, she creates a vibrant fantasy world centered on a young man who can bring life to the dead. With borrowed bits from Martin and Tolkien, The Deadbringer represents the strong creative vision that’s alive and well in the world of independent publishing.  The second is a piece of apocalyptic sci fi called The Hell Divers, the first in a new trilogy from Nicholas Sansbury Smith. In a future where human existence on the surface of Earth is no longer possible, what remains of humanity survives on two enormous airships circling the globe. Hell Divers parachute through horrendous storms that persistently swirl through the atmosphere to the irradiated earth in search of remaining scraps of technology. I’m only about a 1/4 of the way through Hell Divers, but it’s high on action, drama and a nice early glimpse of some radiation-fueled earth-dwellers. Both are generating some nice buzz within their respective genres.

Marion: I read some short fiction this week. I read the current issue of Clarkesworld, and the Sep/Oct issue of F&SF. F&SF had a novella by Geoff Ryman called “Those Shadows Laugh.” Ryman is great at creating worlds that are one step away from our own and this story takes a look at the world of Herland, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and gives it a contemporary spin. I also found “Talking to Dead People,” to be a plausible application of current technology, and a powerful story about how a friendship collapses. The issue is the “David Gerrold” issue, with some essays by and about Gerrold, and two long novellas.

Stuart: I’m halfway through the audio ARC of Cixin Liu‘s Death’s End (2016), and Macmillan has also agreed to let me interview the translator, author Ken Liu. I also finished The Best of Gene Wolfe and Marc Aramini’s Between Light and Shadow: An Exploration of the Fiction of Gene Wolfe, 1951 to 1986. gaining a greater appreciation for Wolfe’s intricacies, so I’m inspired to tackle his supernatural fantasy Peace (1976), which along with The Fifth Head of Cerberus (1972) and The Book of the New Sun (1980-1983) is considered one of his masterpieces. When that’s done I’m eager to move on to Lucius Shepard‘s The Jaguar Hunter (1987), as I’ve had his short stories on my radar for over two decades.

Tadiana: Since I last checked in two or three weeks ago, in the SFF genre I’ve read Guns of the Dawn by Adrian Tchaikovsky, one of my favorite fantasies I’ve read this year, as well as The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler. I’ve been busy in the non-SFF arena as well, reading such diverse books as Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl, Miss Buncle’s Book by D.E. Stevenson, Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad and Friday’s Child by Georgette Heyer. (I’ve been working on a Classics Bingo challenge for 2016, which has informed some of my reading choices.) I’m currently reading Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges (another choice motivated by the Classics Bingo game), which I suppose qualifies as a collection of fantasy tales though I think it’s the strangest fantasy I’ve ever read, as well as Spellbreaker by Blake Charlton, which I’m having a rather tough time getting into. I think if I’d read the previous two books in this series it would be easier to get absorbed in this world.

Terry: I didn’t have time to get much reading done this week — or last week, for that matter — but I have started The Dream-Quest of Vellit Boe by Kij Johnson, which is Weird and wonderful. And the page-turner that’s had me up too late at night is Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews.

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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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