Sunday Status Update: September 25, 2016

Something of a slow week, which means… it’s time for the characters to take over again.

Ayesha: Week 148,394. Still no Kallikrates. I did have a rather bizarre visit, though. Some pale little man showed up from nowhere in particular with a lot of pamphlets and started telling me about how I should accept Jesus Christ as my personal lord and savior. Jesus is either on his way to me, or has already been here and left, or maybe he’s just spying on me from somewhere? Honestly, I was getting very little of it, because the interpreter was dreadful. In the end, I promised that if I saw Jesus, I would welcome him. That seemed to satisfy the funny little man, and off he went. I don’t know why he thought it was such a momentous decision. It’s not like I charge admission to this place. If a dancing elephant came by wanting to visit, I’d probably let him in too. I lead a boring life.

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Batman: Field report for September: Following Joker’s 147th breakout from Arkham, am beginning to wonder if security should be tightened. Must look into this. Stopped Scarecrow from robbing hardware store three days ago. Claimed he was only looking for philip’s head screwdriver, to fix stereo in lair. I have my doubts, and have set Robin and Batgirl to itemizing and cross-referencing everything the store sells, in hopes of discovering Scarecrow’s next objective. At least it should keep them occupied. Sick to death of turning around to find them playing that stupid pokemon game on their phones. Only Zubat around here anyway. Finally, disturbing development yesterday: responded to silent alarm from one of my safe-houses to find security breached, spare batsuit stolen. Searched all night, through wind and rain. Finally discovered it stuffed into Wayne Manor mailbox. Have a new nemesis, clearly, and one who has deduced that Batman is Bruce Wayne. Must tread lightly moving forward. Stolen suit somewhat warped, indicating some variety of super-speed by previous wearer. Also, smells pungently of Dove body wash for women. Must work quickly. Have already gone two days without sleep.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Drizzt: This week, while abroad on the high roads of Faerun — ah, friends, is there any better feeling than to journey with good friends at your back and a sharp blade at your side, seeking the zephyrs of adventure? — I came upon an inn with a merry innkeep, obviously of the bard class. He was in the midst of telling some sort of tale to a young fellow and a scribe, and so perceiving that I had come upon such a gathering as might appreciate tales of the road and high adventure, I took the opportunity to regale them with some trifling history of my various exploits (which many across Faerun have been kind enough to say are thrilling and heroic to the extreme). I had barely begun, hardly through the first hour, before I was most rudely interrupted by all three of them and bundled out the door. Perceiving that they had objected to something in my tale, I asked them how I had given offense? For surely none could doubt that within my bosom beats only the staunchest and most heroic heart, dedicated to my good goddess Mielikki, who is after all of the Neutral Good alignment? They told me that I talk about swords too much. At this I was taken aback. Talk about swords too much? I hadn’t realized that was possible.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Kvothe: Some incredibly pompous warrior dropped by earlier. Insisted on calling me a bard for some reason, no matter how many times I told him I’m not musical (anymore… *sob*), and then he told us this exceedingly long story all about him and the important things he’d done and how great he was. Had to turn him out of the inn to get him to stop nattering on. I just hate people like that. Oh well. At least now I can get back to my autobiography.

Marion: On the plane ride back from Hawaii I read John Scalzi’s The Last Colony. It was the perfect book for that plane trip, and it wasn’t until I got to Chapter Three that I learned that the title is a play on words. At home I spent most of the week on Kate Elliott’s epic fantasy Black Wolves. The ending is a shocker! Right now I’m reading some short fiction by crime novelist David Corbett, in his collection Thirteen Confessions. Many of these shorter works are about people doing bad things who tangle with people who are doing worse things. One of the joys of reading Corbett is that in the middle of a grim, noir-ish tale you can find a passage like this one; “A chaos of filthy, half-filled glasses cluttered the length of the bar, each one bearing the filmy remains of some concoction, grown watery from melting ice.”

Sandy: Moi? I’ve been a little sidetracked away from reading lately, due to having some out-of-town guests to show around this crazy Big Apple. But just yesterday I started my latest book, and it is Robert E. Howard’s 1939 novel Almuric, which I can’t wait to get into. I’ve read any number of Howard stories over the years, but not too many of his longer works. I hope to get a review out for this one shortly…

Stuart: This week I finished Cixin Liu‘s Death’s End (2016), and submitted my interview questions for the translator, author Ken Liu.  Having also renewed my resolve to scale Mt. Wolfe, I’m midway through his supernatural fantasy Peace (1976), which seems to be a harmless memoir of a midwestern childhood in the early 20th century, but there are random snippets of strangeness in the narrative that suggests more sinister undercurrents. I also finished Peter S. Beagle‘s first novel A Fine and Private Place (1960), which shares many similarities to Neil Gaiman‘s The Graveyard Book (2008).

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Supergirl: Dear Kal:   To my beloved cousin Kal-El:  For the eyes of Kal-El, aka Superman, my dearly beloved and much respected cousin, to be opened in the event of my unexplained disappearance: Kal! Hey! Listen, maybe I don’t say this enough, but I really like you, you know? And admire you and all that? Like, I always remember that one time when we got the coffees and you told that joke about Green Lantern and it was hilarious. Good times, good times. So, uh, listen. I might have made a teensy tiny little miniscule mistake. Or, you know, maybe not so teensy. Remember that list of things you told me I should never do? Well, I sort of did one. The first item on the list, actually. But it totally wasn’t my fault! It was Robin! All Robin! See, I swung over to Gotham last Saturday (I know I’m not supposed to, but I was bored), and Robin was bored too, so we skipped out and we started playing Truth or Dare and one thing led to another and he dared me to go steal something of Batman’s. Only, see, Robin’s kind of (really) attractive, so I didn’t want to just get the average thing, you know? So I sort of maybe broke into a Bat-lair and stole a Batsuit and put it on and flew around Gotham a few times, and then I went back to Robin. But he was all like “Oh my God, Batman knows and he’s freaking out!” So I panicked and stuffed it in Batman’s mailbox and I flew back to Metropolis at like mach 6 and then I hid under my covers. Where I am now, writing this. Yeah. So anyway, I’d apologize, but if you’re reading this at all it probably means Batman’s already gotten to me and I’ve received my comeuppance. So save me, Kal! Or maybe avenge me? AVENGE ME!

Tim: This week, I read a good portion of Anthony Horowitz‘s Moriarty, a Sherlock Holmes pastiche. It doesn’t quite echo Arthur Conan Doyle’s work — for me at least — but it has an enjoyable flavor all its own. I’ve also been reading Frank Herbert‘s Children of Dune, which is very… well, DUNE. Say what you will about the series, it’s hard to deny that it had a certain inimitable style. That said, none of the sequels ever quite recapture the magic of the original for me.

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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. Tim, I’ve enjoyed the two Horowitz books I’ve read, but neither one has captured “Doyle” for me. I know he’s the estate-approved author and all that, but it just isn’t quite there. I liked them, though.

  2. sandy ferber /

    Personal advice to Ayesha: Suggest you try eHarmony, IF you are able to receive the Interwebs in your African crater dwelling, that is. This online service has helped many others find true love. You really do need to get over this Kallikrates guy and move on with someone else. There ARE other fish in the sea, you know! This monomania you have, pining over one guy for centuries, smacks of a certain psychotic neediness that bespeaks little for you as a human being and as a ruler. Get over it, woman! “NEXT!”

  3. Supergirl. GIRL. You can handle Batman. YOU HAVE SUPERPOWERS. HE DOESN’T. Own what you did, and if he gets testy, just fly around his head several times at supersonic speed a few times and then jet off.

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