Sunday Status Update: September 30, 2012

It’s a somewhat more somber update this week, as we say goodbye and wish the best of luck to Greg and Justin.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Bill: This week I read David Brin‘s Existence — an excellent, thought-provoking look at the future and First Contact — and Kenneth Oppel‘s Such Wicked Intent — the gripping middle book in his YA trilogy about young Victor Frankenstein. Reviews to come but the short take-away is both are highly recommended.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Brad: In addition to my usual comics, I am really enjoying Susan Cooper‘s Over Sea, Under Stone, the first book in THE DARK IS RISING sequence. I can’t believe I’ve never heard of these books. Wow! Between Jack Vance and Susan Cooper, I can’t decide which book to read next! And then Bill’s strongly recommending the author David Maine. And all this talk about Icefall. What’s a guy to do? I also have plans to read what I’ve heard is a splendid novel: Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. For those of you who are interested, this book was just released digitally for the Kindle this week.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Greg: I’m sad to say that I’m going to take a hiatus from book reviewing. So I’m retiring from FanLit, at least for a while. I still plan on doing the occasional guest review, as I’m not giving up reading by any means. My daily grind has constrained my leisure time to the point where I could either read less and continue to review or read as much as always and no longer review. I think most of you understand why I chose the latter. I feel very lucky and honored to have been a reviewer here. I’m still thrilled by the fact that anyone had an interest in what I had to say about a book — even comic books too it turned out. It’s been a blast and I hope I hipped at least a few of you to a book you enjoyed. Fortune & Glory, Greg Hersom.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Justin: I’ve had a lot going on this week. My wife and daughter have been away for a couple weeks in Thailand, visiting family. I miss them terribly, and I still have a couple weeks to go. I’ve been busy with work, and house renovations, which makes it hard for reading time. With all that on my mind I also decided now would be a good time to step away from FanLit as a staff member, at least temporarily. This site, the people who run it, and those who read it are awesome and I plan on hanging around as much as possible. I will still post the occasional article, and in fact I have an interview with an amazing artist you can expect to see in a week or so. Thank you all very much for making this such a great site, and making my time here amazing.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Kat: I’m still celebrating Audible Frontiers’ release of Roger Zelazny’s CHRONICLES OF AMBER. I read books 3 and 4 this week: Sign of the Unicorn and The Hand of Oberon. I also read Guy Gavriel Kay’s Sailing to Sarantium and Lord of Emperors, the two novels that make up his SARANTINE MOSAIC. I’m going to have to take a break from GGK. I admire his work but his overwrought style, which is always the same, especially in these older novels, is starting to cloy.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Kelly: I’ve just started Jill Archer‘s Dark Light of Day, and am about to dig into The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. Archer is new to me, and Stiefvater‘s evocative prose has always had the power to draw me in, especially on a cool autumn night, so I’ve got a lot of anticipation for both books.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Marion: I am reading Dark Water, one of David Pirie’s Sherlock Holmes pastiches, or I guess I should say his “proto-Holmes” pastiche. Pirie’s premise is that long before he invented the world’s first consulting detective, Arthur Conan Doyle studied medicine and met a brilliant physician, Dr Joseph Bell. Bell is an astute observer and actually uses science to solve mysteries, and Doyle is his sidekick. Dark Water is the third book, following an evil mastermind who is the Moriarty of the series. I don’t feel lost or confused, though, as the book stand fine on its own. Pirie has mastered the atmospheric prose that typified The Hound of the Baskervilles, and the setting, a bleak stretch of eastern coastline with a town buried under the waves, is wonderfully evocative. Holmes fans will identify clues more quickly than Doyle does, but that’s part of the fun.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Steven: I’m still exploring Ursula K. LeGuin‘s EARTHSEA series, working on The Other Wind, the last book in the series and also reading Tales From Earthsea, a collection of short stories that explore different eras in the history of Earthsea. I’m also going back through my HELLBOY comics / graphic novels collection preparatory to reviewing a couple of these for Brad’s Fanboy Friday feature column.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Tim: This week I read and enjoyed Mark Lawrence‘s Prince of Thorns, a gritty and savage little book. I spent a lot of time otherwise either working or playing music, but I did listen to the start of Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery in the car while riding to and from work. I chose this book not especially because I was interested but more on the basis of being too cheap to purchase a newer release at the time (this one was available for free download). The novel seems sweet and lively enough, although Montgomery‘s style is a little bit hamfisted.

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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. Greg and Justin, we’re going to miss you!! You guys filled that testosterone niche. Steven, you’re going to have to fill their shoes!

    Brad, you’re becoming a problem. Not only are you diverting your fellow reviewers toward comic books, but you’re wasting time by reading books we’ve already read…. seriously, though, I’m sure we’re (mostly) enjoying watching you discover our favorite books…

    • Brad Hawley /

      Kat! I know I’m revealing my ignorance with each of my “new” discoveries, but I want you all to realize how incredibly useful this site and all the reviews are to somebody who wants to learn about fantasy literature. I hope, as odd man out, my own background in noir genre fiction and traditional literary studies helps complement the site offerings as I filter this background through the art of comics in the Fanboy Friday column. And yes, I plan to have everybody writing reviews every day solely on comics. I’ll make sure we still have a “Fantasy Friday” column, though. You will be allowed to remain on as editor of that column when my complete takeover of the site has been accomplished. Cue evil laugh. First fanlit; next the world!

      Sorry to see Greg and Justin go. Thank you Greg for both introducing me to the site and asking me to write for it.

      Can’t wait to see Steven’s Hellboy review(s).

      By the way, if anybody missed Marion’s review of Daytripper this week, please go back and read it asap! It’s an amazing review of an amazing book. She, too, will be recruited heavily to write comic reviews only, Kat.

      In all seriousness, it’s a true joy to learn from experts in fantasy and to learn where our tastes overlap over other writers, not just in comics, but also in other areas. From PKD to Jane Austen to noir and mystery writers, I’ve found much common ground with you all.

      And Marion, I’m trying to get to Icefall. . . .

  2. Brad — Icefall is a wonderful book. Steven, I love Hellboy!

    • All I’m familiar with of Hellboy is that I randomly went to see the second movie–yes, the second one, without having seen the first–a few years ago. I loved it! It was just seething with mythical archetypes and such. I keep meaning to get more familiar with Hellboy.

  3. Thanks Kat, hopefully we won’t be gone too long.

    (psst- Steven, my secret is I drink a dram of good whiskey before I write a review… and when I read..and some in my coffee…and..oh whoops typed more than I meant to).

    • Thanks for the tip Greg. I may seriously have to try that recipe. I’m slogging through a “slough of despond” lately, sort of a depression/writer’s block/reader’s block blues. Or as my son says, “Dad, why you being such a slacker lately???” Sigh…And now Kat and Brad are sending psychic commands “Write the review. Write the review! Write the … “

  4. I read a Hellboy short story this year and thought it was terrific. That’s my only experience with Hellboy but I remember at the time thinking I need to try the comic.

  5. I read one of the later collections. At this moment I don’t remember which one, but I enjoyed it.

  6. Greg & Justin, good luck to both of you! And Steven, while I heartily disagree with any Conan recommendation, reading well written reviews, like yours, can at least temporarily relieve me of the nauseating feeling I ordinarily have thinking upon sword and sorcery. The best of luck at Fanlit!! I look forward to reading more of your reviews.

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