Sunday Status Updates: September 4, 2011

Wow. Is it September already? Where did the Summer go? I find this deeply troubling, and let’s be frank here, I’m just a disembodied bit of italicized text…

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Bill: This week in preparation for my class on science fiction, I read (reread technically) The Time Machine, R.U.R., and Skylark of Space.  Not all of the last one because I’m not sure my eyes would have stopped bleeding.  What is frightening is Smith didn’t want to do the “romance” parts because he was so bad at it, so his neighbor’s wife did them.  One shudders at how bad they could have been, based on how bad they were . . .  I also read some ancient pre-sci fi:  Lucian and Bergerac.  In the “I need something to read for myself” category, I also just started Lee Arthur Chane’s Magebane.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Greg: I’m wrapping up Rick Cook’s Wizard’s Bane and hope to have review done for it next week (I’m a little slow because I’m still recovering from a Kid Rock concert last Saturday night \m/). I’m also trying to decide what to read next. I’ve got a pretty hefty TBR list, but I’m really wanting to read Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrance and Jasper Kent’s Twelve, which is the first of his Danilov Quintet, a series I’ve been wanting to start for a while now. So I may cheat by re-shuffling the order of my TBR list to fit one of those in next.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews John: I’m just finishing up Blood Blade by Marcus Pelegrimas, the first book in The Skinners.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Kat: This week I read the first book in David Weber’s Honor Harrington series, On Basilisk Station. I was a little disappointed because I thought that Weber could have done so much more with Honor Harrington and her crew. I’m hoping he will in the next few novels because I already have them on audio, so I’m going to read them. I also read Kage Baker’s The House of the Stag on audio and it was superb. Next up:  my daughter and I plan to read Princess Academy, a Newbery Honor book by Shannon Hale. In print I’m startingJohn Lambshead’s Lucy’s Blade.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Kelly: I’m completely engrossed in One Salt Sea by Seanan McGuire.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Marion: I read Around the World in Eighty Days, by Jules Verne (a very short read, and fun!) and just closed the covers of PD James’s essay collection Talking About Detective Fiction. This was an interesting and entertaining book.  I finished The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man by Mark Hodder, and I think that writer is going backwards. Tonight when I get home from work I plan to start reading a manuscript from a writer friend of mine—it’s a murder mystery set in post-Communist Hungary.  I’ve read the first three chapters already and they are simply amazing. This is a draft, so needless to say it’s not available yet, but I predict it will be!

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Robert: As predicted, I did not get a lot of reading done this past week with my sister visiting and Zane’s first day of school. Then again, what free time I did have was spent watching football ;) What can I say? I’m a football fanatic! Anyway, I’m about halfway through David Anthony Durham’s The Sacred Band, which I hope to finish this coming week.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Ryan: This week I started reading Neal Stephenson‘s new novel, Reamde. I started Anathem some time ago, but will have to return to it later. In comparison, Reamde is more of a thriller, though it’s just as detailed as the BAROQUE CYCLE novels when it wants to be. And it finally answers that age-old question: What does an MMORPG like World Of Warcraft have to do with international terror networks?

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Stefan: This week I finished reading Awakenings by Edward Lazellari and wrote the review, which is up over at now and will go up here on FanLit next week. Then, simply because I needed something to read that was just for fun and not to be reviewed and analyzed to pieces, I picked up On Basilisk Station by David Weber (also because we have a year-long HONOR HARRINGTON series discussion going over at my discussion group Beyond Reality.) Next up, I’m going to tackle some of the more urgent ARC’s on the pile, specifically The Highest Frontier by Joan Slonczweski and Debris by Jo Anderton.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Tim: And I spent some time this week reading and reviewing Erin Hunter’s Into the Wild, the first book in the Warriors series. This was followed by a prolonged nostalgia fit about Richard Adams’s Watership Down and a bit of grumbling about how I liked anthropomorphic bunnies better than kitties anyway. I also had a look at the beginning of Moonheart by Charles de Lint, which seems imaginative if a little slow so far. Otherwise, I’ve not had a lot of time for reading, as I’ve been packing again. Classes begin soon, and with them much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

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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, Moonheart has been near the top of my list for a while now. I’ll be interested in hearing how you like it.

    Stefan, how did you like On Basilisk Station? I had high expectations and was disappointed. So much exposition about military tactics, hyperdrives, etc, and very little character development. Honor Harrington is the biggest Mary Sue in space.

    Ryan, I was thinking about reading Anathem — it’s in my pile. You know how I feel about The Baroque Cycle. Will I like Anathem?

    Robert, my husband (whose name is Robert) went to two football games yesterday (our son’s and the Gators) and football has been on the TV constantly since it started a week or two ago. It doesn’t end. It gives me lots of time for reading, though.

  2. Bill, I never read Skylark of Space (and I won’t!) but I did like Cyrano’s Voyages to the moon! At the time I was in high school (in France), there was no way my teachers would have us reading genre fiction, so Cyrano and Voltaire were the only ones I could “smuggle”.
    Greg, I hope you’ll like Prince of thorns as much as I did.

  3. I recently listened to the first three Honor Harrington books and didn’t care very much for them. The first book had it’s moments but was just to much explanations, the second was more of the same thing but actually better. So by the third book I thought I would finally see why the series is so popular. Nothing really happened that did not happen in the last two books (except for a dull and unconvincing love-story), making it very predictable. Honor is good at everything (her only flaw seems to be that she underestimates her looks) but all the evil males think she isn’t so she must prove them wrong (with great loss to her ship, but she’ll always manage). Plus the narrator is kind of boring. I guess some people like it, but I don’t. I did like Out of the Dark, but I guess that might become the same thing as Harrington if it becomes a series. If I hear “She is a GOOD officer” one more time I think I’ll puke (I already have a fever but that is besides the point…) I might someday read or listen to the fourth book, but only if I’m promised that phrase isn’t in it.

  4. DH, I agree about the Honor Harrington books. I wouldn’t even have moved on to #2 except that I’d already bought it at Audible when they had one of those special series sales. Unfortunately, I bought #3, too. I’m going to have to skip it. I’m struggling to finish #2. Really struggling. I’ve got it playing at double speed.

  5. Just shows that Audible isn’t always a good thing :)

    Book 2 gets a little bit more exiting towards the end but don’t let that fool you -it doesn’t get better! The so called “Short victorious war” in the third book is really just a cakewalk for Harrington & friends.

  6. I’ve got one friend always trying to talk me into reading Honor Harrington even while telling me how much of a Sue she is and how she’s always predictably right about everything. I have successfully predicted the endings of a couple of the books without actually reading them, just by having this guy tell me the set-up.

  7. Kelly, don’t bother!

  8. Helene,
    Having someone else pop up to say they’d read it was certainly a surprise–I love the idea of you smuggling it in.

    And no, I can’t recommend Skylark. My dad used to read them, so I have fond memories of reading them alongside, picking them up as he put them down. And as a little kid–must have been 3rd grade–I remember the thrill of all those blasters and space beams etc., but hoo boy, it’s much, much better as a fond memory :)

  9. Well I’m a Chiefs/Missouri Tigers fan living in the state of Washington, so I have no desire to go to any games here, but the TV has definitely been tuned to football most of the weekend ;) Of course, once the NFL games start, it will be all football all weekend much to my wife’s despair :D

  10. Never could get into Honor Harrington. I liked Elizabeth Moon’s Heris Serrano much better.

    Currently starting The God Stalker Chronicles by PC Hodgell. My mom keeps insisting I’ll like them, so I thought I’d give it a try.

    Watched a lot of football yesterday. My Ducks lost, and the Michigan game got called on account of weather. At least they were winning at the time.

  11. @Kat. It’s difficult to say. Anathem is strange. I have only read the first 150 pages, so the plot hasn’t really started yet.

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