Sunday Status Update: April 30, 2017

This week, we finally descend to scatological humor. I’m sorry.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Kvothe: I had a bad start to the day. I seem to have caught the disease going around the village, and I ended up stuck on the privy for most of the morning while Bast roamed around outside offering unhelpful suggestions and saying things like “Whew, Reshi, quick! Call the name of your wind! It’s off its leash again!” I was about ready to throttle him.

Bill: In the lull between rough drafts and final papers, I managed to get a decent amount of reading done this week. I just finished Jeff VanderMeer’s Borne, a lovely, warm, and lyrical book that I’ll be highly recommending. I also finished two YA non-fiction works: 10 Routes that Crossed the World by Gillian Richardson and Come On In, America: The United States in World War I. Both did a nice job with their respective topics. In poetry, I read Timothy Daniel Welch’s Odd Bloom Seen from Space, which didn’t wow me as a whole but as always with poetry collection had me highlighting some striking lines. In comics, I laughed quite a bit through The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Volumes I and II, and am looking forward to the next few. And in media, I was hugely pleased with the first episode of Hulu’s version of The Handmaid’s Tale, which wisely lifts much of the language directly from the brilliant text even as it smartly, unobtrusively makes some updates/changes (didn’t hurt that they gave Atwood herself a cameo).

Brad: I continue with my re-reading while grading this semester’s final papers: Maugham’s The Razor’s Edge; The Sword, a great comic book, by the Luna Brothers; and some old Batman stories from Detective Comics written by Greg Rucka, one of my favorite Noir writers.

Kat: It’s been a while since you’ve heard from me because it’s the end of the semester again and I’ve just been so busy. I’m finished now, though, so life should be a little more relaxing for a bit. I recently finished Andrzej Sapkowski‘s final WITCHER book: The Lady of the Lake. This is a great series for audio. Today I hope to finish Robin Hobb‘s Assassin’s Fate, the final book in her FITZ AND THE FOOL trilogy. It’s good that I’m reading this one in audio format, too, because if I was reading it in print I wouldn’t be able to see the page with all these tears swimming in my eyes. Boy am I going to miss those guys. Reviews for both of these books should be coming this week.

Marion: I finished reading the luxurious Subterranean Press edition of John Scalzi’s novella “The Dispatcher.” I liked it, but it isn’t my favorite Scalzi. Kat and I see pretty much eye-to-eye on it.  I finished The Guns Above by Robyn Bennis, and Jana and I will be sharing a review soon! (Spoiler alert; it’s great fun.) I’m also finishing  Peter Wollheben’s The Hidden Life of Trees. Wollheben choses a style that while not exactly anthropomorphizing trees does sentimentalize them, but, to re-use Stuart’s pun, that style did grow on me. Finally, back to genre works, I read the Lucifer collection Cold Heaven, written by Holly Black, drawn by Stephanie Hans. I don’t think Black’s Lucifer is as finely edged as Richard Kadrey’s, but the story has a good mystery and I loved the character of Medjine.

Stuart: Since I finished Ted Chiang‘s Stories of Your Life and Others (2002), I’ve been eager to to watch the 2016 film SF Arrival, which is based on the title story “Story of Your Life” and has gotten rave reviews from SF fans. The story is definitely intricately thought-out and packs a powerful emotional punch, so I’m always fascinated by how Hollywood tries to capture those subtleties without resorting to CG and explosions. I also just finished Scott HawkinsThe Library at Mount Char (2015), which was a bit hit among our FanLIt reviewers. I don’t have much to add to our analysis, but can you blame me for wanting to read a book that got all 5 or 4.5 star reviews?

Tadiana: Sorry, I’ve been MIA for several weeks from Sunday Status Updates. I’ve been trying to focus on getting an oversized stack of books read and reviewed for our regular columns (remind me not to let my TBR stack of books from publishers get out of control again). But the stack is finally getting smaller, at least to the point where I don’t start to hyperventilate when I look at it. My most noteworthy reads in the past weeks include Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo, which I loved; Void Star, a hard SF cyberspace/AI novel by Zachary Mason, Bayou Moon in Ilona AndrewsTHE EDGE series, and the highly anticipated Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel. My favorite non-SF/F reads lately: Emma by Jane Austen, Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier, and some of the original Sherlock Holmes short stories by Arthur Conan Doyle (the best was “The Speckled Band”).

Tim: This week I got further than I’ve ever gotten before on Dan SimmonsHyperion (about 60% of the way through), and I’m still feeling good about the book! As always before, really enjoying it and really hoping I actually complete it this time.

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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. Kevin S. /

    Tim: Keep going on Hyperion!! I love that series!

  2. Tadiana, I’ve been enjoying your reviews these past few weeks.

  3. It’s not exactly on topic, but I LOVED that we had a comic book review from one of Brad students. What a great idea that was!

  4. You can do it Tim – just be aware that when you get to the last page and turn to the next page, you’ll find yourself back on page 1. There is no escape, bwahaha!

  5. April /

    Kat – I’ve been having trouble finding out in what order I should read/listen to the Witcher books. Do you have a suggested order? I listened to The Last Wish already but don’t know where to go from there.

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