Sunday Status Update: July 31, 2016

This week, Ron.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Ron: This week, I got accidentally fried by a spell four times, tripped over fourteen separate things, and received eighteen condescending tongue-lashings from professors. If Hermione did so much as one of those things, she’d be devastated, but I just keep on trucking. Then Luna Lovegood came along and told me that I was obviously the butt-monkey of the group. I have no idea what she’s talking about, but she seemed to find it amusing. Is that what I am? Is that my purpose in life? I’m just the buffoon? The guy who lightens the mood so Harry can keep brooding and Hermione can keep winning everything? It’s really… [the rest of the diary entry is unreadable, as Ron at this point upset the ink jar with his elbow, to general amusement in the Gryffindor common room].

Jana: This past week I wrote and posted three reviews (Caighlan Smith’s short story “The Weather,” Levi Black‘s horror novel Red Right Hand, and Joseph Nassise‘s Urban Allies anthology) and I’m doing my best to keep up the momentum through this week and into the next. I finished Smith’s novel, Children of Icarus, so that I could put together a review and a really fun upcoming interview with her. I read a new (to me) horror novella by Sarah Pinborough, The Language of Dying, and started reading Indomitable, the second novel in W.C. Bauers‘ CHRONICLES OF PROMISE PAEN. I have no idea if I can keep this pace up into autumn, but it’ll be fun to see how long it lasts.

Marion: I am finishing up The Fall of the Towers, the omnibus edition of Samuel R Delaney’s trilogy. It’s an impressive work for something that Delany write when he was 20. The trilogy has its deficits, and it is certainly dated, but a lot of the issues are current issues (economic inequities, political cynicism and the purpose of war top the list.) And I started Max Gladstone’s Four Roads Cross. I am very excited to see Tara Abernathy back!

Stuart: Last week I finished Vernor Vinge‘s 1993 Hugo Winner A Fire Upon the Deep. I’m now reading the prequel A Deepness in the Sky, the 2000 Hugo Award winner. Once again, Vinge comes up with some intriguing aliens, arachnids living next to an on-off oscillating star, along with two competing human groups, the Qeng Ho traders and the Emergents, who enslave their own people using a mind-virus. Strangely, the spider aliens are have human-sounding names like Sherkaner Underhill, Victory Smith, and Hrunkner Unnerby, and the reason is only gradually revealed, so I was quite confused for the first half of the book. Now that I understand it, it’s gotten more interesting.

In comics, I finished Vol 10: The Wake, the final volume of his epic SANDMAN graphic novel. It’s an even more impressive achievement when you look back at the entire series and see how carefully he has build his story and world, week by week, through 75 issues from 1989-1996. I’m now reading a companion volume called Sandman: Endless Nights, featuring stories about each of the Endless.

Terry: Alas, I am still reading everything I was reading last week, having finished not a single one of the three books I had started.  Instead, as is my recent wont, I started two new books, and finished one of them — but really, these are so much fun that I’m not at all annoyed with myself.  I buzzed right through Gustav Gloom and the People Taker, and immediately after I finished it I started Gustav Gloom and the Nightmare Vault, and may well finish that one this evening, as it’s unlikely to give me any peace until I do.  the books are the first two in a middle grade series by Adam-Troy Castro, and they make me fervently wish I knew a 10-year-old to share them with, as they are absolutely delightful.  Castro has a magnificent range; his short stories are often perfectly twisted in such a way that you can’t help but look at the world a bit differently (“Her Husband’s Hands” and “Arvies,” for instance, both of which haunt me since my first reading) and his novellas and novels starring Andrea Cort, a diplomat in a complicated universe, are so different from these novels that it’s hard to imagine they come from the same pen.  I suspect I’ll be reading the entirety of this series as fast as my fingers can turn the pages.

Tim: This week, I read the entirety of the manga Berserk by Kentaro Miura. And wow, I suddenly get a lot of references that I previously found baffling. The storyline is quite fun, though I will say that it sometimes makes A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE look non-violent and chaste (especially early on). Also, it’s fairly slow to update (apparently it’s been going for twenty years now, with no end in sight and little progress toward the main goal).

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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. I finished the first book in the Witch World series by Andre Norton. I also just finished the second trilogy in the Mistborn series, which is fantastic. I can’t believe Sanderson managed to successfully write a Western trilogy that emerges out of his fantasy series. Last night I read Mistborn: A Secret History, which answers many questions about Sanderson’s “Cosmere.” And this morning I started The Last Wish, which Kat recommended earlier this week. I’m already hooked.

    • I really loved Norton’s WITCH WORLD series when I was younger. Because the women/girls took an active role in the stories, they provided some nice role models for young women.

      I see you liked the MISTBORN series more than I did, but I did love The Alloy of Law.

      • Well, you have a lot more experience with fantasy literature, so MISTBORN might not match up to all the various series you’ve read. But for me, it was amazing because it is so different from anything I’ve read. I hope to find more like it.

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