Sunday Status Update: March 2, 2014

AlixAlix: This week has been reading-light again, and has involved much whining to boyfriend about how I don’t want to write a unit on colonial America or fix the kitchen faucet which recently exploded. In between complaining, I’ve been working on Nnedi Okorafor’s Lagoon and Helene Wecker’s Nebula-nominated The Golem and the Jinni, and taking a few guilty sips of Valente’s The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There. Oh, and I watched 12 Years a Slave and curled into a fetal position out of sheer historical admiration and visceral horror. So that was fun.

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Bill: Unfortunately, my run of disappointment continued in the early part of this week with the YA novel Lockstep, by Karl Schroeder, and the oft-praised On Such a Full Sea, by Chang-rae-Lee (I had such high hopes for this one too). Luckily, my son just started Star Guard for his English independent reading, which meant I of course had to pick it back up and give it yet another read. I can always count on Andre Norton to deliver. Finally, I’ve just finished Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer, which surprisingly was odd and had fungi in it. Go figure.  Not sure if I “get it,” but I am sure I liked it and am looking forward to the  next two installments.

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Kat: Well, the past week flew by fast! I read two YA science fiction novels. The first was Seth Fishman’s The Well’s End which is about a group of teenagers trying to survive a deadly plague. It’s got some typical YA issues, but I have to admit that it was hard to put down. Next was Robert A. Heinlein’s Have Space Suit — Will Travel which is about a teenage boy who wants to get into a good college so he can eventually get to space. My favorite book last week was Jeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation which is about the expedition of four female scientists who visit a mysterious place called Area X. Terry and Bill read it, too, and we’ll be writing a review together this week.

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Marion: I finished The Last Banquet, an historical novel by Jonathan Grimwood, aka Jon Courtenay Grimwood. This was a fascinating book about an intriguing character caught up in the flow of history, told in a lyrical but unsentimental fashion. I enjoyed it. I’m almost done with Cherie Priest’s CLOCKWORK CENTURY book, Fiddlehead. I didn’t expect U.S. Grant to be such a  major character! It’s an interesting choice. I have not gotten much reading done this past week. I had a bad experience in my local independent bookstore chain when I went to buy a few of the Nebula best-novel nominees (mostly women) and could not find their books. I could find seven copies of books from GRRM’s ASOIAF series; three or four copies each of various Robert Jordan pastiches, The Lives of Tao, and a bunch of Heinlein reprints, but not Jemisin, Leckie or Kowal. Fowler and Wecker were filed in Fiction. Of course they had the Gaiman, because it’s Gaiman. I went to three stores and called a fourth; no luck. I think an e-mail to the bookseller is in order.

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Ryan: I’m still reading Terry Pratchett‘s The Fifth Elephant. To be honest, it has spent most of the week on my shelf. I am enjoying the Vimes story, but Carrot and Angua — are they or aren’t they, already? It seems like the B stories are crowding out the A story here. Outside the world of SFF, I finished I Wear The Black Hat by Chuck Klosterman and enjoyed it. I’ve borrowed Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs from the library, and — believe it or not — I prefer his newer work.

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Terry: This past week was the week after a vacation as well as the last week of the month, which means I was snowed under by legal work and had relatively little time to read. I did manage to get caught up on back issues of Beneath Ceaseless Skies; as it comes out every other week, it’s easy to fall behind, and I was chagrined to find I hadn’t read a single issue in 2014. Otherwise, I read a chunk of a fine novel by Sarah Pinborough, A Matter of Blood, the first in the FORGOTTEN GODS trilogy. I have the second book on hold at the library, and am annoyed to learn that the library doesn’t stock the third book. Why would a library buy the first two and not the third? Is it a secret plot to get me to buy one book for every two I borrow? If so, it’s a pretty darned good plan.

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RYAN SKARDAL, on our staff from September 2010 to November 2018, is an English teacher who reads widely but always makes time for SFF.

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  1. Ahhh, Have Space Suit Will Travel. The two-tiered shelves below the windows, right about the middle of the room, on the second shelf. Yellow cover. 7th grade library.

    • Yep, yep. I remember where all the books are in my elementary school library. I hope they’re still there….

  2. Brad /

    This week I read too many comic books to list individually and then, quite appropriately, read a book on hoarding after I finished bagging my comics. I was also paralyzed by an epiphany when I realized I was listening to this book on a Bluetooth headset so that I could move around the house in order to obsessively reorganize my books — for the fourth time this week — in three of my overflowing rooms with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. The book is called STUFF. I highly recommend the book. However, I do not recommend sudden, painful awareness of one’s shortcomings (made all the more painful when I had a second realization: as of four years ago, about 99% of my non-comic book purchases shifted to digital and 50% of my comic book purchases became digital as well. Thank goodness for digital or you would be seeing me on a reality TV show in a segment right after the “Cat Person.” I kid you not).

    I wonder how many of you out there know what I’m talking about all too well . . .

  3. Annihilation! It’s everywhere! Everyone is reading it! Just kidding, I love Vandermeer, glad this is getting a lot of attention. I’m reading it too. :)

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