Sunday Status Update: December 14, 2014

This week, Drizzt. This actually happens, by the way. I'm going to say Siege of Darkness... ? It's hard to remember what happened in which book after a while.

Drizzt: This week, a most troubling event took place. I was sitting in my chamber in Mithral Hall contemplating the tremendously original names in my universe (as one does), when Catti-Brie entered. Long have I cherished some romantic regard for the fair daughter of Bruenor Battlehammer, and I admit myself that I was tempted from my solitary ruminations by the promise of light conversation and (I blush as I write it) perhaps even hand-holding with the attractive young woman bursting into my bedchamber in the middle of the night. Alas! For scarce had I parted my lips to speak the words of chaste love when she forced me back onto the bed in a most shamefully lascivious manner.  Ah, friends, you may well comprehend my bafflement,... Read More

Sunday Status Update: December 7, 2014

This week, Tasslehoff Burrfoot. I have strong feelings about Tasslehoff Burrfoot. Of which variety, I remain silent (though it may be obvious).

Tasslehoff: Hey! I'm Tasslehoff Burrfoot! Half of all fantasy readers adore me and dream of one day writing a character half as charming and hilarious! The other half of them completely despise me and fantasize about throttling me with my own oversized topknot! Wherever I go, contention follows! Am I the Puckish shining light that elevates Dragonlance, or am I the aggravating exemplar of all the series' failings? You decide!

Brad: This week, I mainly graded papers, but I found time to listen to some of the essays in Batman and Philosophy, as well as most of Asimov's Foundation, which I've never read. I also read some comics... Read More

Sunday Status Update: November 30, 2014

This week, grab bag of quick superhero jokes.

Supergirl: Well, it was the Justice League Thanksgiving party this week. Everything went off about as expected. The Flash ate everything in sight, supposedly to "keep up his calorie intake" and not at all because he's a big greedy pig. Batman sat around looking even more depressed than usual and wouldn't be thankful for anything. Superman made cutting up a dead bird into a much bigger deal than it had to be. And he wore an apron. It was... horrible. Then Wonder Woman got tipsy and started reminding us all (yet again) about how she's the god of war now. You'd think getting promoted from princess to goddess would be pretty interesting, but she doesn't seem to have any new powers or anything, so maybe it's a desk job... ?  Rao only knows. Or Zeus. Or... you know, whatever.

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Sunday Status Update: November 23, 2014

This week, Frodo Baggins returns.

Frodo: Well, I had no time for reading this week. Unfortunately, I had to pursue litigation against some Gondorian author who thought he could write some kind of fictionalized biography of my life while changing everything worthy about it. His name is Terrydel Brooksana or something like that. Honestly, I don't know where he got the cheek to write Gandalf as some black-bearded wrestler type, and of course he had to make Sam and myself into Men. Wrote out Merry and Pippin completely. And Tom Bombadil! He wrote out Tom completely, and that's... that's... well, actually, that might have been a good idea.

Brad: This week I read a good number of current monthly comics, including the just-released trade collection of THE WICKED + THE DIVINE, a fantastic new series from I... Read More

Sunday Status Update: November 16, 2014

Today, Kvothe... er, or not.

Kote: Bloody hell, Chronicler just keeps lapping up this BS I'm feeding him. Of course I'm not Kvothe the Arcane, but hey, sucker born every day. Getting a little concerned about Bast, though. Sometimes I think he's just playing along, but other times he gives me the weirdest looks, like he's buying it or somehow thinks I am Kvothe, or... I'm probably just imagining things.

João: This was a particularly good week for me. I read the first two volumes of SAGA and am waiting for my girlfriend to finish reading the third volume so I can borrow it from her. I don’t know what to think of them to be honest. I like them, but I don’t read enough graphic novels to think I can pass any critical judgment on it beyond my own enjoyment of it. I also finished ... Read More

Sunday Status Update: November 9, 2014

Character update on break until next week. Drizzt told me in no uncertain terms that if I mocked his swords' names one more time, he was going to give me an up close and personal look at them.

Kat: I cheated. I’ve been saying for a few weeks now that I was going to stick with all the old series I’ve started and not be tempted away by anything new. But I fell. For Brandon Sanderson’s Steelheart. I guess I was kind of bored — same old same old every day, you know — and I got tempted. I thought maybe that it’d be edgy, new, exciting, titillating... And you know what? It wasn’t worth it. It totally wasn’t. I can’t believe I abandoned my moral code for that. Now I have guilt. And shame, ‘cause everybody knows.... sigh.... But now I’m back on the wagon and determined to remain fait... Read More

Sunday Status Update: November 2, 2014

This week, big thanks to Marion for securing an update from Bigby Wolf himself.

Bigby: Big B Wolf, Sheriff, Fabletown. Daily Report: I hope Deputy Mayor White is pleased with herself, running me around on this “community policing” gig. Two hours in the basement explaining to the mice -- again -- that tying a bell around the cat’s neck is technically assault; plus those rodents in the front row waving that Farley Mowat book and chanting, “Wolf Eats Mice!”  It’s funny that those mice don’t want to talk about who nibbled off the Gingerbread Man’s feet during his last yoga session. Give me a break.

John: I am finishing up Drawn Blades by Kelly McCullough and I need to write the review for... Read More

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children: It’s not the X-Men without Wolverine

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

If there is one genre in young adult fiction that has been egregiously overdone at this point, it’s… well, actually, can’t tell a lie, it’s paranormal romance. But a close runner-up is the “Teens with Powers” genre that’s rocketed to prominence in recent years, particularly after a certain book series involving young wizards and their magical school. The formula is generally much the same: there’s a secret society of magic-users who organize themselves in some sort of refuge from a dangerous world where they have an equally magical enemy. The inevitably teenage or tweenage protagonists are at first under pressure to simply conform and leave the problems to the adults, but must soon take matters into their own hands to indulge teenage hormones and face their nemeses in glorious magical combat. This isn’t to say it’s a bad formula (indeed, many auth... Read More

Sunday Status Update: October 26, 2014

This week, Denna from the Kingkiller Chronicle.

Denna: No time for reading things this week. Kvothe somehow managed to get attacked by pirates, so Tehlu only knows where he'll pop up next. Had to squeeze the patron for a few coins (not literally, ugh. I get such an odd feeling of looming evil and incipient tragedy whenever I get near him for some funny reason) to scrounge enough money to take ship. I swear, Kvothe had better be appreciating all of this.

Brad: I read a few good comic books this week, but I'm going to mention only one, so you'll remember it. Better yet, just go buy it. It's an incredible YA fantasy comic book: Two young girls, fleeing princesses, on the run from murderous relatives and accompanied by an Aslan-like creature made of fire. One, a hesitant-young lady in a dress; the other, her... Read More

Sunday Status Update: October 19, 2014

This week, Red Sonja addresses the question on everyone's mind.

Red Sonja: In point of fact, yes. It does chafe. And it's freezing cold in any weather, and blazing hot in sunlight. It's awful. You can all stop asking me about it now. Also about why I keep wearing it. It's a laugh, isn't it? It's an impression. And it distracts feeble-minded men. Sometimes. And, and, it's a talking point, right? It makes me better-known. All publicity is good publicity, especially for a mercenary. It's all... it's...

... I'm terribly lonely.

Bill: Grading lightened up this week (for another 12 hours or so), this was a good period of time for quantity of reading, if a mixed one for quality. In order of preference:
Harvest by Jim Crace, a Man Booker Short-listed novel (my most reliable literary pr... Read More

Sunday Status Update: October 12, 2014

Yes, it's Supergirl again. This happens when I read DC.

Supergirl: I arrived too late for all the fun stuff. I've been reading some history this week, about how society is sort of this cyclical thing, back and forth between prudishness and debauchery, or reason and superstition, or whatever else. But the thing is, I think superhero society had a really fast pendulum swing, and I popped in too late. Superman used to travel in time, apparently. He got contacted by secret-agent signal watches. Now all he wants to do is punch things, lecture me, and make out with Wonder Woman. It's not just him, either. At one point, Batman apparently decided the one thing his super-secret batcave needed was a giant dinosaur model. So, god knows how or why, he must have spent hours (days?) manhandling and assembling a T-rex. He used to slide down a fire pole. How come I came around after everyone grew up? Where's all th... Read More

Pharos the Egyptian: Mummies! Morons! Mediocrity.

Pharos the Egyptian by Guy Boothby

Once upon a time, when the British Empire was at its zenith, adventure fiction and fantastical writings began to deal with the idea that London — and tacitly, all Britain — was under threat by some ancient, terrifying force (frequently from a place where Britain had established a colony). There was an immense fascination with the occult versus the modern, the venerable old kingdoms versus the new British Empire, and most of all, the diabolical arcane opponent versus the plucky, civilized Englishman. It’s a trend that gave us such well-known works as Bram Stoker’s Dracula or Henry Rider Haggard's She, but prior to these there was Guy Boothby and his mummy novel Pharos the Egyptian.

The story is fairly straightforward: a young Englishman named Cyril Forrester comes into contact with an... Read More

Sunday Status Update: October 5, 2014

This week, another legend of the gallant Sir Lancelot, pulled from the Arthurian Legends.

Bors: I can remember when my family was respectable, you know. I really can. I remember when I would introduce myself and people would say "Oh, you're named for your father, are you? That'd make you old Ban's nephew." People would smile and nod. Now they just ask what it's like to be Lancelot's cousin, and sort of smirk. This week caps a succession of bad weeks, as my sainted hero of a kinsman continued his latest "insane" tantrum. So far, he's apparently attacked no less than six people indiscriminately, climbed into two beds that don't belong to him, spouted suspiciously cogent "madman talk" at anyone who asked him what the hell he was doing running around naked with a bloody sword in hand (oh, yes, he's on one of his exhibitionist kicks again, forgot to mention), and after finally tiring himself out enough to collapse, att... Read More

Sunday Status Update: September 28, 2014

This week, a rather tired meme.

Shepard: I'm Commander Shepard, and this is my favorite site on the Citadel.

BillThis week I read Michel Faber’s The Book of Strange New Things and Violet Kupersmith’s story collection—The Frangipani Hotel. Faber’s was a bit overly long, and the speculative fiction aspects were the weakest part of the novel, but it was overall a serious and thoughtful exploration of relationships, religion, and humanity.  Kupersmith’s collection, meanwhile, was filled with solid stories—many of them involving supernatural creatures/events—but I can’t say any single story blew me away.  Currently, I’m in... Read More

Fool’s Assassin: Good, but a little slow

Fool’s Assassin by Robin Hobb

I have some mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, I’m tremendously pleased that Hobb is writing Fitz again. He is and remains (for me at least) her most entertaining protagonist, and represents a return to form following what I believe to be her experimentation in the SOLDIER SON TRILOGY in particular. And the book is good. So far at least, Hobb has managed to resist her tried-and-true soul-splitting motif, and we get a complete human being to follow. Hobb depicts his life with sterling characterization and subtle nuance, reminding me why she is considered one of the best (possibly even the best) in the fantasy genre when it comes to introspective narratives. During the first third to half of the novel, this was enough. In the second portion, though, I admit that I found myself increasingly concerned at how slowly Hobb was building events.

Now, let’s be clear: Hobb has nev...

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