Tim Scheidler

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.

Sunday Status Update: November 19, 2017

This week, Supergirl and the thing that would totally happen if superheroes existed. Come on, you know it would.

Supergirl: The other day, I grabbed a young woman out of the air as she plummeted from a building. That seems to be happening a lot lately, but at least it's an easy save. I told her it was all right, I had her. The usual stuff. Then I decelerated so she wouldn't get bugs up her nose and started floating toward the street nice and leisurely.

"Oh crap, it's you," she said.

"What?" I said.

"I mean, I'm sorry, I just totally thought you were Superman. I was kind of holding out for him."

"Yeah, well, uh... " I realized that she looked familiar. "Hey, didn't I save you last week?"

"Yeah. You know, you should really think about getting a different cape, because from a distance, it's really hard to tell you're not Superman. Like, w... Read More

Sunday Status Update: November 12, 2017

Character update will return next week.

Bill: Just one book finished this week thanks to the 1200-page tome that is Brandon Sanderson’s Oathbringer. Media-wise, my son and I took in Thor: Ragnarok, which was quite funny, visually rich, and reveled in joyful self-deprecation, but I did feel the humor came at the expense of character a bit too much.  I also introduced my son to the glory that is The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonsai Across the 8th Dimension.
Jana: This week I made progress in Read More

Sunday Status Update: November 5, 2017

This week, Frodo gives Rivendell a 3 out of 5 on TripAdvisor. Minor spoilers for Lord of the Rings.

Frodo: This week, I tired of Hobbiton and took the long journey back to Rivendell. It has grown quieter there since the end of the war, as more and more elves take the ships away from Middle Earth to the Undying Lands. Consequently, there were fewer people to talk to and rather less to do in the empty halls of the Last Homely House. There was little singing, and none scheduled for the night I was there. Eventually, I and a young elf named Glindir just settled down to a game of cards. Elrond himself joined us later, apparently having nothing better to do, and got rather fussy when Glindir took a few hands. Also, the soup was stone cold. I left with the terrible presentiment that all good things pass away, and even the seemingly eternal cannot flourish when winter com... Read More

Son of the Black Sword: Lots of fun, but should’ve started later

Readers’ average rating: 

Son of the Black Sword by Larry Correia

J.R.R. Tolkien. Michael Moorcock. Lloyd Alexander. Brandon Sanderson. Steven Erikson. Terry Brooks. What do all of these authors have in common? Well, all of them wrote about The Black Sword™. Ah, but what, you ask, is The Black Sword™? Well, The Black Sword™ is a double-edged weapon which happens to be jet black and very magical. Generally, it is also a good bit chattier and/or more judgmenta... Read More

Sunday Status Update: October 29, 2017

This week, in honor of Halloween, Michael Myers.

Michael: Finally, the time is almost here. Soon, I'll set out on my bloody task. I will put such fear into these people that they will always remember the day I came home. The only snag is my crippling head cold, which makes it hard for me to breathe (I make ghastly rasping noises all the time), and makes it very difficult for me to run or even jog without an awful coughing fit. But I am undaunted! I shall simply have to walk after my victims. Yes. I'll just stroll after them in a leisurely fashion. Provided they all end up hiding somewhere private and alone rather than running to the police station, everything should be fine.

Marion: I read Ghostland; An American History in Haunted Places by journalist Colin Dickey. In spite of the name, it is... Read More

La Belle Sauvage: A masterful return

Readers’ average rating: 

La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman

I always find it a little nerve-wracking when an author returns to a successful series after a long time away. There's always the fear, for me at least, that one of two things is going to happen: either the author will be nostalgic about the original work to the extent that s/he makes the new book into a fawning tribute without substance, or the author will have changed enough in the time between installments that the magic is just gone. I'm happy to say, though, that Philip Pullman's new novel dispels both of those fears. La Belle Sauvage (2017) is, though not quite as much a game-changer as The Golden Compass, still a fantastic novel in its own righ... Read More

Sunday Status Update: October 22, 2017

This week, Robin Hood and the Long Lead-Up to the Corny Joke.

Robin: This week, after many offenses given me, my patience reached its end. As the Sheriff of Nottingham fled from Sherwood Forest after his latest attempt to drag me to the gallows, I drew back my bow and sent a gray-goose shaft speeding right into his black heart. Or rather, I would have done, but he was on the back of a galloping horse at the time, and the bit of him that I could see most clearly was his rump. So I sent a gray-goose shaft speeding right into that instead. He didn't half howl. Most of the men laughed along with me, but Stutely simply would not have done with the joke. Even far later in the night, he was on about it.

"Master," quoth he, "what wouldst thou say that thou didst today?"

"Eh?" quoth I, a bit the worse for drink by this point. "I shot the Sheriff."

"Ah, ... Read More

Sunday Status Update: October 15, 2017

Character update will return next week.

Bill: Not much reading this week between a sprint to finish the first draft of a new play by Friday’s rehearsal and finally grading the 45 essays I’d put off in order to do so. Though that didn’t stop me from binging the first season of Fortitude all the way through. So nothing completed, though I’m about halfway through Peter Brett’s The Core, the concluding volume of his THE DEMON CYCLE.

Marion: I’m writing this on Thursday morning. This hasn’t been a great week for me. Half of my home county is in flames, and three friends lost their houses – they evacuated safely with themselves and their pets, but family photos, antiques, original art, books, wedding dresses safely stowed in ... Read More

Sunday Status Update: October 8, 2017

This week, Dracula reflects on his big plans for the upcoming solstice.

Dracula: Ah, the solstice approaches! That night when the powers of the dead are greatest upon the earth, and the mortal man shall quake for fear of that which he knows not! This year, I have planned... I have... very well, I shall admit it, I have no plans. Four hundred years I have been doing this, and ah, such a headache. Every year, the lesser vampires come to me and they say "Master, surely this samhain shall be a bountiful harvest for our kind! What is your diabolical plan?" Four hundred years of diabolical plans. Four hundred years of bloody fountains and impaled corpses and plagues of wolves and innocents prostrated by iron nails upon unholy ground for the despair of mankind, and I am done. I am sick of it. I keep coming up with these things, year after year after year, and there is only so many times the shriek of a young mothe... Read More

Sunday Status Update: October 1, 2017

This week, Batman confronts his most terrifying foe yet: the specter of a slow month.

Batman: Field report for September: I dislike Septembers. I understand that this is selfish of me, because the reason is that there is statistically less crime in September. There is a detectable lull each year in between the warm weather of August and whatever horrors my enemies wish to unleash in Halloween season, and so September is just... sort of there. A few minor heists prevented, a handful of small-scale criminals brought to justice, a firm but brief explanation to Poison Ivy on the subject of the park's official borders. I must not be disappointed. I cannot be. I prefer to think of it as trepidation for what my enemies may unleash when the other shoe inevitably falls. Trepidation. Yes.

...thank God it's October.

Brad: Thi... Read More

Sunday Status Update: September 24, 2017

This week, Legolas and Gimli reach Randland.

Legolas: Journal Entry 4858307: This week, we arrived in another new country. I'm beginning to think we are the fools of fate in this one particular way, and we're doomed never to reach the Undying Lands. Nevertheless, Gimli and I dutifully got ashore at the harbor to resupply. The locals were Men, ordinary enough, save that they did not seem to know what their continent was called. "This is Andor!" said one, but as it turned out, that was only the name of the country. The word "Randland" was tossed around, but honestly nobody seemed to really know, which was most strange. Then somebody called the Dragon Reborn came down to see us, with a lot of pomp and melodrama. I can only assume they were speaking figuratively in regard to his name, because he didn't look a single thing like a dragon, or act much like one either. Most of the dragons I've he... Read More

Sunday Status Update: September 17, 2017

Character update will return next week.

Bill: This week I read two disappointing works: Horizon, the conclusion to Fran Wilde’s BONE CITY trilogy; and Cast No Shadow, a muddled graphic novel by Nik Tapalansky and Anissa Espinosa.  More enjoyable was Reed Tucker’s Slugfest: Inside the Epic, 50-year Battle between Marvel and DC, a generally entertaining look at the two major superhero comic companies’ interactions with one another.

Marion: I finished  Read More

Sunday Status Update: September 10, 2017

This week, Legolas and Gimli's misadventures continue, as they reach Cair Paravel on the shores of Narnia.

Legolas: Journal Entry 4858306: Still searching for the Undying Lands. Still trying not to let recriminations begin with too much force. This week, however, I truly believed that at last we had come to the end of our travails. I looked out the prow of a ship and beheld a green country and pale sands, and upon a high place before the sea there was a white palace with banners dancing in the gusts. This, it seemed to me, might be the fabled isle of Tol Eressea that stands as welcome to the elves. It was with glad hearts, then, that Gimli and I made for harbor. When we landed, however, we were greeted by a strange and motley assortment of peoples. There was a woman whose lower body was that of a horse, a man whose lower body was that of a goat, and a whole mess of others equally bizarre.... Read More

Red Sister: Magic nuns. Need we say more?

Readers’ average rating:

Reposting to include Kat's new review of the audiobook.

Red Sister by Mark Lawrence

Mark Lawrence's previous six novels have been interesting and unique in their own ways, but have also formed part of a recognizable corner of the genre. That is, Lawrence's name often appears alongside those of Joe Abercrombie and R. Scott Bakker on lists with titles like "So You've Just Finished A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE — What Next?" This isn't to say that the books set in Lawrence's Broken Empire aped George R.R. Martin, only that they seemed ... Read More

Sunday Status Update: September 3, 2017

Character update will return next week.

Bill:This week I read House of Names, Colm Toibin’s retelling of the Atreus myth and A Brief History of Everone Whoever Lived by Adam Rutherford, a look at what the genome can tell us about human history

Kat: I finished the audiobook version of Mark Lawrence’s Red Sister which I didn't like quite as well as Tim did, but that may be due to the narrator. Review coming soon. Now I'm back to MAGE WINDS tri... Read More

Wytchfire: Old-school epic fantasy

Readers’ average rating: 

Wytchfire by Michael Meyerhofer

Wytchfire, the first book in Michael Meyerhofer’s DRAGONKIN TRILOGY, is the image of a classic-style epic fantasy of the sort that hasn't seemed to show up as often since George R.R. Martin and Robin Hobb largely took over for Tolkien as guiding lights of the genre. It's a fun and lively story, but the reader's enjoyment may depend on how much s/he enjoys old-school epic fantasy and its associated tropes.

I happen to like old-school epic fantasy, so for me Wytchfire was a fun read (even slightly nostalgic, like revisiting the old neighborhood and f... Read More

Sunday Status Update: August 27, 2017

This week, Legolas and Gimli continue their misadventure-filled journey to the Undying Lands, after a storm blew them off-course last time.

Legolas: Journal Entry 4858304: We finally spotted land earlier today. It wasn't a particularly prepossessing sight, but at that point we were ready to try anywhere that might have fresh water. Besides, it was that or keep playing Gimli's asinine dwarven dice games. When we made land, I went ashore with some barrels while Gimli remained behind to watch the ship. I found a stream readily enough and filled the barrels, but when I returned to the beach I found that two things had occurred, one predictable and the other totally outlandish. First, Gimli had fallen asleep in the shade of a rocky outcropping. Second, hundreds of tiny people had attempted to tie him down with miniature ropes while he slept. They were industrious little folk, but they were hav... Read More

Sunday Status Update: August 20, 2017

This week, Legolas and Gimli run into a snag on their way to the Havens (spoilers).

Legolas: Journal Entry 4858299: This week, I at long last set off for the Grey Havens, accompanied by Gimli. It was an auspicious moment, many tearful farewells. Still, I was eager to take to the seas, for ever since I heard the sound of waves on shore, there has dwelt in my heart a terrible desire for the shining land beyond the waters. Gimli just wants to hit on Galadriel again. Anyway, our journey went smoothly the first few days, but last night, a terrible storm blew in. We were both of us up all night struggling with sails and tiller, and by the time the tempest blew itself out, we had no actual idea where we were. Now here we are floating along beneath a featureless sky, and for all I know we're headed right back toward Middle Earth. Also, waterlogged dwarf smells awful.

Read More

Sunday Status Update: August 13, 2017

This week, Supergirl again. Yeah, I dunno.

Supergirl: I spent this week in super speed. Did you know the super speed is something I can turn on and off? Bet you didn't. It is, though. You know that feeling where you focus in really hard on something, and time seems to slow down as you study it? It's like that, except, you know, actually happening. I did it for the whole week. Weirdest thing I've ever done. Do you know how creepy people look in slow motion? Do you know how hard it is to pay attention to what people are saying when they're taking like an hour to say it and their words sound like discordant whale song? How the Flash hasn't gone completely insane and murdered us all by now, I have no idea.

Brad: This week I've been enjoying on audio the newest collection of short stories by Read More

Wearing the Cape: Good fun, but pulls punches

Readers’ average rating:

Wearing the Cape
by Marion G. Harmon

Prose fiction has often seemed to have trouble dealing with the figure of the superhero. While the subgenre can boast many excellent graphic novels, and film and television adaptations have been quite successful, it has never quite seemed to find its voice in a less visual medium. There have certainly been some notable successes, but it feels as though the breakout work has yet to be written. Wearing the Cape (2011) is actually a pretty good try, though it does have its flaws.

First, though, let's talk about the fun central premise. As is pretty standard for postmodern superhero stories, some sort of cataclysmic Event has taken place that has randomly given a segment of the population super powers. No one seems to know exactly how this has happened, and it ultimately doesn't much matter — comic books have basically come to l... Read More

Sunday Status Update: August 6, 2017

This week, Galadriel puts up with a visit from a peer.

Galadriel: This week, I hosted Thranduil of Mirkwood in Caras Galadhon, which was just as painful as ever. We all know that Lothlorien is far prettier than anything Thranduil has, but of course it would be rude to say so, and so we spend the entire week dancing around the issue as Thranduil makes awkward, bitter jokes about how his forest would probably look pretty good too if he had a super special magic ring (if I ever find out who told him I have one of the Three, I'll... well, let's be honest here, I'll probably do nothing, as it was almost certainly Celeborn, another born whiner on the subject). Finally sent him packing this morning, after an extremely awkward final feast during which he got drunk and started sobbing about how all the other woodland peoples tease him because a hobbit stole a bunch of his barrels once or so... Read More

Every Heart a Doorway: Four takes on this Nebula winner

Readers’ average rating:

Reposting to include Tim's new review.

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

It seems like there are many tales around today that strive to explain the ‘after’ in ‘happily ever after’, with varied results. Seanan McGuire’s Every Heart a Doorway is one such story that had me riveted from the first. This novella appears to be the first in a plan for more stories in this world, and as an introduction it does an excellent job.

Every Heart a Doorway concerns the lives of those girls and boys (but mostly girls, as explained in the novella) who found passageways to other worlds and then came back again. These are your Alices and Dorothys, young people who found and were found by worlds that wanted them. Specifically,... Read More

Sunday Status Update: July 30, 2017

This week, Batman (and apologies for the lateness this week).

Batman: Field report for July: Broke Penguin's nose last Thursday. First time I have ever done so. Must admit to odd feeling of satisfaction. Have now broken the nose of every major supercriminal in Gotham city. Experiencing a sort of completionist's pride. Not sure what this implies about my psychological state. Alfred keeps suggesting I return to therapy, but I am unconvinced. Find myself talking about bats every time I see a Rorschach ink blot, which is clearly problematic.

Bill:This week I read James Morrow’s funny if a bit over long The Asylum of Dr. Caligari, Ben Loory’s  disappointing collection Tales of Falling and Flying, and the informative but flawed The P... Read More

Sunday Status Update: July 23, 2017

This week, Peter Pan goes to Oz.

Peter: This week, I flew to a place called Kansas, and there was a lot of wind in a sort of funnel shape. Never saw one of those in England (or Neverland), but it looked like fun, so I flew into it. It wasn't a very good idea, as it turns out, and I ended up somewhere called Oz. I apparently killed a witch on the way in, but she was wicked, so that was all right. Her sister got mad at me about it, but she was another wicked witch, so I killed her too, and crowed. Then some good witch got annoyed with me and said I oughtn't to just fly around stabbing people like that and I'd better follow the yellow brick road and stop being naughty. So asked her why she didn't want me killing wicked witches, and she got all huffy and said of course I could kill wicked witches, but only after I'd learned a lesson or seen a wizard or something. This Oz place is pre... Read More

Sunday Status Update: July 16, 2017

Character update on break until next week.

Marion: I’ve been mostly reading the work for my writers workshop the first weekend in August, and travel guides for Finland and Iceland, but I did manage to start a re-read of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. The other night on the News Hour they had a segment on “bots” who are being used on the phones at car dealerships, and it made me think about Frankenstein and his creature. In other news, did you know there was a Museum of Icelandic Witchcraft and Sorcery?

Read More

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