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: January 17, 2021

Jana: This week I’m reading Nghi Vo’s When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain, a stand-alone novella in her SINGING HILLS cycle (which begins with The Empress of Salt and Fortune). It’s delightful and intricate, and I love the ways Vo uses interwoven texts to examine the story-telling process itself. I’ve also been listening to Sheldon Allman’s 1960 album Folk Songs for the 21st Century, a strange and darkly humorous collection of songs about atomic bombs... Read More

Sunday Status Update: January 10, 2021

Kat: I re-read the first two books in Brandon Mull’s FIVE KINGDOMS series for kids (Sky Raiders and The Rogue Knight). I read them years ago but I’m ready to read and review the final three books (which have been sitting on my phone for a long time), so I needed to give them a re-read in preparation. I’m now on book three, Crystal Keepers. I got some reviews done this week, too, so look for those... Read More

The Fires of Vengeance: Best served cold

The Fires of Vengeance by Evan Winter

The Rage of Dragons was a well-realized and propulsive debut for author Evan Winter, though the main character was such an Edgy Boi™ that he could probably have gone ice dancing without skates. Winter's gifts for pacing and his novel world-building nevertheless left me with a good impression, and when I saw that the sequel was available, I immediately purchased a copy. To be clear, there are relatively few series that I buy on release day anymore, so it says something about Winter's abilities that I felt instantly motivated to continue THE BURNING.

For the most part, The Fires of Vengeance (2020) is your typical fantasy sequel in that it's more of what worked the first time around while also clearly being a transition to the next Bi... Read More

The Rage of Dragons: A classic style in new clothes

The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter

There's a vogue lately for fantasy inspired by cultures other than medieval western Europe or modern America, and to that I give a hearty cheer. To be clear, you'll hardly find a bigger lover of medieval Europe in particular than I am — I spent the last couple of weeks before Christmas grading papers on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, for example — but even I will admit that the neverending conga line of plucky yeomen rising up to shake wartorn kingdoms can sometimes get old. It's therefore nice to see new cultural ideas coming into play. That said, I have to wonder how far some of these stories are really straying from their predecessors in the genre. The Rage of Dragons (2019) is a good example: it features African-inspired names and themes, but it's also inescapably a story about a plucky yeoman rising up to shake a wartorn kingdom.

Still, Th... Read More

Sunday Status Update: January 3, 2021

Kat: I've been busy with holidays and planning for the spring semester, but yesterday I managed to read the two most recent PENRIC & DESDEMONA novellas by Lois Mcmaster Bujold: The Orphans of Raspay and The Physicians of Vilnoc.


Bill: Since our last status, I’ve read the following, unfortunately none particularly strong:
A History of What Comes Next by Sylvain Neuvel
A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes
The... Read More

Sunday Status Update: December 27, 2020

Marion: Last week, most of my “reading” involved recipes  and grocery shopping lists. I did, however, finish a romance novel (a genre I almost NEVER read). I finished up Deception by Selena Montgomery, better-known to politics-watchers as Stacey Abrams. It’s not my go-to genre, but I did enjoy it. And I managed to browse the most recent issue of Clarkesworld, which had a couple of interesting stories. A.C. Wise’s “To Sail the Black” was  like Giedeon the Ninth  light, and I loved the fractured first generation-North-American family in Brazilian writer Clara Madrigano’s “Lost in Darkness and Distance.”

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Sunday Status Update: December 13, 2020

Kat: This week was the last week of my semester and I was busy with grading and other end-of-the-semester stuff. I didn’t get anything finished, but I’m working on Bob Proehl’s The Somebody People which is the sequel to last year’s The Nobody People. I like this one better.


Bill: This was a great week, as I read four excellent works: Remote Control, a novella by Nnedi Okorafor; The Mask of Mirrors, by M.A. Carrick, The Only Good Indians by Read More

Sunday Status Update: December 6, 2020

Jana: Sorry you haven’t heard much from me lately! The last few weeks have been rather busy, but I did manage to read Sofiya Pasternack’s Anya and the Dragon and its sequel, Anya and the Nightingale, both of which are entertaining MG books. I also started reading Sarah Gailey’s upcoming novel The Echo Wife, and am very much looking forward to discussing it with Tadiana and Kelly.


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Sunday Status Update: November 29, 2020

Kat: Since you heard from me a couple of weeks ago, I've re-read Arkady & Boris Strugatsky's Monday Starts on Saturday. This time I'll get it reviewed. Also read Chloe Neill's The Bright and Breaking Sea (first book in a new series), K. Eason's How the Multiverse Got its Revenge (sequel to How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse), and Andrzej Sapkowski's The Tower of Fools (first in a new ... Read More

Sunday Status Update: November 22, 2020

Marion: It was not a good week for reading because I had writing to accomplish, but on Wednesday I started Hilary Mandel’s The Mirror and the Light, the third book about Thomas Cromwell.


 

Bill:This was an eclectic week of reading, which included:

Brian Naslund’s quite good (and often laugh-out-loud funny) Sorcery of A Queen  (review soon to come)
Virginia Postrel’s interesting The Fabric of Civilization: How Textiles Made the World
Rick Barot’s excellent poetry collection The Galleons
Kristina Moriconi’s lovely Read More

The Guinevere Deception: King Arthur’s a hot teen. Must be Tuesday.

The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White

At this point, I think the teen heartthrob version of King Arthur might be displacing the venerable monarch version. Between that BBC Merlin series, Avalon High, and the seemingly never-ending Mordred in Leather Pants novels that just keep coming and coming like my own personal karmic retribution, people just seem to have a lot of interest in Young Arthur lately. It's probably a symptom of our youth-obsessed culture or something. I tell you, back in the good old days, young Arthur got shamed — shamed! — for his beardless face. Granted, in this case "the good old days" means Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, so perhaps a bit of change is to be expected by now.

Grumpy Arthurian fanboy that I am, I sigh over the trend but also can't stop myself from reading anything Arthur-related that comes under my nose. Which brings us to Read More

Battle Ground: Pretty much what it says on the tin

Battle Ground by Jim Butcher

THE DRESDEN FILES is a weird series, even for urban fantasy. My go-to example for non-aficionados is a wizard riding a polka-powered zombie T-rex through downtown Chicago, and that's not even the wackiest thing that's happened. So it's saying something when I have to acknowledge that the series is in a weird place right now. Maybe I should call it weird plus. Weird squared?

For once, though, when I say "weird," I'm not talking about the content so much as the form. The DRESDEN books have generally followed a pretty straightforward formula: Harry Dresden (wizard private eye, basically) is minding his own business when life ambushes him with at least two crises at once. In the process of juggling his A and B stories (and trying to figure out which is which), Dresden uncovers some kind of complication or dastardly adversary. After a heartfelt discussion with a friend over his doubts that ... Read More

Sunday Status Update: November 15, 2020

Kat: I’ve been distracted by the news, as usual, plus my work, but I did manage to read a couple of books in the last two weeks. K.J. Parker’s How to Rule and Empire and Get Away With It was a sequel of sorts to his (better) Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City. After the U.S. election I read Jonathan Haidt’s The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion, which was enlightening. Basically, research shows that (1) liberals are more “ Read More

Sunday Status Update: November 8, 2020

Marion: I finished the wonderful Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse, and how I’m browsing the Nov/Dec issue of F&SF Magazine. Effective with the spring, 2021 issue that magazine will have a new editor, Sheree Renee Thomas, as C.C. Finlay retires. I’m curious about what changes that will bring.


Bill: This week in between student papers and election-watching I read two DC comics reference books by Robert Greenberger:  Batman:  100 Greatest Moments and Flash:  100 Gre... Read More

Sunday Status Update: November 1, 2020

Jana: This week I read The Penguin Book of Witches, and thought it was a really excellent resource, though I wish that Katherine Howe had been able to provide more historical context and present-minded commentary on the various “eyewitness accounts” and historical documents. I also started reading Meet Me In the Future, Kameron Hurley’s 2019 collection of short stories, and I’m re-reading Sofiya Pasternack’s Anya and the Dragon in preparation for its soon-to-be-published sequel, Any... Read More

Sunday Status Update: October 25, 2020

Jana: This week involved a lot of cold-weather prep at my house, so I didn’t get a lot of time to sit in front of my keyboard, unfortunately. But I did get a little farther into The Very Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan, and am still enjoying myself, and I made the very questionable choice of reading through T. Kingfisher’s The Twisted Ones in installments before bed. It’s a great book! Just, you know, not so great to lie awake thinking about in the dark.


Bill: This week I read the good if jargony Att... Read More

Sunday Status Update: October 18, 2020

Jana: This week was a fairly productive one for me, so I’m pleased. I finished V.E. Schwab’s The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, got a few reviews taken care of, and began reading Alix E. Harrow’s The Once and Future Witches alongside The Very Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan Read More

Sunday Status Update: October 11, 2020

Jana: This week I finished Naomi Novik’s A Deadly Education, and I’m so excited to see what happens in the next book! I’m about halfway through V.E. Schwab’s The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, which is a thoroughly enjoyable and engrossing story. And next up is Read More

Sunday Status Update: October 4, 2020

Jana: This week I began reading Naomi Novik’s A Deadly Education, and to no one’s surprise (including my own) I love it, love everything she’s doing with her extraordinarily deadly magical school and our anti-heroine El Higgins. I also started reading V.E. Schwab’s The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, and am delighted by how the narrative is unfolding. For my “read one story a day” exercise, I opened up the Ellen Datlow-edited Echoes: The Saga Anthology of Ghost Stories, and am looking forward to all kinds of spooky tales throughout October.

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Sunday Status Update: September 27, 2020

Jana: This week I read Juliet Marillier’s The Harp of Kings, a mostly-engaging fantasy set at some vague distant point in Ireland’s druid-filled past. I also finished Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe’s anthology The Mythic Dream, and I would say 95% of the stories were absolutely amazing, while the other 5% were extremely good. Not a bad ratio, all things considered! This week I’ll be reading Naomi Novik’s latest novel, A Deadly Education, and Daniel Pinkwater’s novella Adventures ... Read More

Sunday Status Update: September 20, 2020

Jana: This week I started The Mythic Dream, an anthology of classic myths retold by contemporary authors, edited by Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe. Thus far, each of the stories is wonderful, and I’ve only read about a third of them! I also read R.B. Lemberg’s first BIRDVERSE novella, The Four Profound Weaves, which is beautifully written, and I’m very much looking forward to reading more stories set in this universe. Next up is Juliet Marillier’s The Harp of Kings, the first book in her WARRIOR BARDS series.
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Sunday Status Update: September 13, 2020

Jana: This week I read Kit Rocha’s Deal With the Devil, a post-apocalyptic urban fantasy about mercenary librarians and super-soldiers that has some well-written fight scenes. I’m nearly finished with Jonathan Strahan’s The Year’s Best Science Fiction Vol. 1: The Saga Anthology of Science Fiction 2020, and I started reading Erin Morgenstern’s The Starless Sea, which is lovely and dream-like.

... Read More

Sunday Status Update: September 6, 2020

Jana: This week, while still working my way through Jonathan Strahan’s The Year’s Best Science Fiction Vol. 1: The Saga Anthology of Science Fiction 2020, I also read Marie Brennan’s Driftwood and Kit Rocha’s Deal With the Devil; I enjoyed Brennan’s novella (no surprise there) and thought Rocha’s post-apocalyptic bands of mercenaries traveling around the wilds of northern Georgia and southern Tennessee had some interesting spins on both urban fantasy and romance tropes.

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Sunday Status Update: August 30, 2020

Jana: This week I’m still reading Jonathan Strathan’s upcoming The Year’s Best Science Fiction Vol. 1: The Saga Anthology of Science Fiction 2020. My speed is one story per day, so that they stay distinct in my memory. I’m also reading Matt Ruff’s Lovecraft Country and really enjoying it; Ruff has a deft hand with the blend of meta-fiction, horror, humor, and social commentary at play.

Kat: You haven't heard from me in a month because I've been so busy working on... Read More

Sunday Status Update: August 23, 2020

Jana: This week I’m reading Kate Elliott’s latest novel, Unconquerable Sun, the first book in THE SUN CHRONICLES, a trilogy most frequently described as “gender-flipped Alexander the Great in space.” I’m also reading Jonathan Strathan’s upcoming The Year’s Best Science Fiction Vol. 1: The Saga Anthology of Science Fiction 2020; since most of the stories in this collection are new to me, I’m discovering some interesting gems.

Kelly: I read The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi this week. I loved their 2019 YA novel, Read More

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