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: February 26, 2017

This week, the bat signal fails.

Batman: Field report for November: Grew angry with Commissioner Gordon earlier this week. Was sitting in cave going over notes (and trying to ignore video game noises -- never should have let Robin take a Playstation 4 into the cave) when Alfred entered and drew my attention to an ongoing firefight between Joker's men and the GCPD. He had heard about the matter on the radio. The radio! Was deeply concerned, fearing that my systems had failed to note the bat signal. Instead learned that there in fact was no bat signal. Set out at once, defeated henchmen, saved officers in peril. Confronted Gordon later that night, demanded to know reason for lack of contact.

"Uh," he said, "it's... a clear night, Batman."

"What?"

"It's clear tonight. No clouds. Doesn't happen often, I'll grant you, but when it does... well... you ... Read More

Sunday Status Update: February 19, 2017

This week, Frodo encounters an orc sympathizer.

Frodo: This week, some young hobbit turned up at my door wanting to talk about my book. I mean, it hasn't been published yet, but Sam talks. So I let him in and we started chatting, but over time it became obvious that what he really wanted to talk about was orcs. "Only, Mr. Baggins," he said, "I've been thinking and all. Innit the truth that orcs are really just elves?" So then I had to correct him and point out that no, in fact, orcs are elves who were taken and tortured and ruined by the Dark Lord. "Well, yes," he said, "but that just means they're still elves underneath it all, right?" I said I supposed so, though I must say the conversation was making me uncomfortable by then. "So Mr. Baggins," he went on, "I just mean to say... if all them orcs were just tortured elves 'n all... don't you feel bad that you and your lot killed... Read More

Sunday Status Update: February 5, 2017

This week, Legolas finds himself a newly minted politician. Spoilers for Lord of the Rings.

Legolas: Journal Entry 3450397: Still in Gondor. Ever since our crazy suicide mission inexplicably succeeded, I've been deluged in letters from home telling me to use my influence with the new king to make sure the wood elves get a good deal out of all this. I'm also supposed to mention the stellar contribution that we made to the war effort, which... I mean, did we? I remember Gandalf saying something about fighting in other lands, but it's funny how we never seemed to run into any Orc armies heading off to Mirkwood or wherever. So far as I can tell, my father and his kingdom basically sat on the sidelines, golf-clapping whenever Gondor looked like winning. Knowing that makes it rather hard to start arguing a generous trade agreement or whatever. Maybe I'm not cut out for this... Read More

Lud-in-the-Mist: Unconventional and terribly lovely

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Reposting to include Rebecca's new review.

Lud-in-the-Mist by Hope Mirrlees

I find myself in something of an awkward position with Lud-in-the-Mist, which is in part why it’s difficult to review. The fact of the matter is that while Lud-in-the-Mist is unequivocally an excellent novel, it is not always an enjoyable novel, and there is a large population of readers out there who may find it close to nauseating.

Lud-in-the-Mist is Hope Mirrlees’s only fantasy novel, and indeed the only one of her three novels for which she is remembered (and that, for the most part in recent years, because Neil Gaiman has put in a goo... Read More

Sunday Status Update: January 29, 2017

This week, Batman again.

Batman: Field report for January: joined the Justice League in an interstellar war against the New Gods. Confronted their cosmically superpowered leader myself, stared him down. Returned to Gotham following the crisis' resolution, and was promptly knocked out and taken captive by Two-Face (a deranged lawyer with no particular combat expertise). Naturally I escaped, but I must admit that sometimes my life seems bizarrely dichotomous, as if my Fate is written by a completely different hand when I'm in Gotham. Perhaps some kind of psychological complaint is to blame? Maybe I subtly let down my guard while at home. Must watch for this. Final note: have at last determined the method whereby Wonder Woman avoids wardrobe malfunctions in combat. Very surprising. Had expected some kind of adhesive inside the bustier, but it seems that... [remainder of entry unreadable due to heavy rent ... Read More

Sunday Status Update: January 22, 2017

This week, Ayesha.

Ayesha: Week 148,893. As my prophesied love Kallikrates still apparently hasn't seen fit to get reincarnated and return to me, I once again had to come up with my own amusements this week. So I decided to fake my death. I gathered my people together, climbed up the side of the mountain, made a great big speech about existential despair and the human condition (totally wasted on my audience), and jumped. Four hundred feet onto solid stone. Well, it took them a while, but eventually they decided I was really dead and they ought to decide on a new leader. Some of them wanted democracy, and some wanted a monarchy, and it was all very fascinating, really. Of course, eventually some big lout decided to make himself king on the spot and started punching, so I had to get up and blast him. Then, of course, it was back to the usual awe and horror and religious fan... Read More

Sunday Status Update: January 15, 2017

Character update on break again. Next week. Next week.

 

Bill: This week was a smorgasbord. Genre-wise, I read Bradley P. Beaulieu’s With Blood Upon the Sand, his good-if-not-quite-as-good follow up to the excellent Twelve Kings in Sharakhai; and John Scalzi’s Miniatures, which didn’t leave much of an impression, though a few stories were cute enough. In the graphic story vein I read Love, Volume 4 The Dinosaur written by Frederic Brremaud and illustrated by Frederico Bertolucci, a wonderfully vivid wordless day in the lives of a few dinosaurs. In the literary fiction category I was held by the first two-thirds of Karan Mahaj... Read More

Sunday Status Update: January 8, 2017

Character update on break this week.

 

Bill: This week I read Babylon’s Ashes, the newest installment of THE EXPANSE by James. S Corey. As has become the norm for this series, I stayed up to finish it in one night—love this story and these characters! I also read City of Ice, K.M. McKinley’s follow up to The Iron Ship. Like its predecessor, the sequel is a sprawling, slow sort of story, though I’d say unlike The Iron Ship, this one felt its length a bit more. Still enjoyable however, and I’m quite looking forward to the third book. Outside the genre, I finished What Playwrights Talk About When The... Read More

Sunday Status Updates: January 1, 2017

Wow, we're hitting the holidays dead on this year, aren't we? Happy New Year's Day from Fanlit! Also, Red Sonja.

Red Sonja: Apparently it is now a new year on the official, imperial calendar. Not sure why that matters, since that particular empire is a couple centuries defunct, but whatever. I guess it's convenient. So! New Year. I'd managed to scrounge some coin from guarding a caravan, so I spent the night in an inn. There were a lot of very merry people drinking and talking over each other, so I started conjoining myself to the drunker groups when I noticed somebody having an attack of generosity. Got a few free drinks that way. Anyway, during the proceedings, somebody asked me what my resolution for the new year was. Apparently I needed to have one. I told him my resolution was to buy a great big coat. He mulled that over through haze of alcohol fumes and eventually told me my resolution was stupid. I tol... Read More

Sunday Status Update: December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas, to those who celebrate it.

Kris Kringle: I'm stuck. I've been stuck for hours. I'm almost sure someone's closed the flue on me. I can see morning light. Send help!

Jana: This week I read Laura Bickle's Nine of Stars, a semi-weird-West-type of fantasy novel involving alchemy, shapeshifters, folklore, and winter in Yellowstone Park. Review to come shortly. I've also been (slowly) working on a review of an anthology edited by Robert Silverberg, This Way to the End Times: Cla... Read More

Mythago Wood: Dreamy and strange

Readers’ average rating:

Reposting to include Sandy's new review.

Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock

After his post-WWII convalescence in France, Steven Huxley is returning to his family's home on the edge of Ryhope Wood, a patch of ancient forest, in Britain. For as long as Steven remembers, his father, who recently died, had been so obsessed with the forest that it destroyed their family.

Upon returning home, Steven finds that his brother Christian is quickly following in their father's footsteps — both figuratively and literally — for he has also discovered that this is no ordinary forest! It resists intrusion from Outsiders, time and distance are skewed there (so it is much larger inside than the 6 miles it covers in modern Britain should allow, and time seems to expand), and strange energy fields interact with human minds to create mythagos — the idealized forms of ancient mythic... Read More

Sunday Status Update: December 18, 2016

This week, Supergirl with a story of holiday cheer.

Supergirl: Superheroes lead weird lives. I don't know what it is about grown men and women dressing up in colorful leotards and capes to wage neverending wars on crime that draws the weirdness, but sometimes it gets almost too much to handle. There was this one time when Batman got tossed backward in time and had to be Pirate Batman, which is objectively awesome but also deeply bizarre. And there was this other time Wonder Woman fought this 100-ft egg with a face, and the face had a Fu Manchu mustache, and the egg was named Egg Fu. Not making this up. But this year Wonder Woman had too much eggnog (you'd think she'd have had enough of egg-themed stuff by now, but whatever) and told me what is possibly the oddest tale of them all. So: this one year around Christmas, Superman heard that a couple of kids desperately wanted to believe in Santa Claus. So obviousl... Read More

The Chessmen of Mars: Fun and lively

Readers’ average rating:

Reposting to include Tim's new review.

The Chessmen of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Editor's note: This title can be purchased free on Kindle.

The Chessmen of Mars, Edgar Rice Burroughs' fifth JOHN CARTER novel out of eleven, first appeared in serial form in the magazine Argosy All Story Weekly from February to April 1922. It is easily the best of the Carter lot to this point; the most detailed, the most imaginative, and the best written. Carter himself only appears at the beginning and end of the tale. Instead, our action heroes are his daughter, Tara, who gets lost in a rare Barsoomian storm while joyriding in her flier and blown halfway across the surface of the planet, and the Gatholian jed Gahan, who goes in search of her.

In the first half of this novel, Tara and Gaha... Read More

Sunday Status Update: December 11, 2016

This week, Ron becomes a wizardly conspiracy theorist.

Ron: This last summer, I found myself in the muggle village and I bought myself a pen. Not a very nice pen, supposedly (I asked Dad -- he said it was actually a pretty ordinary sort of pen), but it wrote just what I wanted and it didn't run out of ink. It was bloody brilliant. I loved my pen. So that started me thinking, why is it that we don't use pens? It seems like an awfully harmless bit of muggle technology. So I took my pen to Hogwarts. Do you know what happened? It broke. My pen broke. Because magic messes with muggle artifacts or something. Only... that doesn't actually make sense, does it? I mean, it's a pen. It's got some ink and a little ball, supposedly. It's not like it's got a computer or electricity or anything. And if pens don't work here, how come doorknobs are still fine? Seems suspiciously arbitrary. I'm beginning to susp... Read More

Sunday Status Update: December 4, 2016

This week, Batman again.

Batman: Field report for November. Joker has now crossed major milestone, as he is now statistically leading cause of death for Gotham residents. Beginning to feel serious job-related stress as a result. One of the Green Lanterns asked me last week if it would be helpful if he simply pitched Joker at the sun and we never spoke of it again, but had to reject his offer. I continue to believe in Gotham, in its ability to one day stand on its own two feet and prosecute criminals according to the legal system. Saying so does not help Gotham in mean time, however, as everyone in city seems intent on demonizing me for not finishing him off. Graffiti on bat signal a week ago read "just kill the clown already. God." Meanwhile, Harley Quinn is statistically the 12th leading cause of death for Gotham residents, but the entire city continues to believe her to be some kind of adorable, puckish rogue ... Read More

Sunday Status Update: November 27, 2016

This week, Peter Pan nearly finds a sort-of mother. Because that is still apparently a thing Peter Pan is trying to do in 2016.

Peter: This week I finally found a new mother to replace Wendy. At least, she knew all sorts of great stories and she seemed to want to come fight pirates and always be young with me. But when I went through her bedroom window that night to spirit her away to Neverland, an alarm went off. It turns out that some houses are not kidding with those stickers on the windows. Anyway, my mother's mother came charging in and tried to hit me with a golf club, so I had to fly away. At least she didn't open up with a machine gun, like the dad last week. There's a reason I'm not asking American kids to Neverland anymore.

Brad: This week I read Julie Smith's Louisiana Hotshot, Read More

The Last Wish: Engaging dark fantasy stories

Readers’ average rating:

Reposting to include Tim's new review.

The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski

The Last Wish (1993 in Polish, 2007 in English) is the first book in the WITCHER series by best-selling Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski. You might recognize the name from the popular video games based on the books. The series features a hero named Geralt of Rivia who, when he was an orphaned child, was transformed into something more than human through a process involving magic and drugs. Now he has white hair and some subtle superhuman powers — for example, he can see in the dark and he is stronger and faster than other men. He roams the world looking for odd thankless jobs that only a Witcher can do.

... Read More

Sunday Status Update: November 20, 2016

This week, Ayesha.

Ayesha: Week 148,846. No Kallikrates. No Kallikrates at all. Also, I might have gone a little mentally off earlier this week.  My servants have all left me to go on some sort of asinine hunger strike (at some point, they're going to have to believe me that I really can't make the dry season go away). I was left all alone, with no one to see to the upkeep. It wasn't a good situation. So, naturally, I came up with a solution to the problem. I decided I'd maybe just reanimate Kallikrates' mummified corpse and make it walk around tidying the throne room and so on. Nothing too crazy. Anyway, that seemed to work, so Then I got hold of a bunch of other mummies from the tombs of Kor and set them to helping. At first, I suppose I was just experimenting to see how much I could really manage without my servants. It was going swimmingly. But then the days just kept on passing... Read More

Sunday Status Update: November 13, 2016

This week, Conan gives his instructive outlook on kingship.

Conan: This week, everyone seems very concerned with political rule for some reason. Very well, then -- as I, Conan, currently wear the jeweled crown of Aquilonia (upon a troubled brow), I shall relay to you secrets of kingship and the ways of rulers. And it is this: it's shockingly easy to get in, but not so easy to get out. No, seriously, I've been trying for ages, but they keep dragging me back in. Look, admittedly I did strangle the previous king and pitch his body onto the heads of a cheering mob, but I didn't realize conquering a kingdom would mean so much... ah... kinging? It was a laugh, wasn't it? It was funny. It's not funny now. Not funny at all. I've got a minister coming later this afternoon to talk to me about a new proposed law. Do you know what he needs my opinion on? Clause 12b of Subsection VII. Apparently the ph... Read More

Sunday Status Update: November 6, 2016

This week, Batman.

Batman: Field report for October. The Riddler escaped from Arkham Asylum again (seriously must look into updating security -- what do they have, a revolving door?), but I recaptured him fairly easily. Beginning to think he's just getting tired -- one of his riddles was stolen from The Hobbit. Not entirely sure why he's still trying -- at this point, everyone just solves his riddles by searching it on Google anyway. Scarecrow tried to attack the city on Halloween, just like always. Actually find beating the snot out of him under the gaze of jack-o-lanterns oddly festive at this point. Must not indulge this feeling. Awkward moment later in the night, when I mistook woman in catsuit for Catwoman. Forced once again to ponder tactical advantage of leaving lower face undefended -- pepper spray not much fun.

Read More

Sunday Status Update: October 30, 2016

In honor of (almost) Halloween, Dracula joins us this week. For full experience, please proceed to read his words out loud in obnoxiously awful Transylvanian accent.

Dracula: Another year come and gone. Long have I walked the night upon this world, but never before have I felt I may have lived too long. Where now is the respect for the proud name of Dracula? Where now the terror due the lord of the undead? Just last night, I came upon a young woman asleep on her garden bench. I fell upon her to feed, and she woke to see me. She... laughed at me. I was perplexed. I thought perhaps she was mentally unusual. I asked her what was the matter with her. She told me that I was "an old-school vampire." I believe she was rather drunk. But then she took out a little box she called her phone, and she showed me images of attractive young men, and strange drawings of a fellow in a red coat. It seems that these were image... Read More

Sunday Status Update: October 23, 2016

This week, Red Sonja confronts Lovecraftian horror.

Red Sonja: This week, I ran into one of those eldritch horror death cults that Conan's always going on about. I was just supposed to be finding a prize cow. Not my most dignified moment, but hang dignity, it's a cold autumn in the Northern realms and I need money for inns. So off I went to track this cow and I found out the thief had sold it to this old man. Figured I'd have a talk with him, so I headed out to his house. Should've smelled a rat when I heard it was on the tall, creepy hill above town (shadowed by lots of spooky pale birches, of course). Anyway, the usual nonsense ensued. Creepily empty house, tracks leading out to a cave out back, hollow hill, bonfire, prayers to unholy alter-dimensional monsters, hideous shadowy form like tendrils of putrescence floating in the air, etc. Anyway, this is the bit where Conan would've pounced on the altar and ... Read More

Sunday Status Update: October 16, 2016

This week, Legolas finds the after-victory parties of the Fellowship of the Ring somewhat less enjoyable than expected.

Legolas: Journal Entry 3450867: The dark lord is defeated, the land flourishes under its king, and the world is freed from wickedness. See? I'm trying to stay positive. I really am. But see, all the Fellowship is staying in this big house together, and by now the fun is starting to wear a little thin. The first couple of nights? Sure, great, we'll have fun. Big party. But do you know what a halfling's drinking capacity is? It is not high. Not high at all. So that's the four of them taken care of before eleven. Mithrandir is apparently far too important to hang around with us (he's gotten damn snobby since his fashion update), and Aragorn spends all his time with Arwen, so by midnight it's always just me and Gimli. I have now heard pretty much every embarrassi... Read More

Sunday Status Update: October 9, 2016

Character update is on break this week, but things will return to normal next week.

Kelly: Last weekend I attended Archon in Collinsville, IL, and had a great time. I learned a lot from the panel on fantastical elements in Shakespeare's works -- did you know actors were trained in huge, set gestures so that people could follow the plot even when they couldn't hear the dialogue? Or that costumers essentially dumpster-dived for nobles' clothing scraps, because you needed certain colors to indicate nobility on stage but weren't allowed to actually buy such fabrics by the sumptuary laws? All kinds of stuff that makes total sense, but that you just don't really think about... Read More

A Princess of Mars: More than the sum of its parts

Readers’ average rating:

Reposting to include Tim's new review.

A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs

As most of the world already knows, A Princess of Mars is the first of 11 Burroughs novels that tell of John Carter's adventures on the planet Barsoom (Mars, to we Earthlings). This was Burroughs' very first novel, and one of the first books in the swashbuckling space-opera vein; perhaps the very first. It is a marvel of fast-moving action and imagination; indeed, practically every page offers some new marvel or piece of outrageous spectacle. Unfortunately, the book also displays some of the weaknesses of the novice author, but these weaknesses are more than counterbalanced by the pace, color and detail of the story.

Burroughs' imagination seemed to be working overtime in this first book. The descriptions of alien life-forms, dead cities, Barsoomian customs and battles are very well... Read More

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