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: March 18, 2018

Our reviewers have a few books on the burner this week!

Bill: This week I read in order of preference:

A Veil of Spears by Bradley P. Beaulieu, a strong third book in an excellent series.
I, Mammal by Liam Drew, a fascinating look at how mammalian traits evolved into their present form
The Tangled lands by Paolo Bacigalupi and Tobias S. Buckell, a sequential series of four novellas in a shared world. I liked Bacigalupi’s better than Buckell’s, but overall enjoyed the world and the sharp metaphor that underpins it
White Sand Volume 2, second in a graphic series by Brandon Sanderson that has mostly disappointed to this point in both story and artwork
Dayfall by Michael David Ares, a debut I gave 100 pages to ... Read More

Sunday Status Update: March 4, 2018

Plenty more books this week!

Bill: I read and reviewed (a bit less favorably than Marion) The Sky is Yours by Chandler Klang Smith. I also finished Game of Thrones and the Medieval Art of War by Ken Mondschein (review to come) and Our Senses by Rob DeSalle (good if a bit dry). On audio, I finally reached the end of Yuval Harari’s excellent Sapiens, and have begun Leonardo Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson. TV time suffered this week thanks to papers, so no genre shows or movies.

Kat: This week I read Godslayer by  Read More

La Belle Sauvage: A companion to HIS DARK MATERIALS

Readers’ average rating: Comment Reviews for this post are disabled. Please enable it first

Reposting to include Ray's new review.

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 Read More

Sunday Status Update: February 25, 2018

And more books were read!

Marion: I finished Too Like the Lightning, by John W. Campbell Award winner Ada Palmer, and Seven Surrenders, the sequel. I hope to have a review of the second one done soon. I am about three chapters into The Will to Battle, which is the final volume. I took a couple of breaks to read essays in Rebecca Solnit’s Men Explain Things to Me, and a couple of stories from  Read More

Sunday Status Update: February 18, 2018

Are we starting to turn the corner on winter 2018? Time will tell. In the meantime, books!

Bill:Digging myself out from the backwork from having the flu, and while my health has rebounded, my reading luck has not. My only completed book was Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman, which had me struggling to finish. Otherwise, I’m still in the midst of Our Senses by Rob DeSalle, and still loving listening to Yuval Harari’s Sapiens. Media-wise, my son and I both enjoyed Netflix’s Altered Carbon and Europa One, and are eagerly looking forward to our Thursday showing of Black Panther.

Marion: I took a walk down memory lane this weeks, re-reading, after fi... Read More

Sunday Status Update: February 11, 2018

Lots of books in the works as we close in on Valentine's Day.

Kat: What did I read this week? Students' papers, grant proposals, a course catalog, code documentation, a textbook, lab notebooks, meeting minutes, a plugin support forum, the news, and my calendar. That's about it.

Marion: Most of what I read this week was in manuscript. I spent more time outside than usual in February, because temperatures where I live were in the low 80s.  I am making slow progress on a Patricia McKillip novel... Read More

Sunday Status Update: February 4, 2018

It's early February and there are scant pickings in theaters... but plenty of books on the shelf!

Bill: Not a lot of reading this week thanks to the flu. I did finish How to Stop Time by Matt Haig. As far as current reading, I’m mostly enjoying Our Senses by Rob DeSalle, a non-fiction look at, well, our senses. I’m continuing to love the writing and thinking in Yuval Harari’s Sapiens. Media-wise, based on the first two episodes of Altered Carbon I mostly like what Netflix is doing with a book I thoroughly enjoyed, I’m being mostly amused if not captivated by the first season of the new X-Files, and I remain mostly disappointed by the new season of The Magicians and impressed with the new season of Marvel: Agents of Shield.

Read More

Sunday Status Update: January 28, 2018

Another week, and more new books!

Jana: This week went as planned: I read Vic JamesGilded Cage (and am very excited to be able to read the sequel, Tarnished City, in the coming week) and Melissa Albert's The Hazel Wood (underwhelming) al... Read More

Sunday Status Update: January 21, 2018

Plenty of interesting books this week!

Bill: I seem to have been remiss this new year in my status reports. So since my last one, I’ve read:

Pierce Brown’s propulsive Iron Gold, set ten years after his RED RISING series.
Brooke Bolander’s lyrical The Only Harmless Great Thing
Ursula K. Leguin’s smooth collection of essays No Time To Spare
The disappointingly flat The Steel Spring by Swedish Writer Per Wahloo
Jo Walton’s Starlings, which works better as a craft book than a story collection
Read More

Sunday Status Update: January 14, 2018

Lots of reading for FanLit this week!

Jana: This week had a much slower reading pace than last week, but still felt pretty productive. I read Rati Mehrotra's Markswoman and Adrianne Finlay's Your One and Only, two post-apocalyptic YA novels with drastically different protagonists and plotlines. I finished Alex Marshall's A War in Crimson Embers and should have a review put together in the next couple of days. I haven't quite decided what I'm going to read next, though odds are good that it'll be Melissa Albert's fair... Read More

Sunday Status Update: January 7, 2018

We kick off 2018 with some new books!

Jana: This week, as I'd hoped, I read and wrote reviews for Sarah Tarkoff's Sinless and Christopher Moore's A Dirty Job, as well as reviews for Tony Cliff's graphic novels Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant and Delilah Dirk and the King's Shilling. For fun, I read Emily Carroll's Through the Woods, a collection of five horror stories (she's a brilliant webcomic artist, and I heartily recommend her work) and Read More

Sunday Status Update: December 31, 2017

Happy New Year's, everyone!

After two solid weeks of paper reading, the grades went in and the books came out!  This past week’s print books were:
The Girl in the Tower: I enjoyed Katherine Arden’s The Bear and the Nightingale, but liked the sequel much better

The Power:
I came to Naomi’s Alderman’s Atwood-tinged book  for its premise (women begin to exhibit electrical power) and stuck for its characterization

Superwoman: Gender, Power, Representation:
a sharply written examination of gender in the superhero world (print and media) via Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Padme/Leia, X-Women, Buffy, and Captain and Ms. Marvel

Crucible of Faith:
an interesting lo... Read More

Sunday Status Update: December 26, 2017

Apologies for some tardiness in getting this update out. This week, Santa Claus and an old joke.

Kris Kringle: Someone left out rum for me. I knew I shouldn't have tried but I thought, well, just a small one wouldn't hurt. Well, one turned into a few more, and I'm not as young as I used to be. I haven't had a night like that in... oh, who knows how long? Thank heaven Dasher had his wits about him, led the sleigh home. I wasn't in much of a state to do it by then. Fell out of the sleigh as we landed, ruined a good set of trousers. The Missus made them for me and all. Couldn't be helped, but I knew I couldn't let the Missus know about it. I hid the ruined trousers, and then I went in and tried to patch myself up with some band-aids before I went to bed. I was trying to be stealthy, but it didn't do any good. The Missus knew in the morning.

"You were drinking last night," she said.

... Read More

The Maze Runner: Not as gripping as it could be

Readers’ average rating:

Reposting to include Tim's new review.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Maze Runner (2009) is a young adult read that zips along, mostly keeping the reader’s interest. James Dashner’s new novel is relatively suspenseful, but never as gripping as it could be due to weaknesses in detail and character.

The Maze Runner starts off strongly. Thomas is riding upward in a creaky old elevator, seemingly forever. Details have been wiped from Tomas’ memory, so he has no idea of where he’s coming from or where he’s heading. In fact, he has no idea who he is save for his name. When he arrives, it’s in a place known as “The Glade,” a relatively large open area bounded by towering stonewalls and populated by a group of boys, all of whom arrived as he did and with their memories wiped as well... Read More

Oathbringer: Ambitious, often compelling, a bit over-long

Readers’ average rating:

Reposting to include Tim's new review.

Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson

So I’ve decided there’s so much to cover in Brandon Sanderson’s Oathbringer (1200+ pages), and there so much I can’t say so as to avoid spoilers, that I’m going to eschew the usual seamless essay structure for this review and just go with relating some brief and, at times, necessarily vague reactions to various aspects.

Structure: As with the other books (The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance), Sanderson offers up multiple POVs, with the flashback POV going to Dalinar... Read More

Sunday Status Update: December 10, 2017

Character update on break this week.

Jana: This week's FanLit reading was yet again complicated by homeowner stress, and I did a lot more me-reading in an effort to keep myself sane. So that meant books like Murder at the Vicarage and Legends and Tales of the American West, and I leisurely made my way through Philip Pullman's  Read More

Sunday Status Update: December 3, 2017

This week, Batman struggles through a Thanksgiving dinner (a week late).

Batman: Field report for November: Always a lull in November before the spate of holiday-themed crime in December. As result, was prevailed upon by various Robins and ex-Robins to attend Wonder Woman's Apaturia, which -- as I had to inform all Robins and one Batgirl -- is an ancient Greek festival that she has somehow worked around to function like a businesslike Thanksgiving. Instantly regretted my decision. Superman dressed in flannel and became appallingly chipper, while Wonder Woman refused to talk business before the food was served. No one seemed to want to discuss the existential horror of the Joker's unknowable true identity, so I was left at loose ends. As dinner was served, everyone was obligated to list one thing they were thankful for. I said I was thankful for the 482 criminal scum whose jaws I shattered this year, at least tem... Read More

Sunday Status Update: November 26, 2017

Character update on break this week.


Bill: This week I read Ken Schole’s Hymn, the solid if underwhelming conclusion to his PSALMS OF ISAAK series; and Andy Weir’s Artemis, which didn’t do much for me.  I also finished The Telescope in the Ice by Mark Bowen, a fascinating look at the construction of the IceCube Neutrino Observatory at the South Pole. In Audible books, I completed listening to From Here To Eternity:  Traveling the World To Find the Good Death by Caitlin Doughty, a mortician’s travelogue of funeral rites that had some great moments.   Media-wise, I watched and mostly enjoyed the first three episodes of Runaways on Hulu.
... Read More

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

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

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